The process of implementing your idea takes a great deal of mental endurance and dedication. In many
instances, the desired success and financial rewards of owning a business can take months and sometimes years to achieve. The risk of the business concept or venture failing is also a likelihood; resulting in a failure to reach the desired financial goals and the entrepreneur can spend years repaying debt incurred in launching and sustaining the venture. Running a successful enterprise is like running a marathon; your mental focus, training and strides have to be geared for the long distance it takes to arrive at the finish line.
Have you ever started out on a journey or trip and realized that it’s going to take longer and require additional resources to complete? There is this fallacy that running a successful business or venture is for the fleet of foot. On the contrary, it takes a great deal of mental fortitude and stamina to go from the concept phase to successful implementation.
We have broken the steps into various Stages in the Social Entrepreneurship Process:
Stage #1 – Understanding Yourself
Stage #2 – Social Entrepreneurship Orientation
Stage #3 – Becoming a Social Entrepreneur
Stage #4 – Convening a Entrepreneurial Team
Stage #5 – Identifying and Evaluating Opportunities
Stage #6 – Winning Concept
Stage #7 – Developing and Acquiring Resources
Stage #8 – Implementing a Business Venture (or Social Venture)
The Institute desires to take the mystery out of the process and provide a roadmap for Social Entrepreneurs. Our curriculum starts will the perspective entrepreneur to ensure that they are entrepreneurs and to match them with a business opportunity or venture idea; this phase of the process covers stages 1-3 above. At the end of the process is Stage 8 that emphasis execution of business plan until the business or venture meets the profit and outcome goals.
The stages above are a mere roadmap and the journey to success will require time, talent and dedicated resources, along with the heart and mindset of a marathon runner!
The Problem(s) / Opportunity
All too often people have a short-term commitment on something that requires a long-term view and a great deal of perseverance. Launching a successful business or venture is one of those processes that have to become a lifestyle as opposed to an event.
The other challenge is to determine if you have the right mindset to be an entrepreneur or small business owner. Entrepreneurs share a common mindset and internal characteristics. If people try to conform or mimic these inherent traits, they may find the entrepreneurial process absolutely unbearable.
In addition to the right view and mindset, an entrepreneur has to possess the right physical characteristics or physique to play the part their business or venture demands them to possess. Additionally, their health has to be good because if they fall down, their business does too.
The entrepreneurial process is not designed for sprinters; it’s more of a marathon and your conditioning has to be for the long haul it takes until success is achieved. The entrepreneur has to possess the view, mindset and physique to run the race until the business or venture is successful.
Many people can view the road ahead and pace themselves to go as far as they can imagine.
Successful entrepreneurs must be able to view their business from a birds eye perspective as well as from the cockpit. They must also have the ability to pace themselves for the long race to success. The view from above gives the entrepreneur the ability to slow down and speed up depending on the business’ success and overall conditions.
The Entrepreneurial Characteristics / Mindset
While developing the center, I didn’t have a way of assessing if a person had the right entrepreneurial mindset. I did get better at asking questions and identifying traits that successful entrepreneurs possess. There are several common traits that set entrepreneurs apart from others. While entrepreneurs can come from all walks of life, they are people who:
- are hardworking, seek personal accomplishment and success
- take risks and know how to deal with uncertainty
- are innovative, creative and versatile
- relate well with others
- are willing to take initiative
- are well organized, competitive, confident, and committed
If you possess, all of the above characteristics, there is a good chance you would be a successful entrepreneur.
Let’s say you have the right view and entrepreneurial mindset. You must also possess the right physique being demanded by your business or venture. Your health as an entrepreneur must be good; if your health breaks down, your business will begin to fail.
Part of the process is to match the entrepreneur with the right opportunity. The other part is about training and building the right stamina for your personal journey. It’s probably easier to use an illustration to explain the importance of matching. Look at the picture below, the sprinter’s body is designed for short distances that require short burst of speed. The marathoners are built for long distances with different muscles types that are tailored for their journey. What if the two different types tried to swap roles? Similarly, the race for entrepreneurs is more closely aligned to that of a marathoner.
- The process of launching the business is only the beginning. The run to success / finish line requires commitment and the right mindset.
- People can be harmed (financially) if they launch a business and they are not entrepreneurs.
- While all entrepreneurs need to be healthy, the process of matching them with the right opportunity is paramount to the success of the business or venture.
Reflection / Lesson Learned
- People start businesses for a variety of reasons and often with short and long-term goals. An entrepreneur has to be committed to the success of the business even if it takes longer than projected and requires additional resources. For Social Entrepreneurs, the impacts and success may take even longer to materialize.
- Entrepreneurs have a unique way of looking at the world and they possess characteristics that allow them to endure great challenges until the business or venture is successful. It is a disservice to expect non-entrepreneurs to be able to cope with uncertainty, risk, stress and a host of other challenges.
- The entrepreneurial process is a like a marathon that also requires an extreme amount of physical endurance and energy to carry out the daily functions of running a successful enterprise. Entrepreneurs are like prize racehorses that posses speed, endurance, and strength to carry a daily work load and stamina to complete the marathon.