Gurbaksh Chahal | The Six Stages of Entrepreneurial Growth

Entrepreneurial Journey

The journey to become a successful entrepreneur is sometimes like jumping out of space free-falling and hoping your parachute opens.

You can be sure of reaching new highs and plummeting to new lows—and then back to the top again.

It’s a journey that’s crammed with excitement; a ride in which you overcome fear; a ride that you often share with those closest to you. It’s thrilling and scary at times. It gets your adrenalin pumping. It’s exhilarating. You wonder if you’re going to crash—or soar off the rails.

They key difference, of course, for those who dare to embark on the entrepreneurial journey, is that you can’t afford to be a passive rider letting some unseen operator manipulate the controls. You have to take charge of your own destiny to make sure of a successful landing. Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart.

As you progress along the way you’ll undoubtedly encounter the following experiences—phases, if you like.

You Have Doubts

There’s an image of a successful entrepreneur forging ahead, blazing a trail with grim determination. Nothing is going to get in his way as he outperforms the competition and becomes the brand leader. But, guess what? Even the most determined of entrepreneurs goes through phases of self-doubt and reflection. We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t have those moments. But we think it through. We review. We analyze. And then move forward until we achieve ultimate victory.

You Get Rejected

There will be many times when skeptics pour cold water all over your beautiful vision. We all want to be accepted. We all want everyone to love our ideas and support them. But sometimes people aren’t as far-sighted as you are. You may well find that companies or investors you thought would be perfect partners flat out reject you. They belittle your business plan. They trample all over your dream. Believe me, it comes with the territory. Don’t let them drown you. You can swim against the tide. You have to have belief in yourself. Embrace rejection and then move on to more welcoming arms.

You Learn to be Flexible

I look at the Golden Gate Bridge most days of my life. What a marvelous feat of engineering. What a magnificent construction project that has graced the San Francisco Bay for 77 years. It took four years to build, coming in ahead of schedule and under budget (how often does that happen these days?). But it was built following a detailed blueprint. The entrepreneur can’t make that kind of plan.

When you launch a new business the goal posts are constantly moving and you have to be adept at quickly changing course if you want a winning touchdown. Strategic planning and research are hallmarks of the later stages of development. Flexibility, adaptability, versatility. These are the traits of a successful entrepreneur. You know how to deal with curveballs.

You Handle Responsibility

Building a major company means being able to handle the stresses and pressures of everyday decision-making that can impact thousands of lives. It’s a massive responsibility but you have to be prepared to step up to the plate and accept it. In fact, the most successful entrepreneurs thrive on such responsibility. They have broad shoulders and understand that it is part of what being a leader is all about.

You Find Out Who You Are

When you’re running a fast growth business you learn a lot about yourself—and a lot about your team. It tests your character. It tests everyone’s character. It reveals strengths and weaknesses. It provides opportunity to look deep into your soul and honestly judge who you are as a person and how you can contribute more to those who share this planet with you. Look back on how you dealt with difficult situations and learn from it. It will make you a better person.

You’ll Be Successful

Dream big. Work hard. Hustle. Every entrepreneur has to have the conviction and confidence that all of the hours of time and personal and family sacrifices will pay off in the end. Your journey in itself will be a measure of success. You will have taken your life in a direction that many are afraid to go. It will test you. It will challenge you. But ultimately you will be rewarded in many different ways. Success will be yours. Know it and go for it.

Is it worth it? That’s the kind of question only a non-entrepreneur would ask. Of course it’s worth it. Entrepreneurs contribute so much to society and the world at large. Entrepreneurs keep the wheels of the world revolving.