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Entrepreneurs Journey - Startup Weekend Mures


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Entrepreneurs Journey - Startup Weekend Mures

  1. 1. The Entrepreneur’s Journey
  2. 2. The Entrepreneur’s JourneyStartup Weekend works with grassroots communities in over 324 cities around the world - andcounting. Due to the broad reach of these events, it is inevitable that Startup Weekend has be-come one of the more established thought leaders in the global startup community. With thisvaluable perspective, we recognize a responsibility to convey meaningful and useful informationfor the benefit of others. Unsatisfied with any existing models that attempted to describe the life-cycle of entrepreneurs and the corresponding layers of infrastructure, we set out to create our own.The journey of the entrepreneur can be understood in a series of stages. These steps mark im-portant phases of the startup trajectory. ‘‘The Entrepreneur’s Journey’ scale is powerful because,rather than capturing the journey from the perspective of the government, a VC, or incubator, wegave the lens back to the entrepreneur. As we began to utilize the Entrepreneur’s Journey scalemore and more as a tool, we realized the depth of its value and recognized that this tool should beshared with the public as a means for understanding the world of startups more accurately.What You Should Know FirstEach step of the entrepreneurial journey is intended to represent what most entrepreneurs identifyin their personal biographies. These steps are not exclusive or required, but they do provide com-mon, distinct stages that are likely to occur for most entrepreneurs.People can move up or down the scale, and the journey isn’t a linear path to success, nor is itbased on presumptions about how the journey will unfold. A person can spend a day, year, or theirentire life at one step. The research behind understanding how much time spent on each step isunderway.A person cannot exist in two steps at once. With clearly defined “leaps” from each step to thenext, we can identify where in the model any one person is at a given point in time.Programs can exist on various steps. Most programs are built for a core audience, but as with anyquality event, program, or resource, it will attract people from throughout the entire ecosystem.As a community or ecosystem, the penultimate goal is to help create more high growth compa-nies. As we know, it is these new firms that push forward innovation in mass markets, create jobs,grow global economies, and ultimately lead to the advancement of human welfare more than anyother force on earth. 2
  3. 3. The Scale - A BreakdownStage 1: Inspire - I want to be an entrepreneurAt this stage, the individual is undergoing an important realization that creating a company, work-ing for themselves, or being an entrepreneur is something they are interested in doing. The pro-grams that exist in the ‘Inspire’ step are centered on encouraging people to think creatively, becritical and insightful about the world around them, and provide a foundation of basic skills.Ideally, more and more people will experience this first stage. Presently, we live in a world where‘fear’ is often a driving mentality that limits our potential. Subsequently, individuals are often pre-vented from recognizing entrepreneurship as a valid option altogether. Many of us operate underconstraints that we allow other people and systems to place on us; if we haven’t been explicitlytold that we can do something, it tends to become an option that we don’t visualize. Because ofthis, the option of working for oneself is a concept that is commonly overlooked as a life path.Within this step, available resources and programs include: University courses, TED,Ignite, etc 3
  4. 4. Stage 2: Discover - I want to learnThis step captures the phase in which an individual begins to connect with like-minded entrepre-neurs, mentors, or experts in the field of interest. Identifying with others who also challenge thetraditional notions of success and acknowledge the potential hazards that lie ahead is often all thatis needed for the entrepreneur to tackle the path that they hope to pursue.In nearly every society, individuals are conditioned by educational systems and cultural norms inparticular to aspire to be doctors, lawyers, or work at the pre-existing big firms such as Microsoft,Deloitte, etc. The difference between knowing that entrepreneurship is an option and actuallybreaking free from the cultural barriers that encourage us to follow the paths of more ‘security’ andless ambiguity is a significant one. Often times, the idea of “taking the leap” seems horrifying or isadvised against, and it often appears to be a very lonely path with little direction or support. How-ever, with a little perseverance, most aspiring entrepreneurs quickly find they are far from alone.Stage 3: Action - I am creatingAt this stage, entrepreneurs are learning how to share their ideas and attract support from otherpeople. Individuals should be seeking the right co-founders and team members, learning how toevaluate the potential value of their idea, developing an understanding of the problem they aresolving (and who they are solving it for), and discovering the tools and methodologies needed tohelp manage progress, etc. The key aspects of learning how to start a business are impossible toteach in a classroom. A foundation for creating successful ventures can only be realized one way-- through action.The action step is largely underdeveloped and perhaps one of the least understood, as most pro-grams and models tend to assume any person with an idea can be considered a startup. In reality,there is an entire phase in which an aspiring entrepreneur needs to discover the more obvious andbasic first steps.Within this step, available resources and programs include: Startup Weekend, Lean Startup Ma-chine, Lean Launchpad, Founder’s Institute. 4
