Thinking of leaving corporate to start your own business?
Are you tired and frustrated with the corporate world?
Sick to death of the moving goal posts, the politics, and the elusive bonuses that often do not materialise because an unrelated department has not performed?
Do the ‘corporate values’ feel more like a repetitive mantra without any substance?
If you answered yes to any, or maybe all of the above, never fear – you are in great company. Thousands of Australians every year leave the (seeming) security of a corporate job to become their own boss.
And I was one of them.
Although I had always harboured visions of owning my own business, life sort of got in the way. I started off with a fairly good job straight from studying, I was promoted many times, I showed a lot of promise, I obtained my MBA, I was highly praised and rewarded in my various roles with different companies, I travelled, I was responsible for multiple staff and major projects, my income and position kept rising.
For anyone looking on, my life looked like a dream.
But for me, there was always something missing, always a huge hole and the faster the years rolled on, the greater that hole inside me burned.
Does any of this sound familiar?
Now don’t get me wrong. I loved my life. An amazing wife, fabulous, healthy happy kids, a great lifestyle.
Everything except any form of fulfilment in my professional life.
The words of a trusted mentor clashed in my ears;
“So often people come into a large corporate and they are edgy and full of fresh ideas. But after time everybody gets put through the corporate grinder and all of those edges get ground down and smoothed out until they roll like a marble in the same direction as everybody else. Welcome to the corporate world!”
I realised that I had become yet another statistic in the corporate grinder and that that hole inside me was my former “edge” screaming to be set free.
Fortunately, I listened to my intuition before it was too late and I now own a successful consulting company working with people just like you (and the former me) every day.
So, I ask you; have you ever wondered whether you could do things better yourself? Have you dreamed of being your own boss? Do you know that business ownership is part of your DNA and you can already see your vision, your team and the spoils of your success?
Now, I’m not going to pretend that it is a walk in the park and I’m not going to tell you that business ownership is for everyone, (more on the profiles of business owners in a future article) but I am going to tell you how to minimise the risks associated with buying your own business.
There are a few mistakes that people make when leaving the corporate world.
Mistake #1: They buy a business on the rebound.
You may know that you are destined to own your own business but do not underestimate the pain of leaving what you know. Whether you want to admit it or not, there is a certainty and a security that comes with working in the corporate world.
There is a regular pay packet, you are paid when you are sick or on holidays, there is structure, there are “people to do that”, there are opportunities to study and to travel that are paid by the company, there is prestige and there are people and teams around you.
Leaving this, even for the right reasons and even if you are moving towards something even better is much like breaking up with a partner. Even if that partner wasn’t right for you and even if being alone is a better option than being in a toxic relationship, breaking up and change are still hard.
Just like jumping straight into a new relationship for the wrong reasons, you don’t want to buy a business “on the rebound”. Doing so could mean that in a few years’ time, you will be even more unhappy than you were before.
Mistake #2: They buy a business thinking it will be an overnight success.
Granted, many businesses you could buy are already profitable and successful. Many are already established and moving in the right direction. However, even an established business takes time and work, know-how and skills. A new or less established business will take these and more.
Rarely will a business give you immediate cash flow, profit, flexibility and control. One would hope that if it were run successfully, these would definitely follow in time but it is a mistake to think that these are a given on day 1.
Mistake #3: They waste years and (way too much) money.
Instead of buying an existing business and continuing its trajectory or adding your own skills, knowledge, flair and expertise to exponentially increase its systems, offering and profitability, many people leaving the corporate world waste years and thousands of dollars trying to think of the greatest, newest, biggest, most amazing product or service.
While finding that elusive “something” definitely does happen and is definitely possible, it is not worthwhile to leave the corporate world for a whim.
By following a simple 3 step process, you can minimise or alleviate these risks whilst making the transition from Corporate to your own business infinitely more successful and rewarding.
STEP ONE: Take Stock
Take the time to create a personal snapshot. Your drivers, your strengths, your values, your interests and your unique skills.
We would recommend hiring a specialised business consultant experienced in transitioning from Corporate to business ownership so that they can assist you to match your needs and individuality to the right business model in the right industry or sector.
STEP TWO: Plan
Your plan to transition from Corporate to business ownership must be all encompassing and take into account many different aspects such as;
● Time frame – include the time it will take to source the correct opportunity, the time that the purchase may take, the settlement period, the time you can give to working on your transition as well as the notice you must give to your Corporate employer
● Finances – Not only the cost of the new business purchase but also the savings you have available to maintain your current living standards in the initial stages of the business without compromising your security or your family requirements. You must also understand any loans required for or initial cash flow needs of the business itself
● Location – will you be able to stay in the same house, the same location or are you prepared to move suburb, city, state or country for the right opportunity?
● Your family – do you have the full support of your partner or immediate family? Business ownership is infinitely easier with personal support and encouragement.
● The business – what is it that you really want to do? What size of business do you want or can you afford? Are you looking for a small business, a big business, a service based business, a product based business? What industry interests you? What businesses are available?
The assistance of a business broker experienced in walking you through the fundamentals of business purchasing within this planning phase is advisable. More than advisable, it is essential if you are looking to create a relevant, personalised, manageable and transparent plan in order to make the best possible decision for your future.
STEP THREE: Accomplish
If your decision to own your own business and your plans to do so are sound, objective and possible, it is now time to execute your plan and to transition to the next stage of your life.
Remember that change is a scary prospect for all of us. Now is not the time to waiver, to teeter, to backtrack. Now is the time to put everything in place and to embrace the future and all of its possibilities and opportunities with an open mind and a confident stride.