What Adventure Will You Choose?

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Remember the choose-your-own-adventure books? At one point, they were wildly popular with young adults. You’d read for a few pages and reach a decision point. Decision A sent you to page 22. Decision B sent you to page 29. Often mysteries or suspense stories, the idea was that the reader controlled the outcome. The right choices led to a “happy” ending. The wrong choices sent the reader to a spectacular death.

Steve and I drew our inspiration from these books when we wrote The Startup Equation. Because, really, how many adventures are bigger than starting your own business? And along the way, you’ll be presented with choices, sometimes more than two, and you’ll need to pick the one you think is best. Talk about nerve wracking.

One More Step

In a way, who in their right mind would ever start a business? But that’s the point, and why Steve and I are on a mission to help one million entrepreneurs by 2017. Of course, we started our adventure years ago with the original concept for The Startup Equation. The official publication of the book in February was just one more step in our journey.

Every day, we continue to make choices about the next step and how to continue our adventure. The same holds true for you and the other hundreds of millions (soon to be one billion) of entrepreneurs around the world.

We’re all on an adventure, and there’s been no better time in history to become an entrepreneur. With access to amazing tools and a truly global workforce, we find ourselves with so many possibilities that the options may feel overwhelming at times.

But they don’t have be. That’s why we think it’s so critical to build a framework for this journey. You may be starting from scratch or looking to spin a project off from an existing company. The basic needs remain the same.

We started our new year with a quick trip to Paris - something that wouldn't be possible if we'd chosen a different path.

An Equation That Fits You

We need to start by separating the good from the bad so we can build a foundation. That’s where the the Startup Equation comes into play. It’s designed to help you build your foundation, craft an experience, and grow the dream. Don’t expect a silver bullet though for every issue you’ll face, because remember, you’re choosing where your adventure goes next.

However, as we interviewed entrepreneurs and studied what worked, it’s clear entrepreneurs need a better way to learn best practices and how to apply the knowledge they gain from failing. After all, best practices are so valuable, but only if you know how to incorporate them into your organization. The Startup Equation reflects the need for a larger framework that entrepreneurs can leverage.

It’s the Journey, Not the Destination

It’s so important that we have goals as entrepreneurs. Without goals, how do we get out of bed in the morning? That’s a tiny exaggeration, but you get the idea. We need something motivating us, but I caution entrepreneurs to not get too caught up in any one goal.

Even if you accomplish a big goal, like taking your company to a successful IPO, what then? Do you suddenly stop thinking or acting like an entrepreneur? Or what if the opposite happens and your business is a dismal failure?

The reality is that even if you pick the “right” path, you’ll still face ups that inspire you and downs that will weigh on you. You need to learn to enjoy the pit stops along the way, the small successes that ultimately add up to the bigger goal.

What Comes Next

It’s up to you. Your startup adventure may just be beginning or you may be smack dab in the middle and wondering if you’ve lost your mind. Wherever you’re out in the journey, know that you’re not alone. You can design a Startup Equation to help you work out the kinks and make even better decisions going forward. Success is what you create. So don’t ever forget to enjoy this particular journey.

This post originally appeared at LinkedIn on May 3, 2016. You can learn more about how to choose your own entrepreneurial adventure with The Startup Equation by Ja-Nae Duane & Steve Fisher.

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