When you start a new business or take action on a big idea that you've had brewing for a while, it can be a very exciting time. You begin to get a taste of what entrepreneurship can feel like; you’re in control of your own schedule, maybe you worked for someone else and you've escaped the rigid 9-5 routine and you've become your own boss – life feels good.
I remember when I started my first business. Initially, my goal was to earn an extra $500 per month so I could afford my own apartment and eliminate the need for a roommate. Over time, my vision for that part-time local business began to grow and ultimately it became an international business that had revenues of just under 2 million.
Along my entrepreneurial journey and working with 1000's of women, I've discovered that there are 4 phases to entrepreneurship and each phase plays a key role in your success. Each phase requires a different skill or way of thinking and one is not more important than the other. You may find that you are a “natural” in one or more of the phases and possibly “challenged” in other phases. If so, you will want to think about getting support in the areas where you're less comfortable.
1. The Big Ideas Phase – The beginning. You dream about the future, about your preferred life and how your Big Idea can help you live that preferred life. You have visions of working in your dream business doing something you enjoy. During this phase, your vision of the business is “general” or in the broad sense. Example: Maybe you're dreaming of becoming a yoga instructor. You have a vision of owning a yoga studio where you have the opportunity to teach yoga to people who want to be strong and healthy. (You get to do something you love, get paid for doing it and keep a strong healthy body too!) You daydream about the idea, however, you haven't actually created a plan to make it happen yet. Maybe it's still a “secret” to everyone except a close friend or family member.
2. The Illumination Phase – I refer to this as “shining a light” on the Big Idea. This is the phase where you become more “specific” about the dream. The idea actually begins to take shape. Using the yoga studio/instructor example, you may be asking yourself questions like: What age group will attend my classes? Where will I teach? Do I want my own studio? What time of day and how often? The Illumination Phase is a time to begin writing these questions (and the answers) down in a journal that is kept solely for the business. The Big Idea is beginning to take shape now. This is the beginning of your business plan.
3. Process and Plan Phase – This is the “doing” phase. You bring your Big Idea to reality. Maybe you need to become certified as a Yoga instructor. You begin to explore the certification process. If you desire your own studio, you'll want to look for space that will be an ideal location. You are now beginning the process of setting the business up, claiming a name, and marketing yourself to attract clients.
4. The Leader Phase – The Leader Phase in any business is when you become known as an expert in your industry. You begin speaking and educating people about your mission and your vision. In the yoga instructor example, you would educate your community about your vision for yoga and how your dream is to help people feel better, healthier and stronger. You become a storyteller and educator in the yoga community. Your vision starts to expand and you imagine your studio in different cities or parts of the world. You become known as an expert in your field and gain recognition. You become an inspiration to others.
Women are the most creative beings on earth. You have Big Ideas that have the ability to be award winning businesses. It’s essential that each phase be nurtured along the way to ensure your success.
You may want to go from the Big Idea Phase directly to the Leader Phase without actually putting a plan or system in place to handle your clients once they become attracted to your business. On the other hand, you may be spending so much time on the Illumination Phase that you can't seem to “pull the trigger” and get out there in a big way to promote yourself and your Big Idea.
All four phases are necessary if you want to create ultimate success.
When I began my journey as a woman entrepreneur years ago, I realized I needed support in several of the phases. I needed the support of coaches and mentors in the Illumination Phase to help me take my Big Idea from “general” to more “specific.” I wouldn't be where I am today without the support of my team which is paramount to the Process and Plan Phase.
I invite you to take some time and think about which entrepreneurial phase you're in right now. Discover where you are a “natural” and consider getting some support in the areas where you need help so you can enjoy the ultimate success you want and deserve.
Anything is possible. Everything is waiting for you.
© 2011 Joy Chudacoff
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