One of the most common problems among startups is that they cannot use all of their available resources.

Most entrepreneurs don’t even know about their skills in their toolset to take advantage of them in a startup environment. The first thing that often comes to mind when people hear ‘resources’ is the financial capabilities and physical requirements a project needs. However, during the initial stages, industry knowledge and networking are vital resources to take an entrepreneur’s idea from the paper napkin to reality.

Entrepreneurs have many of these resources at hand. If tapped correctly, each step in their professional development can be an advantage to further their startup idea. The ideation stage focuses on what innovation to bring to the table and how to position it. This may include getting the right people for the job, planning the right marketing strategies, or creating a positive work culture.

Successful Business personalities never started from the ground up. Instead, they always had a foundation that allowed for the stability and reasonability of all their ideas. After all, Jeff Bezos, the tech mogul behind Amazon, did not build the trillion-dollar company in a silo alone. He began working with small startups and banks before joining the hedge fund D.E. Shaw, where he became the Vice President in a few years. When the startup idea to sell books online came to mind, he ran it through his basement, managing to convince only a quarter of potential investors to fund his startup. His success reflects the management expertise and business acumen gained in his previous positions.

There is value in every step of an entrepreneur’s professional journey that can help bring their vision to life. Every LinkedIn connection, conference, and job held is a resource that can take an entrepreneur to the next level. When an entrepreneur begins their startup process, they must be patient enough to go beyond an idea during the development stages but aggressive enough to be the first to introduce the concept. They need to plan both short-term and long-term strategies successfully, find the hidden gems of investors and employees, and network, network, network.