The 7 Phases of Small Business Success


Small business success is measured in a wide variety of ways. Regardless of how you measure your success, or what stage you believe you are at in your business journey, you can rest assured that you are not alone. Furthermore, it is critical that your growing business understand that its problems along the success journey are predictable. Therefore, you should take the time to learn from those who have advanced themselves and did so by solving common problems that presented themselves at predictable moments.



To grow your business in a sustainable fashion you must solve key problems on your success journey. The point of the 7 Phases of Small Business Success is twofold. First, you are not alone in your success phase and second, that your problems are not unique. 

Phases of Small Business Success

The following information regarding the 7 Phases of Small Business Success was derived from a Census Bureau survey and shared with the team at Viral Solutions by Clate Mask, CEO of Infusionsoft while participating in the The Elite Forum.

In general, one can point to seven different phases of small business success. Those seven phases are listed here. Each phase is categorized based upon revenue, the number of employees, the number of business at each phase and the common problem they must solve in order to advance to the next phase in a sustainable fashion:

  1. Solopreneur: People who are just getting started with their businesses do not have the same resources as slightly more established companies, which means they tend to wear all the hats and spend a significant amount of time working on every aspect of their business. This stage accounts for about 22 million businesses in America. Businesses in this stage usually do less than $100,000 in business per year. They must solve their problem of being spread too thin. Time is their enemy
  2. Partnership: Partnerships have two or three people working for the company, doing anywhere from $100,000 to $300,000 in business per year. This category accounts for about 1.7 million businesses in America. The success factor for this group is salesmanship; at this point, partners must be able to sell their product and service to new audiences.
  3. Steady operation: A steady operation usually has four to 10 employees, including the entrepreneur who started the company, and does from $300,000 to $1 million in business annually. This phase accounts for about 1.9 million businesses. Here, the main success factor is the quality of the business’s marketing and customer service. It’s all about building up a brand and keeping customers coming back over and over again.
  4. Local success story: At this stage, a business typically has 11 to 20 people working for it, and is doing $1 million to $3 million in annual business. There are about 700,000 businesses in America that fit the description of this phase. At this phase, the businesses that will continue to succeed and grow have set a clear vision for their company and have an action plan in place to keep finding new avenues for success.
  5. Managed organization: A business hits this stage once it is doing $3 million to $10 million in annual sales and hits 21 to 50 employees. There are about 300,000 businesses in this phase in the United States. Now that the vision is really taking off, businesses are able to begin hiring more rapidly to bring in employees who help deliver on that vision.
  6. Mature company: At this sixth phase, businesses are doing $10 million to $20 million in annual sales and have around 51 to 100 employees. This category accounts for about 100,000 businesses in America. The main success factor for mature companies is strategic planning. Now that the business has grown and matured, businesses must implement detailed strategies to stay efficient and continue growing.
  7. Corporate player: At this seventh and final phase, the business has $20 million to $100 million in annual sales and 101 to 500 employees. About 90,000 businesses in the United States fit into this category. Now that the company is a major player among the other big fish in the industry, leadership development is a key success factor. If the company is able to continually develop great leaders, it will maintain its success in the long run.


Viral Solutions is able to work with businesses at every single one of these small business success phases to maximize their potential. We help overwhelmed small business owners duplicate themselves so business can be fun again.

Copyright 2017 Viral Solutions LLC

christine kelly

Prior to joining Viral Solutions, Christine held executive leadership roles at some of the largest small business consulting firms in the USA. Her experience includes leading direct reports of over 130 remote sales agents who generated $38mm in annual revenue. She obtained her Marketing degree from British Columbia Institute of Technology. Bring her C-Suite experience to your small business. Although our company is virtual, and we can work with you wherever you are located, she is located in Denver, Colorado and owns a second home in Vancouver, BC Canada.

Viral Solutions LLC is a Digital Marketer Certified Partner and an Infusionsoft Certified Consultant.

We help overwhelmed small business owners duplicate themselves, so business can be fun again.



At Viral Solutions we are committed to seeing YOU succeed. It is our goal to grow your business with proven digital marketing strategies that will help your business for the long haul.

Stay Up To Speed in the Ever Changing World of Marketing!

Sign-up today for FREE, monthly marketing tips, loopholes, and news to EXPLODE your Return on Investment!

Share your knowledge and gain exposure by becoming a guest author on our blog! Learn how to write for us.

Filed Under: Business Tips