Experiencing the entrepreneurial rollercoaster

April 10, 2014

Experiencing the entrepreneurial rollercoaster

Power of Connection Chat: Strategic Focus for Start-Ups

Becoming an entrepreneur is a roller coaster. It is connected to your personal journey, the start-up of your own business/organization, finding your role in society and connected to.. Well, just about anything!

Rollercoaster_going-up-(Magic-Mtn-Superman-in-California)WMy first time hosting a twitter chat, and a big one at that, was exactly like that roller coaster. I thank Bobby Umar on my knees for guiding me through those first few minutes. The fifteen minutes before the twitter chat I was climbing in the chart, bracing myself, belting in, and eagerly looking ahead of me. Then the cart went down fast as the chat started and it went fast.

The Power of Connection chat (#PoCChat) that Bobby hosts every week on Monday at 11am EST covers topics related to leadership, relationships and development. Past Monday I was co-hosting the topic “Strategic Focus for Start-Ups“. The business community shared great insights and I’d love to share those in turn with you.

Rollercoaster_going-down-(Kraken-in-Orlando)WThe rollercoaster ride for the chat is very similar to the rollercoaster ride we experience as a newbie in the small business world. We’re going up as we’re planning how we want to do business, we’re reaching out to our network, we’re building the website. In other words, we’re breaking our vision down into goals and milestones and more: monthly, weekly & daily tasks.

After the business launch, the cart goes down fast. We make sales while we learn and all of a sudden, we also face major obstacles. As @AskWhatNext said, bumpy cash flow and the lack of staffing is a major piece. (You suddenly feel very alone going down!) Feeling alone, frustrated and with little support; @BroadcastSunny sums it up.

This ties into not knowing your brand and values precisely (@raehanbobby) because at this stage you are putting the market research into practice. And don’t we all know that theory and practice isn’t the same? Lack of marketing and sales experience becomes an obstacle start-ups need to counteract with enthusiasm and trying out different channels.

Rollercoaster_nuts-&-bolts-(Frenos-Montana-in-Spain)WIt’s at this time that start-ups should look at their nuts & bolts of their operation plan and systems. As @anniesgoathill shares, make sure not to “miss the starting gate, or make costly mistakes”. Focusing on your sales and pricing strategy helps bringing in the deals, useful connections are made when you make sure your end goal is clearly communicated. @helpgizmo brings this together, “focus is like your roadmap, your north star.”

This combination of checking in with yourself and your business helps to replace bolts that are defect and to tighten screws to perform smoother. To make this happen, focus on a single task at hand. Make that task your primary goal for the morning and you’ll feel good all day! If you don’t know how to do something, get help.

Another great way to stay focused is mentioned by @SJAbbott, “recognize that there will be distractions. Speed of assessing distractions is focus.” A mentor is someone that can help you do this because he or she is on the sideline, has experience, and asks you the questions to make you think about these distractions.

From here on, you will find yourself in the slower part of the rollercoaster ride. You may still get surprises, but they are less shocking. This is the time to start recruiting others as the start-up is becoming the trendsetter (@EngageGXD) and is increasingly getting better at knowing how to pivot (@anniesgoathill).

Rollercoaster_overview-(Dragon-Khan-in-Spain)WMore than that, you are starting to see new opportunities and know how to take advantage of them. All this is part of becoming a motivated and determined leader (@LovelyLu) in your community.

Having a mentor throughout the rollercoaster ride helps you reflecting on your path and “plan adjustments for the next stage” (@Mushcado, @helpgizmo). The mentoring experience also gives start-ups the chance to remind you “how much you’ve grown” (@BroadcastSunny). The end-result is continuous improvement and learning.

Examples of mentor roles are:

  • Sounding board (@LovelyLu)
  • Outside perspective (@TrueFilmPro)
  • Accountability (@BroadcastSunny)
  • Asking the right questions (@cr8inno8)
  • Seeing things you can’t (@EngageGXD)

Thank you Bobby for this amazing opportunity to tap into the wonderful business community you have built! I love rollercoaster rides and your #PoCChat was a great one! More information about Bobby Umar is found on his website and the whole Twitter chat onĀ Storify.


Lisette Andreyko

Lisette is the founder of Kaleidoscope and is passionate about start-up leadership, personal growth and women in business (and psst.. about tea!). She enjoys connecting with small businesses through her network. You can find her on LinkedIn.