At some stage in our childhood years, we all have encountered at a park or garden the fun of leaping on stepping stones while trying to keep our balance, so as to not fall over.
However, stepping stones can also serve a function to entrepreneurs when mapping out a path to visualize their new venture. This is according to the author of the book, “Raising Venture Capital for the Serious Entrepreneur”, Dermot Berkery. “Stepping-stones represent groups of major milestones for the company.” (D Berkery, 20) On the way to achieving each milestone is a number of micro steps which are critical to being successful. These stepping stones are also imperative in highlighting exactly what each round of series funding will be used for as well as enticing future investors, provided previous milestones have been achieved. It is also important to remember that each stepping stone be assigned deadline. Upon reaching this expected completion date, one should take the time to evaluate and assess the progress thus far before making the next leap. Some questions that need to be addressed include, “Have we achieved the goal we set out?, What may have prevented the company from achieving its goal? , What new factors (regulatory, new entrants, financial) could affect the accomplishment of future milestones?”
Part of being an innovator or game changer requires one to see opportunities, new routes that others are blind to. Your initial stepping stone diagram can be used to chart these new paths or options that may present itself along the way. For example, penetrating new industries/markets or partnering with a smaller business to strengthen the overall value proposition to stave away competitors. It is these types of branch off opportunities that minimize risk of failure and excite investors.
This is a technique that can be used for any situation that requires some strategy and visualization and is not limited to business professionals.
So the next time you see some stepping stones, hopefully you will remember the immense power that can be derived from them, if thought about metaphorically.