One’s entrepreneurial journey may differ from others. However, there are patterns, challenges or wins that may resemble other people's business experiences. These similarities are key learnings that can prepare upcoming entrepreneurs for the impediments ahead. It is to convey to those on the starting line that there are mavens who can relate to their trials and are willing to help them out.
That is the essence of EO. If you have browsed through the stories shared on this site, you will find inspiration from the people who braved tough times to make their businesses grow. They have mentioned certain elements or pieces to help us grasp their entrepreneurial passage better. Some of these experiences you can relate to a particular item that can provide a visual illustration of how a business journey unfolds. It will help you to fully comprehend what is to come and how you can approach your entrepreneurial voyage with the right attitude and mindset.
Take as much stuff as you can on your journey. There’s no weight limit when it comes to bringing some best practices and learnings from your entrepreneurial adventure. We got some ideas from the stories of EO Melbourne members. So, pack up the best insights that can help you get to your destination.
Entrepreneurship is about creativity. Whether you are in an artistic field or a rigid discipline, you create something. Every stroke you do, every colour you put, every line you draw helps form a creative picture of what you want to achieve in the long term. Not every part of the portrait may be lovely. There may be some blots here and there – mistakes you’ve made, circumstances beyond your control, or a sudden turn of events that may lead you south – but you can always do something to add a touch of beauty. Your experiences, good or bad, make up for a magnificent masterpiece that others can admire.
2. Lens and magnifying glass
As an entrepreneur, you get to see what others don’t see. You see an opportunity, you spot a promising talent, or you visualise your end goals. Vision is an important aspect of running a business. And while you look at things at a macro level, you also need to pay attention to the details. It’s not just about checking your financial books or processes. You also need to take a look at relationships, connections, and people. Perspective is another thing. Your entrepreneurial lens can help you make your sights clearer if you consider various facets of your industry, positive or negative. Even when things may not work out well for you, you can take a look at things from an optimistic, yet realistic standpoint.
3. Sports team
You win some. You lose some. You learn from both winning and losing. Being in a sports team is like traversing through stumbling blocks and obstacles. It’s a matter of endurance and discipline. You have to go through rigorous tests, trails, and training sessions to strengthen your entrepreneurial muscles. To put them to good use, you need to get into the arena, inside the playing field. Running a business is also comparable to coaching a sports team. You lead a group of players that can help you earn a score. Teamwork is essential to winning a game. Having a strategy is key to unlocking potentials to success. When victory comes, you celebrate and move on to prepare for the next game.
Careful planning is needed to build a good structure. And it goes the same for business. Albeit there may be instances where a business is born out of unexpected circumstances, a good plan is still needed to allow that business to expand and grow. A well-thought-of blueprint will ensure all the significant features of an enterprise are in place to be able to construct an impressive edifice.
5. Building tools
If the entrepreneurial journey is comparable to a blueprint, it is also relatable to building tools. These construction devices will put together the different parts of a building. As small as the nuts and bolts can hold all the pieces in place. Proper implementation is necessary to carry out an effective plan. The tools will help you execute your strategies to build up to your goal. Eventually, if you want to have a strong enterprise that can last beyond its startup stage and longer, proper facilities have to be in place – systems, processes, products, services, people, branding – that will serve as your foundation, posts, walls, doors, flooring, ceiling and façade.
Founding a business and making it grow is not a steady climb. Even the most successful of businesspeople also falters at times. They are not immune to hardships and difficulties. There will always be highs and lows, ascent and descent, peaks and troughs. Certain parts may make you nauseous, but just be patient because you’ll eventually get to the end line. All you have to do is buckle up, prepare yourself and enjoy the ride.
7. Train or bus
How are you going to drive your bus? Who are the people aboard your train? Being a business owner is a leadership role. You are the captain, and you decide on the speed and direction of your vehicle. Decision-making is something that entrepreneurs do day in and day out. Part of that decision is choosing the people that should be on your bus – your team, your partners, your clients or customers, your suppliers - and which way you should take. There are twists and turns, so you have to be alert at all times.
