Entrepreneurship is About More Than Simply Selling Products/Services

4 min readMar 28, 2024


Entrepreneurs often stumble by overlooking or rushing through crucial stages of business development, erroneously equating scaling with merely increasing sales, without realizing it requires vision, leadership, and resonance to attract and retain clients.

For example, In the early days of Starbucks, Howard Schultz focused on building a culture and customer experience rather than just selling coffee. His vision transformed Starbucks from a local coffee bean seller to a global coffeehouse chain where people are edified by the Starbucks experience, not simply the consumption of coffee.

Stage One — A Team of Me

At this stage, akin to a rocket’s ascent, entrepreneurs beta-test their products/services, tweaking, making adjustments, and fine-tuning approaches to reach the desired destination: acquiring more of their ideal customers. It involves answering:

  • How will you pique interest?
  • How will you educate your target market or ideal client? Your target market are people who are looking for your solutions.Have the disposable income to patronize you. And are willing to make a blink decision… meaning the willingness to make a rapid decision regarding the utility of your services/products as it relates to the money or time you may save them by patronizing you.
  • How will you encourage a buying decision?
  • How will you encourage someone who makes a buying decision to continually patronize you or refer others to you?

You’re also beta-testing you. Do you have or are you willing to adopt the behaviors and habits required to build credibility, trust, respect, and likeability in the marketplace? Before you lead others, you have to first be able to lead yourself.

Stage Two — A Team of We

Once proven valuable, entrepreneurs transition to nurturing a team. However, success hinges on documenting processes, fostering a supportive culture, and discerning talent alignment with the values and skills required for growth.

In other words, have you recorded your processes for engaging, onboarding, and securing future clients on a granular level? Has your success become apparent enough, and are you attractive enough to incite people to participate? Have you cultivated the skills to communicate expectations, motivate, and train people to execute consistently? Do you know the LTV (lifetime value) of your customers, allowing you to project the level of talent you can afford to onboard?

Lastly, have you developed the discernment to ascertain whether the talent you are onboarding:

  • Have bought into the values and principles that inspire and motivate you?
  • Are willing to be accountable to your standards and expectations?
  • Have the talent, skill, or experience stacks to perform, or have the desire to acquire them?

Stage Three — Solopreneurs vs. Business Owners

Moving beyond micromanagement, successful leaders focus on creating a culture of ownership and investment, leveraging tools and specialized personnel to enhance customer experience and staff retention.

Here’s the thing. You can rule by micromanaging every decision. Or you can establish a culture and framework that allows people to make decisions, express their commitment, and develop the tools to grow your business. One approach requires compliance and choking oversight. The other inspires ownership and investment.

As your business becomes more profitable, you begin to invest in tools and specialized personnel to accelerate the number of buying customers, maintain the quality of your deliverables (customer satisfaction), and duplicate and retain your most valuable asset: your staff.

One company that epitomizes the importance of culture is Zappos. It may be considered a bit extreme, but its emphasis on company culture, including offering new hires money to quit if they’re not a good fit, exemplifies how investing in culture can drive business success.

Stage Four — Investment in Branding and Marketing:

Contrary to the “build it and they will come” notion, entrepreneurs must strategically promote their brand amidst competition, aiming not just to attract customers but also top talent.

You have to strategically cut through the noise and distractions of others who are competing for the disposable incomes of your customers. And you have to promote your business as a desired landing place for increasing more talented personnel.

Being good isn’t good enough.

Stage Five — Playing the Indefinite Game

The indefinite game involves focusing on long-term goals and values rather than short-term wins, emphasizing continuous improvement and adaptability. By embracing this mindset, you’re able to foster resilience, innovation, and sustainable success in an ever-changing environment. It’s about remaining competitive for as long as possible.

This may involve adding additional verticals or offerings that serve to manifest the mission. It may involve It may involve buying other competitors. And adopting new technologies to ensure long-term viability.

A company that epitomizes this mindset is Amazon. The company’s relentless focus on innovation and expansion, from its humble beginnings as an online bookstore to its dominance in e-commerce, cloud computing, and beyond, underscores the importance of playing the long game in business.

Even if the objective is to eventually sell your business, an educated buyer wants to acquire a revenue-generating asset, not be imprisoned in a job.

The world around us wasn’t built by the exceptional. It was built by everyday people who were willing to do exceptional things. Go build something.

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We help entrepreneurs launch, grow, and scale from a Team of Me to a Team of We. We believe entrepreneurship is empowerment, and our goal is to help over 100,000 people become the future employers of tomorrow. Tell us about yourself here, and schedule a virtual coffee.




I’m believe that change can occur when people are equipped with the tools to exercise agency in their lives. Entrepreneur. Writer. #catchjsbuford