This article explores the life cycle of a small business from incubation of the idea to maturity.

Getting Started

Appropriate Subject Area(s):

Marketing, entrepreneurship, business management

Key Questions to Explore:

  • Are the phases of a small business life cycle similar to or different from the life cycle of a product?
Study and Discussion Activity

Introduction to lesson and task:

This lesson examines the life cycle of a small business and compares it to the life cycle of a product.

Action (lesson plan and task):

  1. Review with the class the life cycle of a product: introduction, growth, maturity, decline.
  2. Have students create a chart and put three examples of products in each phase of the life cycle. Discuss as a class.
  3. Distribute the article for reading.
  4. Divide the class into five groups. Assign one phase of the business life cycle to each group.
  5. Have students discuss, explore and brainstorm ideas related to each phase of the life cycle.
  6. Have each group create a chart showing the phases of the small business life cycle and write down two or three characteristics of the phase they are discussing, along with two or three examples of a small business they believe is in this phase.
  7. Jigsaw the groups, by creating five new groups with one student from each phase in the group. Allow three or four minutes for each member to share their group’s discussion highlights and examples.

Consolidation of Learning:

Ask students to compare and contrast the phases of a product life cycle with the phases of a small business life cycle.

Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria:

  • Students will be able to identify the similarities and differences between product and small business life cycles.

Confirming Activity:

  • Give students a list of local businesses and have them discuss in their groups what phase they think a particular small business is in and why. Ask them what evidence they have from experience, local media, or other source that identifies which phase the small business is in.