5 Steps: Birthing Entrepreneurial Thoughts

Birthing Entrepreneurial Thoughts: 5 Common Steps for Entrepreneurs

By Alicia Renee

Bob Proctor once said “Do not mistake mental activity for thinking”. As we continue our startup journey, let us make sure we are birthing thoughts on purpose that grow into a business.

Women are natural incubators and have the amazing potential to grow what is inside of them. This includes a business. However, if successful entrepreneurs think in a particular way when it comes to entrepreneurship, you will want to think in the same way.

There are two basic frames of thought when it comes to business. Once identifies a goal, and then seeks to obtain the resources to obtain that goal. The other frame of thought identifies the resources already present, and then seeks to identify what goals can be accomplished given the current resources. The latter is the entrepreneurial mindset.

For years, researchers have investigated why businesses fail. Have you ever wondered why, after so many years of research, businesses still fail at alarming rates? Only about two-thirds of startups make it their first 2 years. That number decreases to only a 50% survival rate by year 5! Well, when you research failure…you get to know a lot about…that’s right…FAILURE! Wouldn’t it make sense, if you wanted to know more about business survival that you research the successes?

Well, in 2001, Dr. Saras Sarasvathy conducted research on about 500 successful entrepreneurs considered to be “outliers”.  Outliers are those having achieved a level of success outside the average or normal realm. What she found was phenomenal. Successful entrepreneurs all think in a particular purposeful way.  There were 5 steps common to the successful entrepreneurs, now referred to as effectual logic.

Instead of writing business plans and seeking loans and spending years of planning, the successful entrepreneurs opened their thinking to identify what resources were already in their control. Next, the successful entrepreneurs thought about all the possible outcomes (services or products) which could result from those available resources. This is where innovation occurs! Here are the steps. In future articles we will go more in depth on each step:

  1. Bird in the hand – A look at resources within your control
  2. Affordable loss – Placing boundaries to take calculated risks
  3. The crazy quilt – Who needs to be at the table
  4. Lemonade principle – Being flexible with your outcomes
  5. Pilot the plane – Managing and growing by creating.

To some of you, this is a natural process. To others, you fight to think in this way and believe to start a business you must spend months developing a business plan, years saving money, hire folks for market studies and more. Now, don’t get me wrong, all of those have their place. I am just a firm believer that if you do what successful people do, you will get their results.

So let’s get started by taking one step.

Just for today… make a list of all the resources available to you. This will include your current gift, skills, and talents. However, it will also include property you are able to use (even if you don’t own), finances available, the time you have available, people you know who have access to things or resources, things in the garage or the basement, access to the library or your local maker space, access to students or equipment at a college, and more. Are you following the process?

As you are making this list, keep in mind to take the limits off your thinking! You may have to walk away from the list and then return when you realize what else you have access to. Think outside the box!

Until next time, share your thoughts and stories. Write us at connect@xxtra.org.

Alicia Renee is a Special Contributor to XXTRA Special and Free.  She coaches entrepreneurs, has a Master’s in Organizational Administration, a Ph.D. in Neuropsychology, and is completing a second Ph.D. in Business Administration.