Leaving A Company To Launch Your Own Business
Learn from Your Employer
Be Honest and Supportive
Employers can easily and, at times, understandably balk at your breaking away to start your own venture. You have gained experience and, possibly, clients working with your employer. Of course, these are clients and experience they would like to keep. It makes sense. However, with an open and honest approach, you can actually gain support from your employer.
In my own personal experience, my first client was my former employer because they did understand I offered a service that could assist them greatly; they did not have the resources to handle their workload. What could have turned into a tense situation quickly was averted by clear communication and honesty. A large part of maintaining a good relationship is not poaching business from your former employer. Poaching is just bad business practice and, of course, will offend your former employer and affect your integrity. Plenty of business is possible without such tactics.
Avoid Negative Marketing
Unfortunately, many startups resort to negative marketing when launching to set them apart from the competition. It’s an easy strategy that grabs people’s attention. However, in the long run, it hurts your prospects because you’ve pigeonholed yourself as reactionary and unoriginal right off the bat.
Aim to be truly unique and creative in your approach, rather than relying on lazy marketing. Let your business and work ethic do the talking. If you feel you have to draw parallels, focus on the good things that you and your competition offer; this can help you define your niche in clients’ minds, while avoiding badmouthing the competition. Negative marketing affects your credibility and integrity, and these qualities will be communicated to your community and potential customers quickly.
Plan for Success and Possibility
Remember that you’re starting your own business. Your success or failure is not based upon your former company; it’s based on you. Focus on a business plan and marketing strategy that emphasize what is unique and great about your business. Show potential customers why they should work with you. While your initial motivation might have been provided by experiences with your former company, your vision and energy should focus on the future.
Relationships with your former employer, while starting your own business, can be intimidating and stressful. The keys to a smooth transition are honesty and a positive approach. You gained experience and knowledge from your tenure, and they gained contributions from a valued employee. You can form a mutually beneficial working bond with that company if desired. The cost of negativity on either side can lead to lost business and growth opportunities. Build your future by not stomping on your past.
Jordan Guernsey is the CEO of Molding Box, an innovative company that provides order distribution, shipping, print services, and CD/DVD duplication. Jordan started Molding Box in his mother’s basement and has grown the company into an Inc. 500 list member.