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The growth and maturity S-curve, a business cycle that predicts the lifespan of nearly all products and services, depicts a sequence in which sales of a new offering build slowly before ascending rapidly and eventually tapering off. This S-curve poses a challenge for promising, successful, and even revolutionary products and services, but the inevitable end of an offering’s lifespan does not have to be the end of your business’ profitability. With a proactive strategy, you can position yourself to jump to a new curve when the old begins to drop.
Done correctly, leaping from one S-curve to another looks like Tarzan swinging from one vine to the next. The best companies, like Tarzan, soar through the S-curve canopy flawlessly, employing a heavy dose of foresight, bravery, and ingenuity.
Jumping from one curve to another is no easy task, but neglecting to do so can be a perilous mistake. Statistics show that once a company incurs a major stall in growth, it has less than a 10 percent chance of fully recovering. Additionally, two thirds of all stalled companies are either acquired, taken private, or forced into bankruptcy.
In order to keep your business swinging, take a look at these pointers:
Innovate on the Edge. In the true spirit of skating to where the puck will be, you must foresee where the market is moving. To stay ahead of the curve, innovate on the edge of the market and the edge of the organization. Today’s edge may be tomorrow’s rising curve.
Right Leader at the Right Time. Some executives are entrepreneurial—nurturing a business and expanding new markets—and others excel at running a business—scaling resources and extending product lines. Make sure the specialties of your leadership match the needs of your company along its place on the curve.
Employ Tomorrow’s S-Curve Today. Launch your next curve like you’re launching a business. Create a larger talent pool than you need to run the current company effectively and expend the excess thought and energy into creating what’s new.