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Strategy: The Four Phases of Owning an Elephant

‘Drive like a Real Entrepreneur’ is my new book launched recently at the Institute of Directors, Pall Mall in London. Drive like a Real Entrepreneur

In the book, there are specific comments on the characteristics of being an entrepreneur, together with up-to-date, practical and useful management tools and techniques for entrepreneurs.

In my blogs, I will share with you a couple of these tools, as a sample of what you can find in my new book. I hope these will be helpful for many of you: existing and aspiring entrepreneurs; start ups; business owners; and business studies students.

Having a strategy is vital: just as there are four phases of owning an elephant! 

Hopefully, the following analogy on page 185 in “Drive” will convey the importance of having and sticking with a well-thought out business strategy.

Strategy: The Four Phases of Owning an Elephant

Phase One You buy a baby elephant. You are bigger than it is, can see a great future with it and foresee no problems. The only concern is that you don’t have any skills in managing elephants—but you think that this won’t matter and off you go.

Phase Two The elephant soon grows much bigger than you. You are no longer strong enough to control it and it takes over your whole life. It pulls you along, wreaking destruction in its wake. Standing behind it, it blocks your whole vision and you can neither see nor know where you are going. You are so preoccupied by being dragged along by it that you think there is no way to ever bring it under control. It is ruining you and your quality of life.

Does this sound familiar?

Phase Three You are one of the rare people who decides to take advice on how to become a pukka elephant handler. You realise that in order to control your elephant it is no use walking behind it ineffectually holding onto the reins as it pulls you along. You accept that you have to take a different approach and that you have to learn how to manage your elephant to get the most out of it. To do this, you have to know how to sit on top of your elephant, where you cannot only see where you are going, but also, with just a gentle touch with your feet on its ears, steer the elephant in the direction you want it to go.

In a short time you are now running the elephant instead of it running you. As a result of accepting that you needed help, and as a result of taking professional advice, it is soon fulfilling your dreams. You and your elephant are going places.

Phase Four

Once you have learned how to control your elephant and it won’t take long, you can hire and train your own handler to manage the elephant for you. Now it’s time for you to ride in the canopied howdah behind, sitting back and enjoying the view.

So the entrepreneur has a successful business. This can only be done with a clear strategy of the way ahead. If you have any questions, please let me know - I look forward to hearing from you Robert@real-entrepreneur.com

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