In 1983 Neil C. Churchill and Virginia L. Lewis wrote a paper for the Harvard Business Review that defined 5 stages of growth for small businesses “The Five Stages of Small Business Growth.” Today we’ll discuss these stages and how they affect your food truck.

Every food truck business hits both peaks and valleys at different stages of success and frustration. What you need to understand as a business owner is that you can learn from others. You also need to recognize which stage your food truck business is at and what you need to do to reach the next level.

5 Stages Of Growth For Food Truck Businesses

While every food truck will move through the 5 stages of growth at different paces, most follow a similar path.

  • Foundation. Food trucks in this stage are relatively simple organizations in which the owner does most everything and directs the actions of subordinates. The main concerns are obtaining customers and delivering products and services.
  • Survival. Your food truck is now established, with enough customers and the ability to keep those customers. But revenues are not yet able to fund exponential growth, and the major goal continues to be surviving. Vendors are usually still very involved in day-to-day operations.
  • Success. At this point, your food truck has achieved goals and stable revenue that allow the owner to decide whether to continue to grow, or start to disengage in the day-to-day operations.
  • Rapid Growth. Your food truck business has grown substantially and achieved significant size, financial resources and managerial talent. Primary concerns include how to grow rapidly and how to finance that growth.
  • Maturity. Food trucks that reach this stage of growth are usually focused on consolidating and controlling the financial gains brought on by rapid growth. To continue succeeding, they also must work to retain the advantages of their small size.

RELATED: Planning Ahead For Business Growth In Your Food Truck Empire

The Bottom Line

These 5 stages of growth and your preparation for them have to be a part of your business plan. If you plan for what you need next and take action, your food truck has the best chances of reaching the next stage of growth.

Understanding where your food truck is in the growth cycle is required for you to make informed decisions for the future of your mobile food empire. After all, it’s impossible to determine where you should be headed if you don’t know where you are.

Which of the 5 stages of growth is your food truck? Share your answers on social media. Facebook | Twitter