The 8 Stages to starting the ultimate entrepreneur career on graduation day
The modern entrepreneur is a fierce machine of dedication and skill, one that is not content spending 8 hours a day in a beige office building for the faceless mass of corporate agendas. Instead, they use that time to build an empire — brick by brick they stack their gains until they cannot see the top and once it is done, they do it all over again but better.
Accept that the best time to start is yesterday, so you don’t wait until it’s too late — put that college degree to use whilst it’s still ripping hot from the forge and strike the irons of success.
Stage 1: Find the Opening
Your entrepreneurial success depends upon your idea. It is a fact that will never change, and it will be the cornerstone for all the decisions you will make on the road to success. Forget unicorn ideas, they don’t exist — the real unicorns are the people that created them. They took a concept that was already at the peak of its success and set to work redefining the space, analysing every pitfall and every stumbling block to find its crux.
And once they find it, they use it to destroy the competition. Netflix left Blockbuster in the dust, and never looked back.
To truly dominate the market, you have to be ruthless and bare your teeth on the way to the top.
Stage 2: Make a Hitlist
To dominate the market, you first have to understand it; evaluate your competition and find their weaknesses too. Before you go to market, you have the chance to protect yourself and bolt down the exhaust port before a lucky shot blows it all up. To achieve this, you should compare the prices and offerings, finding the best balance possible to interrupt existing efforts to control the market.
Whilst doing this, do not become overzealous and stretch the level of risk too far, instead ensure you are certain that you can disrupt the market with your offering, failure at this stage is not just a setback, it is a killer.
Stage 3: Plan Everything Like An Entrepreneur
Taking inventory of basic expenses doesn’t cut it when your life is on the line — consider everything. An entrepreneur’s great plan includes provisions for each tier of success from minor to major, and especially for failure. This will be invaluable as a way to record your progress and retain meaningful intentions as your business evolves.
When estimating your costs, regardless of the source, inflate them in line with your level of risk. Your level of risk will change as your idea comes to life, but, although circumstances may change, you must stick to your planned milestones.
Accuracy provides reliability, whereas excess provides Redundancy.
Stage 4: Provide an Adequate Investment
With your planning concluded and ideas fully conceived, it is time to move on to the next stages — all of which require funds to make a reality. You should have a comprehensive breakdown of the required investment you need in your plan, and yet you should still invest an additional 25% in addition to the figures you have already.
Why? Because you will be in a far better position to take advantage of surprise development opportunities, as without a safety net you will be dangerously deviating from your plan and could destroy the whole concept in a moment.
Stage 5: Take It for a Test Drive
No matter how confident you are that you will decimate the competition, a test with a minimum viable offering is essential to making sure you don’t miss the mark. Both positively, and negatively.
Offering your services and products to market in a trial period will allow you to gauge the demand and change your production variables accordingly. Low estimates will require early expansion — potentially a good thing, whereas high estimates may necessitate product and price modifications that stop you in your tracks for months to fix.
However, do not fall into the trap of perfectionism; whilst a trial is an opportunity for refinement, over-refinement will only lead to stagnation and increase your chance to fail.
Stage 6: An Entrepreneur Makes It Official
Ideas on a page and a handful of informal orders may feel like a success, however until you officially form the company, it is just the promise of victory.
Legally register your business as a statement of your intentions; after you do this, there should be no going back.
Stage 7: Enact the Plan
At this stage, your business will be live and you should be reaping the hard-earned rewards that entrepreneurship brings. Once you have reached a steady volume of sales, or a milestone in your master plan, you should begin to refine your business — the inception of your ideas may have been born through distilling its key concepts, however, now is the time to introduce new ideas and methods to propel it forward.
Return to your plan and enact your first stages of growth, you may even have profits to reinvest that can help expedite the process. Without growth, your business will become stale and your sales will eventually plateau and decline.
Stage 8: Shout from the Rooftops
The time will eventually come to market yourself, however, how do you tell when this is? It is simple, once your sales have stabilized and you can rely on a steady sales volume, you can consider starting an advertising campaign. If you are premature, the costs associated with marketing will eat into your reinvestment funds and become a drain on your growth.
Driving new business is essential in maintaining growth year after year, client retention is also essential, and a strong media presence is reassuring to most consumers. Be bold, but also recognise that marketing projects all carry a base level of risk, either they are ineffective, or worse — directly harmful to your identity.
Do not overlook any form of advertising, every tool has its audience, and every audience brings its own interest to your service.
Bringing multiple types of customers on board will expose key vulnerabilities in your presentation — allowing you to repair them before they are used against you.
From the moment you shed your graduation robes, you are in the ring. You will have to fight, defend and surpass all those around you to make it to the top. Do not fall at the gate when you belong at the finish line. In life, there is only one way to get ahead.