How to Turn Your Entrepreneurial Dreams into Reality
Last year, Colorado ranked fifth in startup activity, fourth in Main Street entrepreneurship and eighth in growth entrepreneurship
Do you have an innovative idea for a product or company but don’t have the time or resources to turn your dream into reality? Every successful business begins with an idea, then continues to develop before morphing into a successful venture. Crafting a successful startup requires more than just dreaming though — it demands effort, commitment and a lot of hard work.
Colorado, especially the Denver metro area, is rapidly developing into a prominent player in the national entrepreneurial ecosystem. Not only is Colorado’s healthy work-life balance supplemented by a wealth of access to everything the great outdoors has to offer, the state’s burgeoning high-tech industry attracts some of the best and brightest young professionals.
In fact, as of 2017, the state of Colorado ranked fifth in startup activity, which measures new business creation, fourth in Main Street entrepreneurship, which measures established small business activity and eighth in growth entrepreneurship, which measures entrepreneurial business growth, according to the Kauffman Index of Growth Entrepreneurship.
Starting your own business isn’t a simple task and many young people who dream of becoming an entrepreneur never take the plunge. However, Colorado is different. Ranked as the No. 5 state with the most startup activity, 350 people out of every 100,000 adults are becoming entrepreneurs each month.
Do you ever find yourself stuck between your dream of launching your own venture and accomplishing your daily tasks? Here are four tips to help you turn your idea into reality.
- BUSINESS MODEL
Formulate a business model that takes customers and market validation into account early on. Don't be afraid, it’s not as hard as it sounds. Building a business model simply involves understanding your market, the market landscape and how all the disparate pieces come together — like a puzzle. What's tricky about starting a business is that it is often not a linear process and your business plan requires consistent refinement.
No one succeeds on their own. The people you surround yourself with will make or break your company, so find a team of people that share your vision and will help turn your dream into reality. Consider strengths and weakness, and strategically compile a team that has skill sets that complement one another.
- THE PLAN
The only way a dream becomes reality is through effective planning. Develop a strategy for monitoring progress against your business model. One of the benefits of a structured plan is that you and your team can clearly see how each action propels the company forward, helping build momentum and motivation.
- EXECUTION + ONGOING REFINEMENT
Like the Nike ads say, “Just do it.” Put yourself out there and don’t be afraid to put action toward your plan. Start small and develop momentum through incremental steps. Along the way, know that objectives will shift and be OK with alterations and ongoing refinement as the gap between your dream and reality narrows.
Fortunately, Colorado’s startup scene is very welcoming, and it always helps to have access to funding and annual events that showcase — and celebrate — the state’s entrepreneurial community. Programs like Yellow Brick Road (YBR) at Thrive Workplace are catering to Denver’s rich entrepreneurial ecosystem by offering guidance and access to bespoke entrepreneurial resources. YBR works with entrepreneurs at every stage of their journey, helping guide them through the entire process of entrepreneurship with a team of experienced mentors, subject matter experts and a thoughtfully curated, best-in-industry framework.
“Success means different things to different people, and we’re focused on the internal and external factors necessary for entrepreneurs to succeed,” said Justin Luke Riley, founder of Yellow Brick Road. “Beyond professional dimensions of leadership, we care about entrepreneurs and their lives outside of the context of entrepreneurship, which is why we intend to cater our offerings to Denver’s rich entrepreneurial ecosystem, providing the necessary resources and guidance required for success.”
As Colin Powell once said, “A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.” When it comes to entrepreneurship, it also involves access to resources, mentors and industry experts, the formulation and ongoing refinement of both a business model and personal plan as well as a supportive team that shares your vision to turn your dreams into reality. Fortunately, if you’re dreaming of starting a business, now is the time, and Colorado is the place.
Justin Luke Riley is the founder of Yellow Brick Road, an exclusive at Thrive Workplace that offers guidance and access to bespoke entrepreneurial resources. Riley has more than a decade of organizational development consulting experience. He is also president and CEO of a national organization focused on public health and policy.