Understanding the Entrepreneurial Ladder

Entrepreneur Ladder Graphic

Several people have the desire to become an entrepreneur because they view it as a pathway to wealth building. In my locality, Nigeria, we recognise that entrepreneurs are people such as Aliko Dangote of Dangote Group, Oba Otudeko of Honeywell Group, and Abdulsamad Rabiu of BUA Group. All these well-known entrepreneurs started out as small trading businesses and grew into conglomerates operating across various sectors, and are listed on the Stock Exchange.   In addition, they are now employing thousands of people in various areas of the now bigger businesses with valuations that are multiples of what they started with… all within an average of one decade. Do you see your business growing in a manner where it becomes a wealth-generating vehicle for you? And are you determined to purposefully climb, in ActionCOACH term, the Entrepreneurial Ladder? For therein lies the logical steps to becoming a true entrepreneur like the examples mentioned above. 

Let’s review the Entrepreneurial Ladder: 

Step 1 Most people start their entrepreneurial journey as an Employee. You are probably thinking: “What does this level have to do with wealth creation?” This is a critical step to the speed and efficiency of climbing up the ladder. At this level, an individual must commit to learning about how to be exceptional at their job and how the business is being run. An employee who has learned a great deal usually gains the confidence and innovation required to move up the ladder to the next step. 
Step 2 People at this level tend to view themselves as an entrepreneur, however, they are not quite there yet – we refer to them as Self-Employed. They are running a one-man squad, doing everything in the business such as marketing, sales, operations, etc. There are two exit points for them at this stage: 1) If they fail, they will most likely fall back to being an employee again, 2) If they prosper, the business will grow which enables them to employ staff to lift some of the responsibility off their shoulders – giving the self-employed individual the opportunity to grow their business. 
Step 3 The next step on the entrepreneurial ladder is a Manager. At this level, a new dynamic is introduced into the business – managing a team! The manager’s main responsibility will be extinguishing the “fires” made by staff, and introducing the necessary systems and processes to provide control. To manage a team effectively the individual will need to develop strong leadership skills and be the person their staff looks up to and knows they can turn to in a crisis. Being the leader of a strong team will bump you up to the next step. 
Step 4 The Business Owner. At this stage, the business can run successfully without the owner as there is an inspired team and systems that assure control and consistency in the product/service delivery. The business will be growing rapidly with healthy cashflows. At this stage, a decision to hire a General Manager for the business will be appropriate – which allows the Business Owner to focus on their business and progress to the next level.  Step 5 This is where you become an Investor inyour business. The Investor is not involved in the day-to-day operations of the business, but rather thinks strategically and can identify additional opportunities for the business. They may decide to invest excess cashflows in scaling the business, for example: Establishing multiple locations in the market or investing in ancillary or other promising businesses. At this level, there is an availability of cash flow to invest to grow wealth further! 
Step 6 Once the Investor’s wealth grows further, the individual climbs to the top of the ladder as an Entrepreneur – where there is recognition of success in various business ventures and there is a possibility of getting listed on the Stock Exchange thereby releasing further wealth to the owner. A great reputation is built which further propels the individual into wealth-creating opportunities.    T

o find out more about ActionCOACH’s Entrepreneurial Ladder, watch the short Doodle video here: https://bit.ly/3glUPaG 

Folasade Odunaiya, ActionCOACH Business Coach
folasadeodunaiya.actioncoach.com | folasadeodunaiya@actioncoach.com  

Photo by Erwan Hesry on Unsplash