One of the first cycles you learned about when you were a kid was probably the life cycle of a butterfly.

You found an egg on a leaf, took it home with you, and put it in a jar. After a while, a caterpillar hatched out of the egg. It crawled around the leaf, nibbling on it, so you gave it more leaves to eat. Eventually, the caterpillar made a chrysalis. The chrysalis didn’t look like it did much—it wasn’t nearly as interesting to watch as the caterpillar had been—but then, finally, a butterfly emerged from it. The butterfly unfurled its wings, and you let it fly away outside. It went about its business, and then one day you found another egg on a leaf. The butterfly had completed its life cycle, and now a new cycle was about to begin.

The life cycle of a butterfly is a good example of the way new growth and development comes in cycles – and it’s as true of your business as it is of butterflies. Every business goes through a recurring series of phases in what I call the Business Storm Cycle; it begins in the start-up phase in which you’re busy trying to get your enterprise off the ground and making money. Then, your product or service suddenly takes off—and you’re sucked up into the Tornado. It’s everything you hoped for! Plus, some things you didn’t anticipate, like your sales outstripping your ability to produce the product you’re selling. Or your back office staff, saddled with processes that weren’t designed to support this kind of exponential growth, unable to keep up with orders. You throw everything you’ve got at the problems—more money, more staff, patches to your IT system—but you just can’t keep up the pace.

You can’t avoid the Tornado, any more than that caterpillar can avoid becoming a butterfly – but you can learn from it and update your processes to be more nimble and scalable, so that when the next Tornado hits your business, you’re set to garner the most profits possible before the “season” changes again. Accurately predict and prepare your enterprise to withstand the most destructive effects of the phases it must repeatedly pass through with the help of my latest White Paper “Will Your Business Survive: Cycle Theory Explained.”