Have you spent years climbing the corporate ladder and made good progress but a continuous nudge to focus on developing your business idea overshadows your corporate ambition?
For some handing in a resignation can be the most liberating feeling, for others walking away from a developed career and constant stream of income is a mixed feeling of anxiety, fear and self doubt. The higher you are in the corporate world, the more difficult it is to walk away from all you’ve achieved and start on your business.
So at what point is it right to make the transition from your paid employment to focus on your business? Simply put, there is no perfect time. You make the decision and take the bold step out of the corporate world to build your dreams. You can however reduce the risks of exit from your paid job and increase your chances of success by preparing for the business journey ahead.
Decide on your life goals and ambition
It is important you become self employed for the right reasons. If you pursue something you are passionate about such as creating something or solving a problem and you enjoy making your own decisions, working for yourself and building your own legacy then you are more likely to find the motivation to keep you going during tough times of running your business.
Review your personal circumstances
Ensure you have reviewed your finances and have a plan to sustain your livelihood as you scale your business. You may need to make cuts and adjustments in your lifestyle to fit your budget. A savings of at least 6 months of paid income would give you a good buffer on your personal finances as you work on monetising your business. Have a separate plan to finance your business costs and be diligent about keeping track of your spend.
Remember profits from your business isn’t always guaranteed so having a cushion you can fall back on during dry spells is key.
Build your business plan
Your business plan needs to be ambitious enough to keep you motivated and energised, you also need actionable goals to get you started on generating an income for your business. Consider the actions you need to get your product or service to market, acquire customers and close sales. Do enough research to understand the market and build a viable plan with a high chance of success.
Start while you are still employed
This is the path a lot of founders take to grow their business. Asides from received a steady dependable source of income to help with your finances as you scale your business, you are also in a position to test the market and your business plan before venturing out full time. It is important though that you ensure there are no contractual or work conflicts with your business and employment as you do this.
Build your Support System
This includes the people in your inner circle that will keep you motivated and balanced as well as the habits you need to maintain to be a successful entrepreneur. Stress management, time management, your social networks, health and wellbeing are also areas you need to consider as you build a support system.
In addition consider the professional support you will need for your business. Legal and taxes are areas you do not want to gamble on, so you may need the services of a lawyer, book keeper or accountant. It may even be necessary to get some professional support in areas that allow you more time to focus on your business, such are marketing or administrative services.
Have a back-out plan
By this I don’t just mean an exit strategy for your business when it becomes profitable. If your business idea fails consider the options you might want to pursue to either try again if you still believe in the idea or a completely different idea you might want to pursue. This might even mean returning to paid employment while you work on rebuilding.