by Jack Bergman
A lot of people in the business world love to say that it’s impossible to successfully move between the corporate and startup sectors. The ghost of Steve Jobs — who left corporate Atari to found Apple out of his garage — might beg to differ. Any corporate experience you have will teach you the fundamentals of how a business of any size works. It can shape everything from your business model to how you’ll function as a future boss.
Look Before You Leap
When leaving the corporate world to become an entrepreneur, you should take heed of three things:
1. Be prepared.
Not just for Boy Scouts anymore, preparation means you are 100 percent confident that you have all the skills necessary to start your own business. Has everything you’ve done in your corporate job prepared you to own and operate your own company? Can you make a solid business plan? If not, consider sticking around until you master the necessary skills.
2. Be flexible.
Yes, you’ll have a business plan, but life doesn’t always adhere to plans, so you need to be able to continually reevaluate and adjust the plan as needed so your business can move forward.
3. Be financially solvent.
Guess what? As an entrepreneur, you’ll no longer be getting a paycheck. You will be using your own capital as you try to generate some income, but that won’t happen overnight. Before you start, have more financing than you think you need, because the fact of the matter is that most businesses take twice as long to create income than their business plans assume.
Your Pre-Existing Advantages
One good thing about switching from a corporate position to your own business is that — provided you choose to stay in the same industry — you’ll be able to start your venture with a well-established network of professional contacts.
Working in the corporate world gives you exposure to high-quality professionals who have a wealth of knowledge ready for you to soak up. This will be a great help when you become an entrepreneur. If you’re lucky, you will have made a name for yourself before you branch out, and this network of professionals will already know you and be willing to help your reputation grow further.
Another advantage you’ll have gained from the corporate world is the ability to recognize an opportunity. In large companies, risky ventures aren’t always given a chance. Still, they’re out there, and having the initiative to understand what’s needed to run a successful business is discovered by recognizing an opportunity when it’s staring you in the face.
In my case, my business model developed from a specific project I was working on in a large corporation. By initiating this project and seeing it through, I realized I had a business model and, with the right marketing, it would work.
What It Comes Down To
If you are able to pair the people you’ve been working with and the corporate experience you’ve gained, then your entrepreneurial days will be off to a great start. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that through experience, your entrepreneurial spirit will take hold and grow while you are working with — and learning from — those around you.
Jack J. Bergman is the President of Allied Business Network, a business membership program that offers small- and medium-sized businesses discounts on items that they use every day. Jack is a business thought leader and brings businesses together with abnsave.com, smartbizsavings.com, and businessadvantageplus.com. He welcomes anyone to reach out to him on Twitter or Google+.