Managing the entrepreneurial journey

July 03, 2019 15:26
Navigating the entrepreneur journey is not easy, but having the right guidance, tools and connections can help. Photo; Bloomberg

Hong Kong is renowned for its strong historical tradition of entrepreneurship in textiles, manufacturing and export industries which has helped to shape the local services-based economy. With the rise of technology as well as local government support for innovation-centric entrepreneurship, the city's unique entrepreneurial market landscape has never been livelier.

As one of the top locations to launch a new business, there’s still work to be done to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem. This includes being well-connected with other startups. More than one third of local entrepreneur respondents indicated in a survey that the city lacked active collaboration with other entrepreneurs. Here is a guide for people who are just starting their entrepreneurial journey:

Envisioning the entrepreneur journey

While it’s not always easy to navigate the entrepreneur journey on your own, having the right guidance, tools and connections can help you go a long way.

You must first assess and orient yourself as to where you are as an entrepreneur, benchmark yourself against competitors and have a clear idea of your next steps.

Dream it: Have an idea for a commercial, civic or creative project. Talk about the idea with friends and family and trusted colleagues, do some research on the viability of your idea and explore the dream, whether it be as a side-hustle or a primary gig. Entrepreneurs at this stage are usually employed in a position that is totally unrelated to their dream. The transition from “dream” to beginning to build their venture may include managing the fear of making the jump from a steady job to going all-in on their dream.

Create it: In today’s digital environment, create it means creating a digital presence for your idea or venture. After choosing product and service offerings, presence and brand, entrepreneurs will want to choose a domain name for their digital identity. With the right website building tools, an entrepreneur can easily create a professional website, map out the business offerings and get started on sharing the venture with others. In this stage, the entrepreneur begins to build and integrate facets of the online presence, including websites, social media accounts, professional email and other points of presence, to engage with potential customers. Try one or more aspects of marketing, sales and delivery of the product, service or project. The time spent now might be full time, part time or “after hours” from other family or work commitments.

Grow it: In this stage, entrepreneurs move beyond dabbling in a hobby and begin creating something that can flourish over time. Marketing and promoting your venture and increased investment in technology can help to drive increased visibility, stability and growth. Further down the line, as their venture grows, entrepreneurs can consider to scale processes and increase the sophistication of technology, invest in staff, skills and partnerships to grow the scope and scale of their venture. If the goal at this stage is to work to scale revenue, the entrepreneur can consider exploring and potentially investing additional in product enhancements and geographic expansion.

Manage it: The venture runs consistently and predictably in the manner desired by its founder or founders. It is here where entrepreneurs can move away from manual, ad-hoc processes to improve the efficiency of doing business on a day-to-day basis and drive product innovation. They strive to increase productivity with more automation and better tools. An entity can stay in the "Manage it" stage for an extended period of time. Leaving this stage occurs when a decision is made to scale the venture into a larger entity and when business conditions change.

Keys to success

Whether the entrepreneur is just starting to forge the path to his dream, or if he has been diligently walking down the path for a number of years, connecting with the local community and the global community of everyday entrepreneurs can be continually helpful. It is important to share stories, learn from other’s experience, and bond with fellow entrepreneurs for mutual support.

In conclusion, successful entrepreneurship is a marathon. One needs to share energy, encouragement and experience; that will empower others to do the same as they move through the stages. It is crucial to give back by sharing your learning with one another. One needs to continually address, listen to, and respect the physical and mental health to successfully navigate the entrepreneur journey.

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