In general, a steady 9 to 5 is comfortably predictable; if you’ve worked in your field for a while, you’ve acquired unique skills and can anticipate and manage problem areas as they arise. If you’re looking to become an entrepreneur, you can use all of these skills to your advantage.
While entrepreneurship is certainly full of uncertainty, running a successful business on your own terms can often be more rewarding than a comfortable corporate job. All it takes is some careful planning, initiative, and intuition!
Take Your Time
Careful planning is key, so take time to critically evaluate every angle of your new business. Make a task list, as well as list of potential snags that you may experience down the road. That way, you can come up with a few viable solutions ahead of time that will keep things running smoothly. Additionally, talk through your ideas with friends, family, and others in your industry. Their own experience may provide a different perspective that you may not have considered.
Find Your Niche
Before you dive in, it’s important to consider your niche in the community. Your business should not only be your passion project, but it should also satisfy a need. If there is already a similar product or service in your area, capitalize on what makes your business the better option. Remember, you want to stand out by finding your niche. Pursue what makes you unique and you’ll be able to carve out your own piece of market.
Network Within Your Support System
Utilize your support system to make connections early on. Friends, family, and colleagues will be your first go-to clients right off the bat, but their connections will also prove invaluable. Business relationships are built on trust, and consumers are more likely to work with someone that they know–even peripherally–than someone that they don’t. Use this to your advantage when making the move from corporate to entrepreneur.
Invest in Good People
Don’t just hire a warm body to take some of the pressure off — take special care when hiring employees or finding a business partner. When Bill Bundeff took the leap and opened his own franchise with 1-800-GOT-JUNK? in Quincy, MA, he took his time and invested in employees that were inspired by the job. After they were hired, Bill treated them with respect and dignity, enabling him to run a very successful business that many wanted to be a part of.
Good employees will only add value to your business, creating unique interactions with customers or leaving lasting touches on your products and services.
Highlight Your Skills, and Learn a Few New Ones
As a corporate employee, you’ve gained many essential skills for running your own business; responsibility, time management, and confidence are crucial to making your ideas a reality. Before moving forward, find ways to capitalize on your strengths and improve your weaknesses. If there is an aspect to your business that you lack understanding in, dedicate the time to research and learn as much as you can. As your business grows, you’ll be able to surround yourself with a team that can help to balance your weaknesses and strengths.
Trim the Fat
One of the biggest burdens of entrepreneurship is the upfront financial investment. It’s important to make investments where they count; quality employees, necessary equipment, and efficient systems are the bones of your operation. Conversely, make cuts to non-essential items and services. Apply these lean tactics to your personal finances as well. As your business grows, there will be time and resources to add on later.
Most importantly, respect your self and make time for things other than work. Make room in your busy schedule for rest, relaxation, family, and friends.
Don’t be afraid to say no if you need time to recuperate. Starting your own business is a huge undertaking that can easily become stressful and exhausting, and not getting enough sleep or nutrition can make all the difference in productivity, decision making, and morale.