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The Stages of Entrepreneurship

The Stages of Entrepreneurship

In business, the entrepreneurial spirit is something held in the highest regards. Entrepreneurs are a rare breed of people, willing to be everything on an idea they have. Undeterred by nay-sayers, trying to convince the entrepreneur that their ideas will never actually work or will ever turn a profit. Entrepreneurs don’t care about any of that, and they will create their own path. Here are some of the critical moments in every entrepreneur’s cycle.


It all starts with that lightbulb moment. This is when the entrepreneur figures out to do something much better than anyone else and feels that this new idea is precisely what people have been waiting for. These types of lightbulb moments are common for most people, but for entrepreneurs, these moments make life itself fall into place. They almost obsessively pursue these moments. It’s not uncommon that entrepreneurs are daydreamers, continuously thinking about what they can improve.

Doubling Down

An idea is pretty harmless, sitting in one’s head. It’s not until the entrepreneur starts spending their own money before it becomes something real. At least it’s tangible in the sense that money was spent on it. For the entrepreneur, this is a clear sign of commitment. On the other side of spending your money, there is also: running out of it. Most beginning entrepreneurs won’t have coffers of gold to spend randomly, and at one point, the entrepreneur will have to make a choice to continue or to cut losses and start over. Every start-up will end up on this point sooner or later, where decisions have to be made to fold or to continue believing in the dream.

It’s Alive!

Another milestone, which relates to the previous one of running out of cash, is getting your first customer that puts your cash flow from negative to positive. This is a clear sign that the business has viability and that all those hours working and agonizing was justified. For most entrepreneurs, this marks the end of a challenging (but exciting) chapter and it’s time to move on up the scale-up.

License to Spend

This might be the time that external money needs to be attracted, either via lending from banks or private equity. In extreme cases, you’ll have entrepreneurs putting their own assets down as collateral on loans. Securing funding is usually a pivotal milestone (and reason for a celebration) for any entrepreneur, getting external validation of their business idea.

Building the Empire

Cash in hand entrepreneurs will usually move out of their basement or garage and find a commercial property for sale or lease. This is when freelancers or even permanent staff is hired to take care of taking the business to grow. At this point, entrepreneurs are being forced to change the mindset from a start-up to the thinking of a scale-up. This is not easy for most entrepreneurs because it’s the start-up phase they mostly excel at.

Job Done, Next!

That brings it to the last stage for an entrepreneur. People are entrepreneurs because they like seeing a gap in the market and diving into it. A scale-up is none of that. Most entrepreneurs will take their equity and a seat on the board of directors or supervisory board and go on an extended holiday for a well-deserved rest. That is until they have the next lightbulb moment.

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