  5. 5. Stage 4: Startups - I am looking for a sustainable business modelAt the startup stage, the entrepreneur has set out with the right team, a clear problem they are ad-dressing, and a list of possible solutions. More specifically, startups exist to search for a repeatableand scalable business model. Founder’s typically have a vision of a solution with a set of hypoth-eses about how to achieve that vision. The ‘startup’ phase also requires a more accurate portrayalof the reality of this phase. Many envision a life of luxury, meetings with investors, and endless fun.In reality, the startup phase is likely to be one of the hardest times in an entrepreneur’s journey. Askanyone who’s been through it; the startup phase is one of continual frustration, painstaking hours,endless debates, and a time fraught with failure.Within this step, available resources or programs include: Accelerators, Incubators, specific edu-cational topics about running startups (LEAN, Customer Development, Agile, Scrum, BusinessModel Canvas, etc)Stage 5: Action - I am looking for a sustainable business modelAt this point, a startup has found a scalable and sustainable business model. With plenty ofcustomer validation, established or at least validated revenue streams, startups now face a lot ofgrowth challenges and a demand for additional resources. New issues arise such as rapid hiring/fir-ing, establishment of formal processes & protocols, more direct competition, and frequent founderreplacement. A false paradigm is that most teams at this phase also raise some sort of institutionalinvestment. In fact, one good indicator examines a list of the Inc 500 companies (the fastest grow-ing companies in America), which show that only 17% took any sort of institutional (Angel, VC)investment.The programs that exist at this step tend to support many of the larger challenges mentionedabove. Many VC firms have excellent networks and support programs, management training, moretargeted mentor matching, and overall systems development.Within this step, available resources or programs include: Endeavor, Astia, VC groups 5
  6. 6. Stage 6: High Growth - Fortune 500Typically, most entrepreneurs never started by envisioning a billion dollar company, but along theirjourney, they were able to have the vision to solve their original problem, scale the resulting solu-tion, and have the persistence to build a team and turn it into a stable company with few limits toits growth opportunities.As a society, the single greatest driver to advancement, innovation, and economic growth relies onthese companies to flourish and one day clear a path for the next generation. There are few pro-grams at this level, and we have included it in our model to help remind everyone of the generalend goal for most entrepreneurs and the other programs downstream.Within this step, available resources or programs include: networks or platforms for continuedgrowth such as EO, NASDAQ, NYSE, Inc., etc. 6
  7. 7. The Value Of The ScaleUnderstanding this path from the standpoint of the entrepreneur has proven to be useful in a num-ber of ways. This scale quickly became a tool for mapping local startup ecosystems and existingprograms, determining where Startup Weekend was positioned in the startup process, helping en-trepreneurs envision their current place and future steps, and a way to locate the resources neededto continue climbing the scale.Since it’s inception, the model has been used around the globe to help facilitate conversations be-tween entrepreneurs, various startup program leaders, and economic development offices. Thismodel has helped to develop and solidify our most fundamental hypothesis as an organization:Startup Weekend can increase the volume and quality of entrepreneurs and expedite the rate atwhich they advance from step to step. Inevitably, this leads to the creation of more startups, highgrowth companies, and associated results such as jobs and economic growth and vitality.As we are constantly developing our own concepts about entrepreneurship, it is important thatwe stress the incomplete nature of this model. With the understanding that the world of startupsis changing every day, we know that nothing is finite - and this is part of what makes entrepreneur-ship exciting. A complete, definitive model does not yet exist at this point, and we do not claim tohave built a perfect one, either. We do believe that this model is useful and powerful in portrayingreality - and that although each entrepreneur has a different story, their paths can be paralleled incertain ways.Entrepreneurship demands our attention now more than ever, and we hope that this scale willprove to be a successful tool in navigating the often chaotic world of startups and helping entre-preneurs to be more effective and efficient. We believe that in providing a clear model, entrepre-neurs will be able to visualize their actions, which, in the world of startups, can be the most difficultaspect of developing an idea. 7