Onwards and Upwards

Onwards and Upwards

The capstone of the Entrepreneurial Action Levels framework is Level 5: Onwards and Upwards. As with your entrepreneurial journey in toto, your need to act at any of the five levels is not a linear path.

We rise to great heights by a winding staircase of small steps.

Francis Bacon

Here we are at the capstone of the Entrepreneurial Action Levels framework with Level 5, Onwards and Upwards. Acting at Level 5 is what most people imagine when they visualize entrepreneurial success. Of going from success to success and building strength on strength. Of serving more customers, different types of customers, and creating greater value for all customers, interaction over interaction.

The characteristic actions of Level 5 are scaling adapting, and expanding. While Level 5 is the capstone of the framework, acting at Level 5 is not the end of the entrepreneurial journey. Rather it is creates the regular steps to be ascended throughout. Acting at Level 5 is what creates the foundation on which future great Level 5 decisions are made. It takes courage to act at Level 5, to confront the, potentially brutal, facts of your current reality and keep moving forward with the unyielding faith that things will turn out in the end.

The Video

In this episode of the Whatever The Heck That Means on YouTube we take a deeper dive into the fifth level of the Entrepreneurial Action Levels frameworkOnwards and Upwards.

Entrepreneurial Action Level 5: Onwards and Upwards

Some Actions To Take

Here are some actions you should take while operating at Level 5:

  • Regularly revalue your assets and strategy investments based on the actual income and growth they’re creating.
  • Be an active manager of your portfolio of offerings—and the strategies they are meant to implement.
  • Regularly evaluate new ways to implement your strategies, the strategies you’re implementing, and the theory of business success the strategies are meant to actualize.

Some Questions To Ask Yourself

Here are some questions that might help you determine that you need to spend some time working to advance Onwards and Upwards:

  1. Are my near-future investments designed to support where I think my revenues and profits will come from in the future?
    • Rather than simply allocating for the future based on what’s being done right now.
  2. Is this opportunity (when faced with a new opportunity) part of a strategy that matches my theory of success?
    • And when it is, fund the strategy, not just a project.
  3. What should I stop doing so that I can do this?
    • Do not ration your capital allocation across all the possible projects. Invest fully in what you plan to do and have no tolerance for past investments that are showing poor growth.

While the dream of acting at Level 5 is often far in the future, with many successes behind and a strong foundation in place to leverage, needing to acting at Level 5 always happens earlier in the journey too. Earlier in the journey when there is less reason for confidence and less (perceived) tolerance for error. Acting at Level 5 isn’t just for well-funded startups and massive companies, it’s for everyone, including very small businesses (and entrepreneurial-minded employees in larger firms).

Examples to Learn From

Let’s take a look at some Economics for Business resources that may help you take action to answer the call.


In E4B podcast episode 64, Per Bylund introduces us to some fallacies of common business thinking and business models. This is relevant to all Level 5 action, but we connect it to the scaling attribute because it emphasizes that our purpose in scaling is different.

As put in the associated knowledge graphic, the UNtrepreneurial view of scaling is a “more voracious use of resources to achieve volume and share.” Meanwhile, at Level 5, our purpose in scaling is to “make today a little bit better” for more customers. Externally these may initially look the same, but as the decision to scale has a different calculus, so do the results.


In E4B podcast episode 146, Luca Dellanna, warns that “change will be externally imposed if it is not internally embraced.” An expert advisor on continuous adaptation, Luca shares some of the strategies he recommends to his clients.

Implementing this concept of “continuous adaptation” is one reason why acting at Level 5 needs to be a regular part of your entrepreneurial journey.


All the way back In E4B podcast episode 4, Bob Luddy shared how applying Austrian economics shaped his entrepreneurial journey. Through that journey his company grew from specialization in fire suppression to the leader in commercial kitchen ventilation.

Entrepreneurial Specialization (and the adjacent possible)

Interestingly, specialization in solving a specific problem for a specific type of customer, enabled Bob to see the “adjacent possible” and expand to it. Specialization makes it easier to “think like a customer”, and by being a systems thinker, identify needs and goals with greater impact to them.

As we continue to develop these Entrepreneurial Action Levels, your feedback, good and ill, is very much appreciated. Please watch the video in full and comment with your thoughts there, on this post, or directly through LinkedIn or the Simbiotrek (sim-bē-‘ä-‘trek) website. I look forward to hearing from you and hope that you found some of the specific questions and actions helpful too.

Sean Kennedy

The creator of "Whatever The Heck That Means" can usually be found with his wife and younger son in their adopted home of North Carolina. (His older son is now an adult and away studying mechanical engineering.) From there he is the Founder and President of Simbiotrek (sim-bē-'ä-'trek - https://simbiotrek.com), and makes occasional digital imprints on LinkedIn (https://linkedin.com/in/seanpk) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/AkaMacGyver), as well as on the Be Action YouTube channel (https://youtube.com/@BeAction).


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