While there's no real easy way to create success as an entrepreneur, there are certain strategies and tactics that will allow you to achieve your success. This article will describe for you at a high level the entrepreneurial blueprint - a road map to taking an idea, invention or business from inception to commercial scalability and monetization. While the entrepreneurial journey is not linear, this is a framework to understand the process an idea or invention will go through to create growth and success.
To begin with, it is important to understand that with each idea, invention or business, there are four key components: Mindset, Business Knowledge, Business Strategy and Business Development. Within each of these components are various steps along the road map. Some entrepreneurs with the right resources are able to expedite the process quickly, and there are certain ways to catalyze the process. However, there is no way to cheat the road map, or take a short cut. Therefore, it is important to understand the road map and enjoy it. Additionally, entrepreneurship is a mindset and even if it were a blueprint or playbook, it would most likely not be a step-by-step, but rather a free flowing dance based on mindset and resources.
The blueprint has three phases to it, similar to constructing a house. Initially, you must pour the foundation and this must be solid and fundamentally rooted to allow for stability in the future. Once this is in place you can begin to build the structure of the house, taking into account design and architecture, ensuring the look and feel and atmosphere are all in place, and creating processes and systems that allow for comfortable living. After the house has been built the most important aspect is decorating the inside and filling it with the love of a family. It is only once the interior design and family culture is in place that the house you built will become a home that provides a nurturing environment for growth and success of all the inhabitants. It is through this final process where the real value is created from the original foundation that was created. It is at this point the home is usually sold for a profit.
As you begin the journey, the first phase is establishing a foundation. During this initial period it is important to set the vision and purpose for the organization. This is a key part to building a strong foundation. Knowing which direction to go will be guided by the vision and will allow for strategic decision-making as the company evolves. Most importantly, during this period it is an exploratory time to begin to understand exactly what problem the organization will solve. During this phase, one of the key distinctions for success is the ability to determine if there are trade secrets or patentable inventions, which will allow for differentiation and potentially a competitive advantage. Additionally beginning to define who the target customer is and their ability to purchase the product is an important part of this discovery. During this time you begin to create an elevator pitch as to why the business exists and what it is doing. Often, this phase will require seed resources including time, money and energy from the founder, initial team, and any potential funders.
The second phase involves building a solid structure for the business to operate. One of the key aspects of this phase is the ability to go outside and obtain social proof around the products and services. The ability to gain this early traction will provide benefits as the business moves through this phase. As the business is formed and developed around the idea or invention, the team will begin to focus on a few key areas, the first of which is business processes and systems to create organization and accountability. As the founder adds team members who believe in the vision, having processes and systems ensure alignment during the growth. The second is around Business Development, which is one of the most important areas for a young entrepreneur organization to focus as they seek to grow and create success. The ability to develop business and generate revenue through sales establishes proof the business has viability. It is often during this phase where the company may begin to seek funding to assist in the growth based on the early traction created from the social proof and some of the early sales created.
The final phase is the value creation for the key stakeholders. During this stage it will be critical for the team’s identity to mature as managers and leaders. If not, it will be important that the team brings individuals in who can fulfill these roles and responsibilities. Also, it will be up to the management and leadership to continue to grow the culture of the organization. With the key being the ability to continue those attributes which allowed the entrepreneurial organization to grow and merge them with the attributes necessary to run a successful enterprise level corporation. This important skill set is typically a filter separating small businesses from enterprise-level operations. Additionally, with the correct management and leadership in place, executing on processes and systems, with the proper resources, is the equation to achieving scalability in the marketplace. The marketing and sales will be key during this time to create growth which will result in an operation that is a resource which the owners will want to maintain, or a great asset which can be sold for a multiple as an exit.
Which aspect of the Entrepreneur Blueprint you will need to focus on depends a lot on your mindset and resources. Ultimately understanding the different phases, and more importantly what phase your business is in, will provide for an opportunity to execute against a strategy to achieve the desired results. Remember, the Blueprint is meant to be a guide for the journey, some will stay on for the whole journey, others will only stay on for a few stages and others are already a ways into their journey and just need some guidance towards their exit.
Regardless of the idea, invention or business and where you are at on your journey, there is always room for growth and success. Leaders following the Entrepreneur Blueprint will ultimately find continued success in their endeavors.