Making the Leap from Employee to Business Owner
Why do most entrepreneurs want to start their own companies? According to the Inc. 500 list of the fastest growing private companies, it’s the desire to control their own destiny, to be in charge of their future and their family’s future.
Entrepreneurship offers a sense of security, especially in the current, capricious economy where corporate downsizing continues to be par for the course instead of the exception. There’s also a great deal of personal satisfaction and a sense of achievement and pride that can come from building a business, especially when it helps create the lifestyle you’ve always imagined.
There’s also the direct challenge to the adventurous spirit. Building a business, the obstacles you face, the successes you achieve…none of that is predictable. Sometimes it’s the thrill of victory, sometimes it’s the agony of defeat, and that’s exciting for some.
Aside from technical and managerial ability, being an entrepreneur takes perseverance, passion, sacrifice, and a leap of faith, but it also offers you something valuable in return. Is that money? Success? Freedom? Or the chance to leave behind a personal legacy? The most important reason for becoming an entrepreneur is different for everyone.
Choosing the right avenue
When people think of an entrepreneur, they generally think of someone who had a unique idea that exploded into a company. They imagine the process was long and the sacrifice was great, but the end result was well worth the battle. Many companies that have been started from scratch have grown to be very successful, but thankfully, it’s not the only way to realize your entrepreneurial dream.
One alternative is to partner with a company that connects you with a quality product or service. There are distinctive benefits when you consider this approach, including operational and technological support, established business relationships, credibility through association, and formal training. Coupled with autonomy in running your own business, the advantages are substantial.
What to expect
Once you take the leap from employee to business owner, you’re also diving head first into the challenges that come with it. The greatest challenge, however, could very well be setting your own realistic expectations. Success doesn’t happen overnight, but it very well could happen in time. Remember, patience is a virtue and hard work never hurt anyone.
Accept the fact that there will be frustrations, and you’ll want to throw in the towel a time or two, but if you’re determined to stick to it, stay focused on your strengths, and make smart choices along the way, those obstacles will only be bumps in the road. After some hard-learned lessons, some small business owners shared their advice for how to mitigate the struggles1:
1. Love what you do.
Be passionate about your business. If you don’t love what you do, or the reason you do it, the sacrifices you make and the time you invest in your business will never be worth the effort. Attitude is everything and if you don’t look forward to your life’s work, you’re doomed.
2. Build a team who supports your vision.
Surround yourself with people who share your vision. Can they see the purpose behind your company’s work? Do they understand and can they appreciate the path to success? Are they committed to the goal? Vision leaks—recast it often so it’s never out of focus.
3. Ensure a positive customer experience.
Your customers are the foundation of your business, so how do you ensure their experiences are always positive? Make sure your team knows how they individually impact the customer’s experience and understand the value and importance they bring to the company.
4. Learn from your mistakes.
Every venture will come with its share of mistakes, especially when you’re entering into unknown territory. Putting your ego aside, it’s important to quickly address processes that are not working or identifying gaps of knowledge that need to be filled.
5. Leverage those who have knowledge.
It’s impossible to do or learn everything by yourself. Surround yourself with people who have the knowledge or skills you lack, learning from them along the way. This will help build a team that feels as valuable as they are, and will ultimately contribute to the success of your business.
6. Deliver quality.
The quality of the product or service you provide is a reflection of your entire company, and you as a leader. Repeatedly delivering poor quality whether that’s in manufacturing, customer service, or management is certain death to your business. It’s more important to take a step back, retrain, refocus, or rethink at the expense of a short-term loss in productivity than to deliver an inferior experience to the customer.
In hindsight, most successful entrepreneurs will agree that the struggles of starting a business, although daunting, overwhelming and exhausting at times, were some of the best learning experiences of their careers. Ultimately being their own boss and the significant life changes brought on by being a business owner were, and continue to be, worthy rewards.
How about you? Are you ready to take the leap into entrepreneurship?
1. Source: http://compass.ups.com/7-tips-from-successful-entrepreneurs/