Monthly Archives: October 2013

Stage 5 of 6 in the Entrepreneur’s Journey

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Stage 5 of the Entrepreneur’s Journey to Reinvention is the Step we all strive for when we embark on our Entrepreneur’s Journey.   It’s why we didn’t give up when times were tough.  It’s what keeps us going when we’d really prefer to put our feet-up and watch TV.  It’s what we all believe will happen a lot sooner and a lot easier than it does. I liken it to raising children — when we are first pregnant we imagine how amazing it’s going to be to have a baby.  Then with heartburn, back-aches and little feet kicking our ribs we wonder what we were thinking!  When the baby arrives we’re elated — until we’re so sleep deprived we can hardly remember how to brush our teeth or what it felt like to have time to ourselves.  Before you know it, the child has grown and you’ve got a teenager — and you sometimes wonder what possessed you to have children in the first place!  But then they move out — yahoo!  You try to remember what your life was like when you didn’t have a child at home and it hits you — you are no longer needed.  Cue the tears!  I know this all too well as our youngest is now in university — this is the child who has only ever known her Mom to be an entrepreneur (as I started my business while on maternity leave with her). And so, while my journey as a Mom was relatively straight-forward — with the usual twists and turns […]

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Stage 4 of 6 in the Entrepreneur’s Journey

balance

Stage 4 of the Entrepreneur’s Journey is where you work to remove yourself from your business and to me, this is one of the most exciting stages in the journey. So far you have built a business, a product line, a customer base, relationships with employees, partners, vendors and investors.  You’ve created a great network of people who can help you when you need help.  It’s now time to leverage everything you’ve learned, everything you’ve built, everything you’ve bought and everything you’ve attracted. This is one of the stages where your activities depend on your business and what you’ve already built.  If you are a solopreneur, it could be where you start building your team, if you haven’t done so already. If you have a traditional business — an agency, a dealership, a brokerage, a restaurant, a consultancy, a manufacturing company, a construction company, a retail shop, a medical practice, a dental practice or an insurance company etc. you hired people when you started your business and you’ve learned what to do and what not to do as an employer. Regardless of where you are at now, to successfully get through Stage 4 you need to ensure you have a good solid foundation, with excellent processes and procedures.  You need to set up your business as if you were “franchising it”. I learned this extremely valuable lesson a gazillion years ago as a McDonald’s Manager, my first job after college.  I wasn’t a great McDonald’s Manager — in fact, I was probably one of the low-end of the middle 60% […]

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Stage 3 of 6 in the Entrepreneur’s Journey

Life preserver

Stage 3 of the Entrepreneur’s Journey is when we finally get to say “Whew, I’m so glad this worked!”  We’re starting to see the benefits from our dedication, blood, sweat and tears. We are getting by — we’re paying our bills, we’re investing in our business and our own education, we’re looking toward the future. At any stage we could find ourselves back down at one of the other stages — like a crazy game of “Snakes and Ladders” where you either go around the board space by space or you fast track with a ladder up or you land on a slippery snake and go back to where you’ve come from — and that’s part of the excitement of being an entrepreneur. We continuously try things and sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t.  However, as long as the ones which work support the ones that don’t we will continue to move forward in our entrepreneur’s journey. In stage 3 we realize that we’ve built ourselves a good job, yet it still is a job.  For many of us, without us the business doesn’t operate.  If we take time off, the revenue stops flowing. It is in stage 3 of the entrepreneur’s journey, when we make a decision about whether this is good enough — whether this is indeed what your ideal lifestyle looks like.  Or we may decide to continue on our journey through the next stages so that we can pursue other activities and so that our livelihood does not rely on us being “at work”. For […]

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Stage 2 of 6 in the Entrepreneur’s Journey

Life preserver

Sometime during the second year of the entrepreneur’s journey reality is beginning to set-in for the majority of us — and quite often we say to ourselves “This isn’t quite as easy as I thought.”  It sucks working sooooo hard every day and not seeing the results we expected.  We look at our business plan and our marketing plan and wonder where we went right and where we went wrong.  Our optimism is fading.   We make the decision to either stick with our business with some adjustments or close up shop. In my second year of full-time entrepreneurship, I was fortunate, in a sense, that I no longer had to keep reporting back to the group who oversaw the federal program I was in, as I’d “wasted” 4 or so months going back and forth with them so they could understand and approve my business plan.  That business plan had morphed into a 70+ page piece of fiction by the time it was approved! Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t start off as fiction — I really did intend to do what I’d outlined — however, the more they pushed me for details, the more I made them up because I truly didn’t know!  My vision had changed from simply providing incentive rewards to creating software to manage incentive programs — a vision which would come back to haunt me about 10 years later. With the bureaucracy out of the way and the cushion of the unemployment benefits gone, it was sink or swim time for me.  I knew […]

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Stage 1 of 6 in the Entrepreneur’s Journey

Start own business

As Entrepreneurs when we first go into business we have a vision that we’re going to change the world, yet the reality for most of us is that we’ve bought ourselves a job (and one that may not pay nearly as much as being an employee would!)   We have high hopes for ourselves and our little business — we are full of anticipation and excitement and passion.  Our drive gets us up each morning and inspires us to continue along our path to success. My husband recalls how excited I was way back in 1996 when I started my first business.  I started it in an industry I knew nothing about.  However, I was excited because this industry — the incentive industry — was a perfect fit for my beliefs about treating people well, win/win relationships and my passion for travelling in luxury! My motivation was to have freedom to do what I wanted, to be near my children (I was commuting 2 hours a day — in good weather — for a job I hated!), to create and to build something so I could retire young and wealthy! That first year was a blast as I was on maternity leave when I started my business — so I was bringing home some money.  I was also blessed with a very mellow child — one who didn’t mind being ignored while I worked.   After maternity leave was over, I reluctantly went back to work, however, I was able to go back in a job-share situation — which meant I […]

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