Have a Plan and Timetable Before You Leave Your Professional Job

The exodus of millions of workers from standard employment is impressive. I left corporate life many years ago and it was the best decision I made about my career. Being independent allowed me to deliver products and services that I knew I could not create inside corporations.

Making the leap to total independence was a two-year effort.  Here are some key points for professionals who are starting their own businesses after years in working in corporations.

  • Plan at least six to twelve months before you quit your job
  • Test your future business model with some moonlighting before you quit
  • Have a financial plan for being successful and backup plan in your case your venture does not work out
  • Pay for expert assistance to increase the potential for success of your venture
  • Consider buying a business if it is close to your desired business endeavor

Two stories generated the list above.

Two future owners I knew invested time and money to create an employment services business. They did work at it for a number of months.  However, they did not get hands on experience in the exact business operations they would be delivering. Within two weeks of opening the business, they knew it was not what they wanted. They closed down the business within two months. It is great to dream, but also get a dose of reality before taking the leap to ownership.

If you are clear about a business line you know you were born to be in, then consider finding a company that fits your goals, work style, and desired business model. Purchasing a business can reduce the risks of going through the startup and launch phases. 

There still is risk if you take over a business because you will eventually have to immediately satisfy customers, who expect consistent products and services. One way to reduce the risk of a take over is to retain the owner as a consultant for a specific transition period, frequently one year. Then the customer base will be better retained and the take over of full operations less stressful. Hiring an expert consultant in the business line is also done frequently.

If you feel that starting from scratch is the best route for you then explore the many resources programs and services for startup businesses. Public sector, non-profit and private programs and services are accessible remotely.

Tactical Tips:

  • Budget for all the resources and needed
  • Plan to create intellectual property or products to distinguish yourself from competition in your field.
  • Create a work environment and team that brings out the best in you as owner, decision maker and leader   

Deep Thinking Required About the Future of Existing Business

We define an existing business as a business in full time operations for at least a year with a full-time owner or hired operating manager. The owner is accountable for making decisions and shaping operating goals and key processes. Now owners are faced with complex decisions across the whole lifecycle. Serving these owners is a journey through major transactions’ businesses go through over the whole lifecycle which includes:

  • Long-term planning
  • New product development and launch
  • Site expansions
  • Adding new business lines
  • Funding raises
  • Exits and Purchases

These are not pivots, these are major growth initiatives or structural changes of businesses requiring thorough preparation and thoughtful actions.

Many businesses are evaluating these major initiatives considering the persistent levels of risk on several levels. Also, new opportunities are emerging as the economy and social environment shifts. This is the time to set up a process for identifying and working through major decisions. Consider these suggestions to build you strategic decision-making process.

  • Write down clear and brief descriptions of the decisions and the timeline for major decisions. This make it easier to work toward a decision and sound result.
  • Obtain reliable information from your trusted team with a balance of quantitative and qualitative perspectives. This team should include your CPA, financial advisor, attorney, and trusted business advisor. Bring your family members and trusted colleagues into making big decisions.
  • Avoid holding too much information in your head because you may forget or feel overwhelmed.
  • Write down the answers to key questions and insights you are gaining as you work toward a decision.
  • When you do make the decision, commit to working towards the desired end results.