The 5 Pillars, or ‘Fingers,’ of Successful Entrepreneurship

The 5 Pillars, or 'Fingers,' of Successful Entrepreneurship
Mathias Umeh

According to the April 2014 Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial activities, 0.28 percent of adults per month started a new business in 2013.

Out of those new businesses, the majority will not survive. So what sets the successful businesses apart from the failed ones? And what tools does a budding entrepreneur need to succeed?

Any new business requires certain necessities to get started: hard work, a strong offering and a solid plan of action. In addition to these, I have come up with a handy set of five pillars of entrepreneurship that can provide a solid foundation for a new business and which every entrepreneur should utilize.

Using the fingers on one’s hand as a metaphor, start at the thumb to count down the below five pillars of successful entrepreneurship:

1. Envision 

The perfect entrepreneur understands how to capitalize on trends and paradigm shifts. They have the ability to predict new opportunities based on human behavior. They also understand that maintaining and communicating the vision consistently is the most important focus for continued success of the company.

This creates the “thumbs up,” and also signifies the most important pillar. The thumb is what closes the grip on the entire fist and touches on all the other fingers.

2. Enlist 

Once a vision is in place, entrepreneurs need to enlist people around the startup to support and grow their adventure. Whether it’s family members, investors, employees, customers, partners or potential acquirers, these are all an integral part of the beginning stages of a startup.

This pillar is the index finger. This is the one used to point at people to call on them and ask for help and guidance.

3. Embark

Many people have ideas and are even able to enlist people around these ideas. However, the majority fall short of actually taking the step and starting a business. Embarking is what sets leaders apart from followers, and most entrepreneurs from employees.

There will always be a million reasons why not to take the plunge and everybody will serve as constant reminders on why it shouldn’t or can’t be done. This is the time to put the middle finger up and just move on with it!

4. Execute 

With a vision, team and the start of something great, it’s time to execute. Many groups fail here, and often additional or other entrepreneurs need to be brought in to do the job.

The fourth finger, the ring finger, symbolizes commitment, hard work and resilience. Through better or worse, for richer or poorer, until liquidation or an exit do part.

5. Evolve 

Entrepreneurs can go through the entire cycle and succeed, but to have lasting success, they will need to continuously evolve. The only constant in a startup is change, and to succeed one needs to make a sworn (pinkie) promise not to fall into the trap of comfort and complacency.

Nothing can guarantee the success of a new business, but using these five pillars can give entrepreneurs and their new business a solid foundation. When an entrepreneur has covered all five fingers, they can extend a hand, or at times a fist, and take the things they want.

More importantly, however, they can give back to others by lending a hand to those around them.


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