You may have managed to catch lightning in a bottle and you think that your idea is outstanding and that it’s the perfect time to start your own company. Inspiration comes in many different forms, but not all reasons are good enough to convince you it’s time to quit your job and start a business.
For example if you decide to launch your own business simply because you cannot take it any longer to have to answer to someone else all the time, you’d better think twice. Why? Because once you launch your enterprise you will have to answer to not only your employees but to investors, customers, potential leads, etc.
Thus, it is safe to say that before you start your business, you need to have a clear picture of your business idea and the steps you need to take in order to make it work. This is the first step in the right direction.
Some people go for years dreaming about starting their own company and not having to answer to anybody. And while some change their mind over the years, others take action and go ahead founding a startup.
How about you? Are you considering making a 180 turn in your career? Remember that even when you are still employed, there are quite a lot of things you should do so as to prepare yourself for the big jump to entrepreneurship.
From my own experience I’ve found that the hardest thing to do was quit the job and actually take the first step. Once I managed to break free, all my fears that I’ve gathered over the years have been laid to rest. Why? Because that first day I’ve managed to learn one very important thing: I’ve taken the first step and there’s no stopping ne now.
Still, before you go ahead and quit your job to start a venture, remember to do the following things:
1. Avoid eating lunch by yourself. One of the best things about working in a big company is the network of professionals who consider you are doing a good job. During the last couple of months before your departure, you should probably take some time and invest in solidifying your current work relationships and even try and build new ones.
One of the advantages is that a solid network could potentially provide you with leads for new customers, service providers and even employees. In addition, bear in mind that you may never again be among such a large group of professionals who are available to have lunch with you.
2. Constantly improve by adding new skills to your repertoire. Within a large corporation, you are probably in a specialized position in a functional area. But when launching your business, you will need to become a real handyman who knows how to deal with each situation and problem that may arise. Thus, use your remaining time within the company to your benefit. This means you could potentially learn a new skill for which the company pays. For example, in order to increase your exposure to a brand new area you could join cross-functional projects. Also, you could take advantage to the fullest of the training provided to you and the development classes.
Let’s say for example that your employer provides a week-long introductory in Agile Development and any employee is free to join. Why not join? The benefits supersede the time you allocate to the course.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice on functions you do not have a great deal of knowledge about. For example, you don’t really know all that much about social media and online marketing and you think that it would be smart of you to meet with a specialist from your company to get some valuable advice and some tips for when you start your new company. Still, by no means should you do this.
When you are leaving your job to launch a startup, you should be looking for practical advice. The specialist within the large corporation could provide you with tips and advice that quite possibly will not apply for you small company. Chances are that person is not using the same software tools you’ll use and you can afford. Also, take into consideration that the adequate marketing for an unknown startup is so much different than for a large corporation that is also an industry leader.
4. But what should you do instead? Ask your co-workers or other entrepreneurs about how they’ve dealt with all the startup processes when launching their companies. What were the main services they used? How much did they pay consultants? What could they have outsourced? What aspects were easier than they thought? People are extremely happy to share this type of information. In turn, all the information they provide will become practical advice you are able to use when starting your business.
5. Don’t forget to enjoy to the fullest the benefits a big company provides. One of the cons of leaving your corporate job when pursuing an entrepreneurial career is that the corporate benefits will be gone. As a startup founder and entrepreneur, you will require a medical and dental insurance, but other benefits will certainly disappear, at least in the very few stages of launching a business.
For example, during the last few months, go ahead and plan to max out your 401K contribution, schedule that dental surgery you’ve been putting off for months, etc. There’s nothing unethical about all these aspects given the fact that you are employed and you are entitled to take advantage of all the benefits that come with having a corporate job.
And while the transition from the corporate environment to launching your own company can be terrifying, I can honestly say that it’s worth the trouble. If I had to choose again, I wouldn’t do anything different.