8. Bamboo tree
Nurturing and managing a business is also likened to cultivating a bamboo tree, specifically a moso tree. It doesn’t show growth in the first few years. But when it does, it grows at an accelerated rate. Success does not happen overnight. That is why patience and endurance are needed to reap the harvest that you have painstakingly planted. Moreover, a bamboo tree exhibits resilience. The entrepreneurial journey is often unpredictable. Ergo, an entrepreneur must be pliable enough to steer his business to the proper course. His flexibility is a strength that allows him to adapt to changes in the wind’s direction.
Like a timepiece, being in the entrepreneurial tracks means you have to be constantly in motion. Every second, every minute, every hour is significant. Entrepreneurs value the sense of urgency as they put a premium on time. There may be different kinds of timepieces, as there are various types of businesses. There are sports watches, collector’s items, or funky clocks. Regardless of its design or price, each timepiece tells time. There may be huge companies, startups or medium-scale enterprises. Then again, all of them go through ups and downs in delivering the product or service they provide to consumers.
It’s the survival of the fittest. There are harsh environs as well as unfriendly inhabitants. Getting into the business space is not easy at all. Competition, turbulent industries, internal struggles and unpredictable market changes make up for the tough terrain. The learning experiences may vary, but most of it, you learn by doing. Thus, getting a mentor to guide you through the trail is advantageous in outlasting the entrepreneurial jungle. You have to be strong in facing risks and threats to your business. Resourcefulness and adaptability will help you subsist in ferocious surroundings.
Apart from the wild, the business journey is also comparable to the ocean. You have to brave rough waters and tumultuous waves to get your entrepreneurial ship to port. There are instances wherein you have to either sink or swim. Business owners battle out the dangerous waters to get to safe harbour. Not many endure their entrepreneurial voyage. Some collapse, while others go bust. Some are consumed by competition. But the unrelenting ones make it big, and they make it to shore.
12. Waves and boulders
Rocks are hard materials. But with the non-stop hitting of the waves at sea, it is often deformed. Over time, those waves can drive a hole through a stone. The same with running a business, it requires tenacity and determination to achieve one’s goals. There may be hiccups and missteps, but they are not barriers to triumphs. The way to success is to rise each time you fall and to keep going. There may be some hits and misses when it comes to achieving feats. But as long as you continue to strike and never give up, you’ll eventually hit the mark.
Conquest in business is like mining for precious minerals. You cannot fully discern the business landscape unless you get into the tunnel. Victory does not present itself in the onset. You have to dig deep and work hard to find it. You can only find what you are looking for if you keep digging. With that, you have to continue even when you seem to be facing a blank wall. Who knows? Maybe your next blow on the earth will uncover mounds of gems.
14. Heart rate monitor
Trudging the business path may often be lonely because those who are not in your position cannot totally comprehend what you go through. But a business owner is not totally isolated from others. Having a business entails dealing with people – partners, teammates, suppliers, clients, and prospective customers. As an entrepreneur, you have to be sensitive to the people around you. It’s not true of what others think that a business owner has no boss. The customers are the boss, and there are plenty of them. That is why you need to feel the pulse of your market to adjust to their modifications. Even if you may reach a certain point of success, you still have to be constantly cognizant of their needs and wants. Monitoring them will warn you of possible dangers.
Getting into business is like solving a puzzle. There are various pieces that you have to put together. Most enterprises spring out from a pain point or need. Your business should provide the answer or solution to such necessity. Not all pieces may arrive at the same time. They come in bits, and you sometimes need to look for them. Once you get all the pieces right, you can put it together and achieve your goal.
What item represents your business journey? What lessons can others get from your experience? How about the learnings you get from other business owners? Read their stories and be inspired by their entrepreneurial adventures. Embark on your own voyage with this knowledge in mind.