In a new normal life after COVID 19 more people are looking for ways to chart a new career path. Folks want to actually do what they love and have a purpose. They want a career that gives them more freedom, more life and ultimately helps others. In order to really prepare to own your own business, and further prepare, you must identify where you are on the Entrepreneurial Ladder.
Many believe they are at a higher level on the Entrepreneurial Ladder that they really are, so let’s take a moment to review. Keep in mind you ascend the ladder, use the experience of the rung below to propel you upward.
We all start as a student at level -1 (negative one). We are learning in school and with early experience we are preparing to become an employee. We are in essence, learning what we need to know to get the job. We are “apprentice employees” at the student level soaking up information to make us a valuable corporate asset.
As Employees at Level 0, we can use the career experience to move up the ladder to ultimately own a business and be self-employed. Sometimes in the employee level we, find we excel in a particular part of business and we decide to venture out on our own.
At this Self-Employed Level 1, we buy ourselves a job. The issue is that most business owners have a very narrow employee business experience. They have only worked in one industry and have learned one or two business principals. The more varied employee experiences we have, the more we carry up with us. But once you have moved to Level 1 (self-employed), you have to be knowledgeable in areas you may have not experience in.
When you get to Level 1 as a business owner, you have to know a little about a lot of things. You have to know sales, marketing, finance, accounting and human resources because you are the main driver of the business. You have to wear many hats and ride the “Make a Sale. Do the Work” seesaw as a sole proprietor for the most part. Your challenge at this level is keeping your current customers and maximizing their potential. It’s not about living the dream yet… You are likely toiling long hours and having little time to reap the real benefits that business ownership should afford you.
As you move up the ladder, you grow your business and become a Manager and live on Level 2 for a while. As you add employees and staff you add new responsibilities and are starting to build a team which at some point will be able to run the business for you. Now you are on the business Merry-Go-Round putting out fires that your employees create. Now you have to tap into skills in human resources’ management and really exercise your leadership skills to galvanize and muster the team around a central vision and mission. Keep in mind that managers need to make more human capital decisions during an economic crisis.
Successful business owners run “a commercial, profitable enterprise that works without you” as defined by Brad Sugars, founder and CEO of ActionCOACH. You have now reached the Owner Level 3. As an owner you don’t make all the decisions and you don’t focus your time on day-to-day operations. You have to work through a team to ensure direction is followed, and goals are reached. At this level you have created a business that operates smoothly when you aren’t there. If you have to be on site everyday handling day-to-day operations, you have a ‘job’ not a business. Owners have experts in place to run the business and as such, owners are faced with dramatically different decisions at a time of economic uncertainty. Owners responsibilities have to ramp up to ensure their directions are followed. Owners need to lead.
Moving from Owner to the Investor Level 4 means you have grown your wealth to a point where you are using your own funds to buy business opportunities. When you graduate to true Entrepreneur Level 5, you are then buying business opportunities with other people’s money. At these top levels of the ladder you are going to have to make different decisions in a crisis. Over the course of this e-book, you will be building your knowledge to assist you to not only be successful at the level at which you currently are but to help you move up the ladder as your business journey evolves.
So, if you think you ready to take on the challenges and reap the rewards of business ownership what do you need to do to be at the right rung to grab the opportunity. Now is a great time to consider making a change in your career. Should you stay in a career you don’t love or is it time to lay the foundation of your new business ownership future.