The Early Stages of Reflective Entrepreneurship

Planning tools you may use when you are thinking about starting a business.

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Which of these stages describes your current situation?

The Planning and Exploratory Phase

Are you actively looking for and researching business ideas? Or perhaps you have been studying in school, learning independently, or have gained experience working for someone else – and you now feel ready to leverage your unique skills and talents to start your own venture. If this sounds like you, you are in the earliest phases of reflective entrepreneurship where you should spend plenty of time exploring, researching, and reflecting in order to create a business plan.

This can be a very exciting period in which you get to use your creativity and your imagination – and the sky is the limit. But you should also be warned: This phase can also be where you are most likely to get stuck or lost, and then ultimately give up. If you make a misstep here, you run the risk of traveling very far along an incorrect path (requiring lots of backtracking and a lot of wasted time and other resources), or you may get overwhelmed by the sheer number of paths you could take, causing you to never make progress beyond this stage.

There are many reasons why people get stuck at this stage. Chief among them is the fact that all of us are multi-dimensional people, and (even if you don’t currently believe this about yourself) you probably have a plethora of different talents with which you could use to develop a business plan. Do you love food? Love to cook? Love gardening? Weeding? Writing? Woodworking? Blacksmithing? Playing an instrument? Playing video games? If you take a moment to catalog them all, your list of passions and talents is probably significantly longer than you realize. Given your unique set of talents and skills, one of the biggest challenges you can face at this stage is how to pick just one idea or direction on which to focus your efforts. If you find yourself here, and you need a little nudge, we’ve written this article on the topic of leveraging your beliefs and passions to create business ideas and opportunities.

But let’s say for now you have managed to pick your path (perhaps after reading the article we just suggested). You now have a plan or at least an idea for your venture, and you are ready to move forward. You are heading to the next phase:

Cultivating Your Idea and Prepping for Launch

Let’s imagine that in a flash of inspiration (or after using our resources you have achieved reflective equilibrium on the matter), you have found your million-dollar idea, and you are eager to get started – Congratulations! But now what? How do you get started?

Starting a business is a complex and time-consuming process. Fortunately, there are many (often free) resources available to help you when you are in this phase. But the bad news is, you will need to go searching for them and you will likely find them scattered across the internet or in governmental or legal databases (in no particular order). In addition, depending on the nature of your business idea, the steps and requirements involved can differ drastically from one business type to the next. So unfortunately you will never find (because there simply cannot exist) a one-size-fits-all set of recommendations for people working through this stage.

Reflective Equilibrium Marketing is not a legal agency, and we do not pretend to have all of the answers related to the complexities and nuances of starting any and all kinds of businesses. But there are a lot of common steps that businesses in this relatively early stage need to go through, and we are here to help! Among our other resources for this step (unfortunately at this time many are still unpublished – but stay tuned!), we are actively cultivating a community of Philoso-prenuers (including ourselves) who have either been through, or are actively working on many of the same issues and challenges that you may be experiencing.

Through a shared community of thoughtful philoso-prenuers, we believe that we will help change the landscape of corporate culture for the better, and we have the potential to improve the lives of everyone who comes in contact with your businesses (including consumers, employees, and even the ecological footprint of the business).

Through the fruits of your own efforts and hard work (and possibly with the help of our community behind you), here is what comes next if you have successfully made it through this challenging phase:

The Challenges of, and Resources for New and Small Businesses

New and small businesses face a lot of challenges such as finding customers, finding employees, and paying the bills. But if you have made it this far, there can also be a lot of reasons to celebrate! You are hopefully starting to see positive results from all of your blood, sweat, and tears. If you have done things right so far, you might even be able to start envisioning how your business endeavors could potentially create a lasting and positive legacy for your family, your city, and perhaps even for the world.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s focus a bit on some of the challenges you may face early on – and how you can overcome them. For example: How do you get that first perfect customer to walk through your business doors? And how can you make sure that you continue to get your offerings in front of the right potential customers? This aspect of your business is where you may need some additional help since – even if you are a terrifically savvy businessperson – you may not be good at the skills you will need to solve these particular problems: marketing, sales, and customer cultivation and maintenance.

If you recognize that you or your business could use some improvement in these areas, you could always outsource by hiring a marketing firm or hire a marketing specialist to handle this end of the business for you. But most new or small businesses find it challenging to fit this type of expense into their budget. And thus a vicious cycle is often created: Without proper marketing, the business doesn’t find enough customers. And without enough customers, the business cannot afford proper marketing efforts.

To help avoid this cycle, we at Reflective Equilibrium Marketing offer an alternative: We offer training and consulting to help YOU manage your own marketing in an effective and economical way. The marketing tools and resources that we can suggest and teach to you will help you and your business start playing in the big leagues. And if you follow our suggestions, someday you may have so many perfect customers that you’ll have no problem fitting that 5th Avenue marketing firm within your company’s budget.

Resources for all Early Business Phases

Regardless of which of the above phases you are in, Reflective Equilibrium Marketing is here to help. We are actively developing articles and resources for each of the above phases, and as they become available, they will be linked to this article. However, if you are eager to start and the resources you need for the phase you are in NOW are not yet available, please reach out to us directly.

We will be happy to share our resources and experiences with you – so long as you don’t mind if our content is in “unpublished” and/or “unpolished” form. We also recommend signing up for our email newsletter so you can stay in the loop when our new resources become available.

Comment below or contact us directly with your thoughts and questions, and as always – Happy Reflecting!


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