THE ENTREPRENEURIAL JOURNEY
Entrepreneurship is a career choice. The entrepreneurial journey is an exploration and discovery experience, a way to map out a strategy to reach your goals (or dreams). There are multiple levels of experience, self-discovery, exploration, and accomplishments on your way to success. Any business venture (type of business, project, organization, or operation of interest) includes a certain level or risk in acting on an opportunity that has not been established previously.
The possibility of starting your own business brings new and thrilling experiences. And there are several steps that every entrepreneur needs to consider in the entrepreneurial journey. Understanding each step of the journey will help in defining the path toward creating and starting a new venture. And every step of the process brings in another level of understanding that is crucial in preparing you for the long-term success.
So how do you achieve this success? Of course, by taking one step at a time. But in every step, make sure to explore, learn, be open to new ideas and expectations, and apply each experience that you encounter to achieve your personal goal.
Take this survey to see how ready are you (or maybe which step are you on) in the entrepreneurial journey. Answering the questions below would help you in understanding what’s in store for you as you start your own venture.
Potential Self Assessment Phase: Possible Obstacles
- Fear of the unknown
- Constrained time, resources, personal connections
Potential Self Assessment Phase: Lessons
*Confidence, courage, determination, resilience, the recognition of the opportunity, and some know-how compel you to choose entrepreneurship over becoming an employee of an established business.
* Being an entrepreneur means not only recognizing the opportunity. Having the wiliness to act on the idea is more important.
A shift in your perception of yourself and your life situation and stumbling upon significant external situations (trigger events) can push you into taking the first step toward being an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurial Phase #1: INSPIRATION (Possible Obstacles)
- Fear of the unknown
- Constrained time, resources, personal connections
Entrepreneurial Phase #1: INSPIRATION (Lessons)
From where do you draw inspiration to become an entrepreneur? On this phase, you have to imagine yourself as an entrepreneur or as part of an entrepreneurial team. Having an entrepreneurial mindset means being creative, open, and innovative in this phase of your journey as an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurial Phase #2: RESEARCH AND PLANNING (Possible Obstacles)
- Lack of inspiration or ideas
- The venture or the idea already exists
- Unrealistic expectations for the correct solution
- Fear of risks
- Being too realistic or too logical
Entrepreneurial Phase #2: RESEARCH AND PLANNING (Lessons)
Conducting research and planning is an important step in an entrepreneurial journey. An honest and objective research is needed in this phase to get a clear picture of your venture. Now once you’ve conducted your research and you found out that your idea is not unique, you should not feel disappointed nor should you be discouraged as it is but a common occurrence in entrepreneurship. What you need to do is to look for the missed aspect of your novel idea as there might be something that was overlooked in terms of target market or how the idea should be branded to target a particular group of consumers for whom you visualize creating and developing the product or service for. Also, look for the competitors’ offerings and research from there what would set your offering apart.
Entrepreneurial Phase #3: EVALUATION (Possible Obstacles)
- Inadequate connections
- Partners who don’t have the skills or resources (or enough of these) that match your objectives and needs
Entrepreneurial Phase #3: EVALUATION (Lessons)
This phase involves identifying suitable relationships and gathering the resources that you need. Guidance from trusted mentors or advisors would be helpful to entrepreneurs in providing valuable insights on how to properly manage the business venture. This is where a reflection of the idea and purpose comes in. After the research and planning phase, the next step is to evaluate the viability of your idea (venture). You have to ask yourself if your business idea is still something that you are willing to explore it (given enough understanding of the industry and the target market).
Entrepreneurial Phase #4: EXPLORING RESOURCES (Possible Obstacles)
- Limited or little access to suitable or adequate capital
- Limited or a small number of connections to acquire capital
- Limited negotiation knowledge or experience
Entrepreneurial Phase #4: EXPLORING RESOURCES (Lessons)
An essential element of any startup success is your capability to acquire sufficient funding in starting and growing your business. Raising funding is never easy (and usually takes longer than expected). Entrepreneurs who want to grow their business fast usually make use of outside sources of capital. While bootstrapping is a good way to minimize cash outflows, optimizing external funding is a smart way to take advantage of market opportunities. The plethora of lending options also makes it easier for entrepreneurs to get started on the business.
But this phase of exploring resources isn’t confined to acquiring funds through bootstrapping and external funding. In a business’ trial phase, entrepreneurs may also try to offer their product or service for sale within a limited market on a test basis to assess the possible additional resources that are should be considered in supporting the success of the business. The goal is to solicit feedback about your product or service (in terms of pricing, quality, sales pitch, presentation, and quantity). Through this, you’ll be able to make improvement based on the feedback which is valuable in determining which variables should be adjusted or what other resources are needed to better improve your offering.
Entrepreneurial Phase #5: BUSINESS PLAN CREATION (Possible Obstacles)
- Limited knowledge or skill for the operational and administrative needs of the venture
- Inadequate access to resources and a support structure
Entrepreneurial Phase #5: BUSINESS PLAN CREATION (Lessons)
Having a thorough business plan is important in the financing process (even if you won’t need any outside financing). A comprehensive, step-by-step plan presents a blueprint that serves as your reference during the startup stage and helps you keep up that momentum, modify your business prior to launch so you’ll get a better chance of success.
A comprehensive business plan helps you to:
- Discover flaws in the business idea (so you can resolve them prior to the formal opening of the business)
- Determine business opportunities that you may have not thought about yet (so you can incorporate them on the plan eventually)
- Assess the market competition to strengthen your business idea
- Make way for planning strategies that deal with possible challenges (to avoid any obstruction on the startup)
- Encourage potential partners, customers and key employees to work with you (and for them to know how serious you are in the business)
- Do the math when your business will make a profit and how much funding do you need to reach that point (to help you prepare for the needed startup capital)
- Identify your target market and the ways on how to reach them
Entrepreneurial Phase #6: NAVIGATION (Possible Obstacle)
- Restricted outlook for the suitable strategies, goals, and opportunities
Entrepreneurial Phase #6: NAVIGATION (Lessons)
Adjusting the business plan is inevitable as along the way, you might realize that there won’t be enough resources to endure the time until your venture reaches breakeven point. There are other different variables that you need to further explore and research. Fostering an entrepreneurial mindset will help you become more prepared when unexpected obstacles, challenges, and opportunities come into the picture. While you won’t be able forecast or develop a plan for every potential scenario along your journey as an entrepreneur, having an entrepreneurial mindset activates your resourcefulness when different forms of disruptions surface. An assessment of your experiences for each phase of your entrepreneurial journey would help you determine how realistic, overambitious, or shortsighted your business goals are. The navigation phase is when you can explore our vision for your venture.
Entrepreneurial Phase #7: BUSINESS LAUNCH (Possible Obstacle)
Entrepreneurial Phase #7: BUSINESS LAUNCH (Lessons)
The launch of your business is the most exciting part of all. This is the phase when you’ve already:
- Made improvement in your offering using the feedback that you have received during the trial run
- Identified the value proposition of your offering
- Identified your target market, location of your launch (whether is a geographical or an internet location)
Take note that even during the launch of your venture, there are still variables that would you would need to closely monitor even as your venture grows as potential opportunities may arise from them.