If you are considering leaving your job in the corporate world to start your own business, you will likely experience some, if not a lot, of anxiety, fear, and uncertainty in making the leap. And it’s no wonder when more than 50 percent of businesses fail within the first five years.
Here are 10 tips to help you prepare for making the transition from employee to owner:
- Decide the best route of ownership for you. You have options. Will you start your own business from the ground up, buy an existing company, purchase a franchise opportunity, or join a direct sales (also known as network marketing) company? There are pros and cons that come with each option. Be sure to take the time to learn about each and choose what’s right for you.
- Choose something you are passionate about. The reason for having your own business isn’t to be miserable, so be sure you’ll love what you do. It’s been said that if you love what you do, you won’t feel like you’re working. If you don’t love what you do, you will lack the motivation necessary to weather the storms that come with running a successful business.
- Start building your business while you continue working at your current job. While this isn’t always an option, it’s a good idea to take some time to put your feet in and test the waters to make sure business ownership is right for you and also have an income stream while you build.
- Create your own security. When you leave your job, you will be leaving behind a consistent paycheck and benefits. You can prepare yourself for the change by making sure you have an alternative cash flow. Do you have a source of income from another job or business? Do you have investments you can rely on for income? Do you have a partner, friends or family members who will financially support you while you build your business? Will you take out a loan? Be careful with the option you choose and choose wisely.
- Conduct research and write a plan. Find out what it’s going to take in cost and time to run the business. Determine if you have a viable product or service that others will buy. Define your target market, mission and vision. Take some time to map out your goals and the strategies you will use to accomplish them. Your written plan will be your guide as you run your business and will help you avoid the many of pitfalls other owners face.
- Build a network of other professionals. You are influenced by the people you spend your time with. Find and surround yourself with other business owners in various industries who are like-minded. They will help you maintain the appropriate mindset and focus to build your business successfully.
- Connect with mentors. You don’t have to take the journey alone. Find others who have successfully run a business similar to the one you want or have and glean from their experience and expertise. Most people will be willing to help and support you and people love to give advice.
- Share, share, share. A large part of growing a successful business is making sure others know you are in business and they know what you do. Even before you begin your business, it’s a good idea to start talking about it and letting others know what you’re going to be doing and what your vision is. This will generate interest and potential customers.
- Don’t listen to the nay-sayers. There likely will be several well-meaning friends and family members who will try to stop you from leaving your job to own a business. They will give you all the reasons why you shouldn’t do so. Once you’ve decided that owning a business is right for you and you’ve properly prepared for ownership, stick to your plan and don’t let them hold you back. This is your dream and your life. It’s up to you to build it and prove you can!
- Make the jump! There comes a time when you’ve done all you can do to prepare and you may find you still have some trepidation in the idea of leaving your job – that’s when it’s time to make the jump. Fear is a great paralyzer; if you wait for there to be no fear, you will probably never get started. When you make the jump, you’ll find it’s not as scary as it seems and you’ll be glad you did.
Owning a business can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. When you are properly prepared, it’s very rewarding and enjoyable.
Catherine M. White
Catherine M. White, founder of Accelerated Results 365, is an author, speaker and innovator. She works with high performance clients to strategically develop effective business processes for continued high level success using her signature system, P.O.W.E.R.R., designed specifically for visionaries, and entrepreneurs. This program leads to authoritative breakthroughs by creating innovative tools that enable businesses to catapult past the competition.
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