What is effectual reasoning? AKA Effectuation 

Key Takeaway

Successful entrepreneurs start with their means:

Then from there they use "ready, fire, aim" and guiding principles:

Once the entrepreneur is started, new means and new goals emerge 


There are a variety of great examples from former students to share. Check out the examples below to understand how effectual reasoning works. The (what, who, whom) in parenthesis below will help you connect the dots to the means the student figured out. 

Even more examples can be found on the Idea Center page. There are so many! Be sure to check them out.

Products they made 

Thrift Flip 23 

This student was knowledgeable about fashion (who) and knew how to use a sewing machine to change up thrift clothes to be more trendy (what). Plus she is concerned about the environment and interested in reducing waste (who). She set out to utilize her school and social community (whom) to start a thrifting business with style. 

This student really wanted to push his comfort zone (who) and wanted to solve a problem that many people experienced (what) - which was getting motivated and keeping track of thoughts, dreams, and ideas. He felt like the journals out there were not able to provide the best prompts to assist with this journey, so he created one on his own. By leveraging his ability to find assistance (what, whom), he was able to self publish a new journal. 

Having a love of art and crafting (who, what), this student wanted to share her artistic eye with others, especially since so many people (whom) always raved about the homemade cards she would give them. Plus, she wanted to take advantage of the space available at school (what, whom) to sell to a broader market. 

Chloe's Soaps 

This student had an interest in organic, natural cosmetics and household goods (who) and really was interested in products that would be better for the earth (who). She also was crafty (what) and liked challenges (who). She decided since she had been a student for a few years, her school network was a decent size (whom), plus she wanted to use her social media network (whom) in a business way. She decided to start a handmade craft soap business. 

Holy Churros

This student had a love of desserts (who) and knew how to make the most amazing churros (what). She was also interested in engaging her social networks at school (whom) and wanted to really practice her entrepreneurial skills (who). She decided to make churros and sold them at school. 

Products they bought and resold 

Ghost Buck Coffee 

This student was already working toward (who) starting a coffee business and had inventory he was trying to sell (what). He decided to use this class as a way to really dive in and practice his business model (what) and wanted to grow his social media network (whom). He has blossomed in the time since and is doing a great job with social media. 

Fleek Beatz 

Really interested in empowering women of color (who) and knowing an amazing amount about beauty (what), this student wanted to leverage her relationships and community connections (whom) while also giving women quality beauty products. She bought lashes - among other items - and sells them repackaged. 


This student had tools to clean up yards (what), it was Fall (what), and he enjoyed being outdoors (who). Plus he lived in a big neighborhood with lots of houses (whom). He decided to start a service business: clean up fall leaves. 

This student had tools to paint (what) and he enjoyed doing physical labor (who). Plus he lived in an older area where the houses were in need of paint (whom). He decided to start a service business painting inside homes.