Rome wasn’t built in a day either…”

I first saw this unapologetic declaration on a billboard sign on the Pennsylvania Turnpike: a highway that was perennially under construction. And it always reminded me that startups have to be treated the same way.

Entrepreneurs and wantrepreneurs approach creating a startup empire differently. Firstly, what’s a wantrepreneur? They are the eager beavers who may look, act, and seem like entrepreneurs – but all without owning an actual business!

Let’s examine the wantrepreneur scenario when building a startup empire:

  1. This is the one…the idea of the century!” Wantrepreneurs rarely focus on the problem to solve.
  2. “Oooooh features! I love features!” Wantrepreneurs don’t create a foundation and work incrementally, but instead fast forward and jump in the deep end before learning to swim.
  3. “I’ll just whip together the business in no time!” Wantrepreneurs always underestimate the time it takes to grow a business.
  4. “If you build it they will come.” Wantrepreneurs believe the only thing stopping them from customers, is the lack of product.
  5. “Money… I’ll figure it out later.” Wantrepreneurs severely minimize the needed funding for their projects.

To build an empire you need a foundation, vision, support, and patience. Serial entrepreneurs know this; it is second nature to them. As they move with tremendous speed, they know they have to learn to walk before they run. A scalable, repeatable business model is necessary before expanding too big or out of reach.

For the budding entrepreneurs, it serves as a good reminder, that yes, Rome, the Pennsylvania turnpike, and your startup all need and will need the vision, the time, and the baby steps to eventually become the empire that they all are.

How do you approach building an empire? Let us know in the comments below.

This comic and post are adapted from #entrepreneurfail: Startup Success.