In today's world, an enterprise means entrepreneurship. It means taking a small business idea and growing it into something big, making more money, earning more profits, and employing more people as time goes by. A mom-and-pop corner store is a business, but without vision and the urge to grow, it's not an enterprise.


Enterprise development is the deliberate and planned growth of a business by creating increased value for customers in its offering of products and services.

Turning a Business Idea Into an Enterprise

In the United States, an enterprise and a business are nearly synonymous. Most entrepreneurs know how to find the resources they need to turn an idea into a thriving enterprise — such as mentors, capital, consultants, market surveys and learning resources. Enterprise development can be broken down into five stages:

  1. Pre-venture stage
  2. Startup stage
  3. Growth stage
  4. Maturity stage
  5. Revitalization stage

The types of resources you should be looking at depends on the stage your business is in.

Pre-Venture Stage

The pre-venture stage is the first stage of any enterprise. You have identified an opportunity, but you don't yet have a product or service to offer, or your idea is still in development. You don't yet have a supply chain or market outlet, and you have yet to complete a proof of concept.

Planning and research are the main activities at this stage. Here, you write a business plan and start looking for startup funding.

Startup Stage

The startup stage begins when you are ready to launch your business. At this point, you are hiring your first employees, setting up your organizational systems, building a customer base, and working toward a break-even point in your sales.

Some companies can stay in the startup stage for several years, and this stage doesn't come to a close until you have firmly established yourself in your market. Things that help a business at this stage include mentorship, pilot projects, feasibility studies, marketing and promotion.

Growth Stage

During the growth stage, an enterprise has passed its break-even point and is expanding its business, both in sales volume and number of clients. At this stage, you're most likely to be adding new products or services to your offerings and firmly establishing your brand in the market.

During this stage, you should be hiring more employees while investing in infrastructure, including equipment and machinery as needed to support expansion. At this stage, the business can benefit from strategic planning, access to capital and adjustments to the organizational structure.

Maturity Stage

A mature enterprise has achieved what most entrepreneurs envision when they see their company at its peak of success. The company now has a good market share, is making a profit and is sustainable. There is a danger in success, however, in that a mature business runs the risk of not adapting to changes in the market and failing to expand.

Companies at this stage can usually benefit from quality improvement endeavors and examining new markets. It's also at this stage that an entrepreneur should consider stepping down and moving on because starting a company is not the same thing as managing a mature company.

Revitalization Stage

A mature company reaches a revitalization stage from either internal proactive decisions or from external decisions that force it to make changes. Often, it is a combination of both. A slump in sales or a new challenger emerging in the market can inspire a mature business to start revitalizing its business.

An enterprise undergoing revitalization can either innovate with new ways of doing business or diversify by expanding into new markets. Either way, restructuring its organizational hierarchy and bringing in fresh management are often hallmarks of this stage.