⌚ 3 min read
If we had to give inspiring entrepreneurs just one piece of advice, it would be: entrepreneurship is a marathon not a sprint.
Too many times we see entrepreneurs, especially young ones, think that the battle will be won as soon as they find that winning idea or big client. But the reality is there are several stages to work through until you can claim success. Each of these stages brings along it’s on challenges and required mindset to work through.
We’ve outlined seven stages most entrepreneurs go through below:
Realization - This is the lightbulb stage, where you realize that there is a problem out there that you can solve. It might be something that’s causing friction in your own life or something that you’ve noticed others are having issues with. This is the stage where there is an abundance of excitement and imagination. You feel like anything is possible!
Taking action - Once you come down from your initial high of excitement, it’s time to transition from talking to doing. This is the stage where most people become stuck, because it takes a whole lot of courage to take that first step. Some of the reasons for that include needing approval from others before going all in, finding the necessary focus, difficulty validating the idea, or figuring out the specifics to starting a business. Many eventually quit because of a fear of failure, lack of confidence, or being surrounded by negativity.
Finding the right community - Having a mentor you occasionally talk with isn’t enough. You need the right environment with the right people surrounding you to build your dreams. Entrepreneurs that take part in incubators, accelerators, or entrepreneurship communities (like Online Women Biz!) are more likely to successfully build a business.
Building a team - We hate to break it to you, but you won’t be able to do everything yourself! In the early stages, you most likely won’t be able to hire employees, of course, but you can hire freelancers or contractors to help you with areas you aren’t great at. Instead of trying to be your own accountant, website designer, marketer, and lawyer, leave some things to the specialists and focus on the actual business building side.
Finding funds - Inventory, marketing, day-to-day operations… you need cash. And before you can start earning the money needed, you must secure start-up capital. Assess the level of risk you’re willing to take. Will it be all your own savings, will you find partners, take out a loan? Whatever path you choose, make sure that you won’t run dry your accounts too soon.
Reviewing and revising - Once you finally launch, you can breathe a sigh of relief, right? Not really. Commitment to your idea, persistence, and speed are key in this stage. No matter how much you love your original idea, you have to be willing to make changes based on what the market wants and what your competitors are doing. Do not become so stuck on your idea in its original form that you fail to see all the signs leading you to a revised, but better business strategy.
Scaling and growth - Once you finally launch and everything is going smoothly, you’re done, right? Once again, no. Scaling means expanding to reach your full potential without having to hover over your business 24/7. During this stage, you must put in processes, learn to delegate and hire, and get your business to a point where it’s self-sustaining.
We hope these entrepreneurship marathon milestone markers prep you for what’s ahead on your journey. Certain skill sets and mindsets are required to make it through each stage and that’s why we’ve created two courses to help you work through each one. Our Intro to Business course will help you get through launching your business and our Growth course will help you scale it to success. Lace up your running shoes and start today!