What makes a successful entrepreneur?
Of course, this question starts a whole conversation about the definition of success.
It's my belief that success isn't just about making money. Most people start a business for the freedom they expect it to give to them. The cold hard reality is that most entrepreneurs end up working longer hours and for a lot less than a typical wage.
Why would any sane person work for less money, work much longer hours and have way less freedom than they probably had in a day job?
The reason is they have a much bigger vision for their future than the average person. So if someone works harder than the average worker, why doesn't every entrepreneur become massively successful?
What is the secret that helps the budding entrepreneur become successful?
It's probably a cliche, but there is a formula to it. The challenge is that there are plenty of mad scientists out there selling you their secret formula. Often it really only works for them or a few followers. Why? Because they probably got lucky along the way.
There are no real shortcuts to success, though of course, there are exceptions to the rule. It's called luck or being at the right place at the right time. But often even the overnight success stories actually have a hard-luck backstory and years of failure and frustration.
This post is about the process, strategy and implementation of your ideas. The 5 stages is my way of showing you a viable success path and will help you understand the mindset you need to develop to achieve your definition of success.
You may be tempted to diagnose yourself at one stage and skip the stages prior. The reality is that often problems and challenges occur due to lack of fundamentals.
So here are the 5 stages to success in the new entrepreneurial world in my view:
Stage 1: Founder
This is the starting point for any new entrepreneur. It's where the magic happens. In order to get from an idea to a product/service/business, you need to make sure your concept has a solid foundation. This is always the exciting part of your journey but you also need to be realistic about what is possible and what financial or physical barriers you will have getting your idea to the next stage.
Stage 2: Explorer:
This stage is where an entrepreneur starts their search for the resources they need to get their idea to market. You need to consider things like what software you will be using for websites, eCommerce, autoresponders, contact management. How your idea will look in terms of branding, pricing and delivery. What staff and other contractors you will need to sell your products or service. Who you can attract to help you in terms of referral, affiliates or business partners.
Stage 3: Organiser
This is the vital stage which many entrepreneurs get stuck on. The successful implementation of their ideas is very important and can lead to lost opportunities or even worse project failure. If their choices are not solid in the explorer stage they often end up struggling with the technology side of their business. They can also invest too much in the wrong solutions leaving little money to actually promote their business. They need to find the right people to help them or ensure they understand the solutions they need to implement. Automation is the key at this stage, anything you can do to remove manual handling or staff involvement the better you will be long term.
Stage 4: Investor
This stage is where the entrepreneur is focused on growing their business and investing time and money to see the idea launched into the marketplace. Often entrepreneurs will give up too early or start to second guess themselves at this stage. In addition, if their marketing and sales systems are not in place for automation then processes start to break and too much time is spent on putting out fires. This is the time to start to measure everything you can in your business and plan for your future or exit.
Stage 5: Time-Master
For any entrepreneur having the time to do what they want, when they want and with whom they want is an ultimate goal for anyone. At this stage, you are focused on only spending time on what you are good at or what you want to do and the systems and processes handle the backend of your business. Now is the time to leverage your business the next level, sell it or bring in partners or investors.
We have really only touched the surface with this post and it is my hope that it encourages you to dig further.
So let's dive in and get started on your journey...