How mature is your Business?

With business maturity comes greater effectiveness and efficiency – so it becomes more profitable!
Improving business maturity, means striving towards a business that is responsive to the market, transparent, low risk, lean and people focused. Micro-businesses start out operating at the Basic Level with the most effective large global conglomerates working towards being fully optimised….

We use 5 Levels of Maturity

* Basic
* Emergent
* Structured
* Integrated
* Optimised

As with any aging process it is a difficult path to full business maturity and very few businesses are completely optimised in all areas. It only takes a small change in the global market, a new innovation by a competitor, or a shuffle in management to throw the whole thing back a few levels.
However, you don’t have to be a global corporate to be running a really successful business – ideally by understanding this model it is easy to avoid the worst growing pains.
Improving the maturity of your business also improves its sale value by creating a framework to shift the business knowledge, controls and customer loyalty away from the owner/operator and onto the business brand. This makes it much easier for a new owner to walk in and run the business identically from day 1 – it gives the purchaser a sound platform to start from (they can make whatever changes they like, but at lest they can operate in a known way immediately.)

Business Maturity Model

A. Basic

Like a newborn, only an owner/operator with everything kept inside one or two peoples’ heads. Most businesses go through this micro-business phase at inception.

B. Emergent

Primary School – beyond micro-business this enterprise now employs a few staff so some systems and procedures with fundamental documentation evolve; this is a steep learning and development phase.

C. Structured

Teenagers – more staff and customers lead to multiple departments, divisions and locations – with each area operating in a silo-ed fashion. This phase of growth often results in more customers and a broader market but fewer efficiencies and lower profit margins. It is like a teenager – well focused it can be a good phase, but often finding the ways and means to get and keep the focus is hard with so much disparity between silos.

D. Integrated

Graduates – disparate silo-ed departments are regrouped into one holistic organisation. Organisation wide governance and measurement becomes a focus with the removal of unnecessary duplications. This is the highest phase that most businesses reach in some form or other.

E. Optimised

Mastery – Lean and efficient this business now is totally integrated, every part can transparently see how each of the others is functioning, how it performs and its future plans. This business is a market leader and innovator that is constantly tweaking and adjusting to stay fine tuned and at the top of its game.

For best results when assessing your business maturity consider both your business as a whole and then break it down to rank each of these key areas as well:

  • Strategy – market reaction times, strategy integration, risk strategy and change drivers
  • Controls – authority, governance, and reporting
  • Process – change rate, process documentation, and Outsourcing of non-core business activities
  • People – Team identification, role definition and documentation, compliance and performance linked to rewards, training goals


REMEMBER – Not all businesses will ever mature all the way in every key area

Some, very successful businesses thrive on very low levels of maturity in most areas, but will noticeably have achieved a very high level of maturity in Risk Strategy, Process Coverage, Compliance and Training.

SME Maturity Test - SME help and advice

Work towards what is the right balance for your business.

Any other ideas, areas or indicators of business maturity?

– add your thoughts and ideas to the comments below for all to share.

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