Many years ago, when I still had bounce in my legs and ran with the best of them, I played college football. And when I was a freshman on the team, a friend and teammate told us a story about when, as a high school player, he had been pulled from a game after making a big bonehead mistake that had let the other team score.
In his recounting of this event, my friend told us how as he trotted off the field, he stopped next to the coach and said he was sorry. The coach then glared angrily at him. Grabbed his facemask and yanked it so his face was inches from his own. Then the coach said the line that our college team would repeat over and over again on our way to winning two conference championships: “Son, sorry doesn’t win ballgames!”
Many in the startup world simplify the entrepreneur journey into three stages – Build, Scale & Exit. However, it helps the entrepreneur to look at the process more granularly - more definition provides more direction. For this post, we break the startup lifecycle into six actionable stages from ideation to value realization, with each being an essential part of the journey on a company's growth curve.
By delineating and defining the steps along this curve, the entrepreneur can better understand where they are on their journey, where they must go, and what must get done. In turn, this assists her in acting and communicating more succinctly and clearly with her team, investors, and other key constituents about what steps to take to achieve her goals. This engagement then helps the company build a stronger foundation from which to scale the business, deploy capital, and create value for investors.
Trade shows: It seems we have all attended them or helped organize one or two. Intentionally or not, over the years, I have used them and other such events to launch new businesses and products. As I look at them through the entrepreneur lens, I see that they are more than just marketing exercises. They are forcing functions* that can drive overall company growth.
As an entrepreneur, you should recognize and embrace the power of these forcing functions. Don’t just let them happen or go to waste. Seek them out. Use them to manage the growth of your business and propel it forward.
Think about how people in your company act day in and day out. There is a routine. Everyone thinks they work hard. They are smart, and they put in long workdays. Then reflect on how everyone responds when there is a hard stop when the company needs to present and demo its latest, greatest product at a major trade show or deliver it to that first customer.