Travellers usually make sure to pick out a final destination and pack before going on their next adventure. Similarly, entrepreneurs must prepare before beginning their journey. Though, you might be asking yourself, how can you prepare for an entrepreneur’s journey?
If you have a rough idea of what you’re getting yourself into, it makes the trip significantly easier. After all, no career path is ever identical for entrepreneurs.
In this article, we want to highlight the seven stages of an entrepreneur’s journey to give you an idea of what’s ahead. This way you can recognise the different emotional and business related stages of every entrepreneur.
Steps of an Entrepreneur’s Journey
For our basic understanding of the term, we can say that an entrepreneur is the creator of a business that generates goods and services . There is no universal path to entrepreneurship, but there are typical stages that happen over time. Benefit from the mistakes and struggles other people have made before you. This way, you eliminate some issues early on and set yourself up for success.
To have an idea of what you’re getting yourself into, we’ve created a list of the seven main steps in an entrepreneur’s journey:
Stage 1: Your Business Idea
In this first stage, the idea of your future business is born. Inspiration strikes at the most unexpected times, but every business starts from an idea.
This stage can be a long process over several years, or an unexpected idea that you decide you need to pursue as soon as possible.
For example, some are stuck and unhappy in a job they’ve had for years. While it takes some time to seriously think about taking the risk of quitting and building their own business instead, they eventually make the decision. In contrast, think about some of those energetic college students with a business idea who pursue this idea much sooner.
No matter how your idea comes to be, it’s always the first step to becoming an entrepreneur.
Step 2: Finding Motivation
Every journey starts with the motivation to travel. Whether that be for work, for fun, or out of necessity. The same is true for the beginning of every entrepreneur’s journey.
Having an idea is only the first half of deciding on this career path. An idea alone doesn’t kick off the process. It all starts with an incentive.
Incentives are as diverse as the people who choose the entrepreneur’s journey. It can be a passion project, something to pay the bills, the wish for more control in the workplace, and so on. As innovators, entrepreneurs all start out with an idea. Then, they find the motivation to turn it into a practical business.
Stage 3: Preparation
You have an idea now and an incentive to turn that idea into something more practical. As with any other journey, the next step is to prepare for the trip. In the case of an entrepreneur, that means practising self-reflection and planning your business.
It’s great to have an idea and the motivation to make it work. But have you taken a good look in the mirror and decided you have what it takes to become an entrepreneur?
If starting your own business involves quitting your job, have you done the work and figured out if you can survive this career switch financially?
Remember that an entrepreneur bears all potential risks of their new business. Reflect on your current situation in this stage and determine if you’re ready emotionally and financially to turn your idea into a business.
This stage also includes in-depth practical preparations, such as creating a business plan. It can be a long and tedious process to work out all the details of what business model you want to follow. It’s a necessary evil, though. Without a sensible plan in place, there is no point in launching a business.
Have a good idea of key partners, stakeholders, resources, financial plans, and your target audience at the end of this stage.
If you want to learn about business planning in more detail, visit our blog entry “How to Write A Fool-Proof Business Plan.”
Stage 4: Creation
Once you’ve conducted all relevant preparations, you are ready to take the most important step: the creation of your products or services. This is another stage that can take a long time – from prototyping to product testing.
This step encompasses the trial and error phase of creating the best possible products or services, based on your initial idea.
Innovation takes time and care. If you’re developing an app, for example, don’t run with the first design and functions and expect to reach the highest success. Take your time to implement your business plan and create the best possible products or services.
Stage 5: Assessment
Before the launch of your business, it’s time to ask, “Is my business plan sustainable?” Are the products good enough and solve a problem or need for customers? Have you prepared everything you need to run your business smoothly?
During this stage, assess where your business currently stands. Improve whatever needs improving and calculate any future issues. The sooner you think about upcoming struggles, the better you’ll be equipped to solve them.
Repeat the motions of this step as often as necessary to ensure you’ve really considered all factors before moving on to the next step.
Stage 6: The Business Launch
This stage addresses the most exciting moment for any entrepreneur: the launch of the new business. After setting up your business plan and creating your products or services, you’re ready to start your business.
The location of your launch is crucial for success. Depending on your business plan, that may be entirely online or in a specific market. Either way, take a hands-on approach as the founder and ensure a successful launch with your team or on your own.
Mistakes happen, and it’s unlikely that the launch will be perfected without production errors. Take this stressful time with a calm mindset day by day and work towards eliminating bumps in the road as they come.
Stage 7: Growth
Ideally, the next and final step is growth. This stage includes personal growth as an entrepreneur and the growth of your business. Even if your business ends up failing or not reaching the numbers you planned for, you will still grow as an entrepreneur.
Take this opportunity of a new business to constantly learn and improve your craft. There is never a perfect business, and always the potential to be more efficient or improve quality and customer experience.
Constant reassessment, ambitious goals, and improvement nurture growth. This final stage depends on your personality and if you’ve completed all the previous steps to the best of your abilities.
Common Themes Across Stages
Entrepreneurs are risk-takers, and ambitious. It’s never acceptable to strive to be just as good as you were yesterday. The goal is always to reach new heights. If something is not working well, fix it in a way that is sustainable and prevents the same issue from occurring again.
That being said, we’ve covered the seven main steps to an entrepreneur’s journey and though we’ve mentioned every journey will be different, we also want to highlight some commonalities between the different stages.
The workload as a founder is immense. Don’t underestimate the days when you’ll be demotivated or tired. As exciting and joyful as the highs of your journey will be, there will also be lows and frustrations. This applies to every single stage of the journey.
Keep track of your mental health along the way and ensure that you find a healthy balance within the demands of being an entrepreneur.
Every single phase of an entrepreneur’s journey requires a certain mindset. Ambitious and detail-oriented minds will find efficient ways to tackle obstacles. The value of constant reassessment and striving for improvement cannot be understated.
With the right mindset during every phase of your journey, you will likely find success. Stay calm in the face of adversity, keep the business plan in mind, and choose the right people to work with. Those are all factors that are part of a mindset that makes every stage more doable while yielding the best results.
No two entrepreneurs will have the exact same journey. However, we have defined seven common stages that every entrepreneur will face in their pursuit of success. From the very first idea to the launch and growth of your business, an entrepreneur’s journey is emotionally taxing and requires a lot of work and planning.
Be aware of the stages of the entrepreneur’s journey to prepare and be as successful as you could possibly be. Learn from other entrepreneurs’ mistakes and anticipate your next steps. Thinking about the big picture is something that this career path rewards.