Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Should I leave secure employment to start a small business?

Thanks to the number of people who asked me to blog on this topic. Starting their own business seems to be a dream for many, realized by few and realized successfully by even fewer.

So – if you want to start up your own small business, but you’re afraid to leave your secure employment… I say – that’s ok! In the current economic climate, having a respectful amount fear isn’t the worst thing – IF it turns into you doing more research, preparing well and being financially, emotionally and mentally ready to start a business. If it’s just fear for fears sake – and nothing more than a massive cause of paralysis then I’m not a fan of it.

I’m a big believer in doing things that stretch, but still fit into your comfort zone (bearing in mind that your comfort zone is different to mine, to the person next door to you at work and probably different to your partner, friends and family).

So – before you leave your employment to start your own business please consider:

1. Take 5 different small business owners (preferably in similar sized businesses to the one you would ideally like to run) out to lunch, coffee or cocktails. Get the low down from them on what it’s REALLY like to be in business (and not just what you think it’s like from reading BRW).

2. Figure out how far your dollar will stretch. How long could you go in this new business of yours without making a single sale. John Ilhan, founder of Crazy John’s waited 6 months for his first sale! If you’re not well funded, why not consider starting a business on top of what you currently do for work? If you watch 2 hours of TV a night, simply devoting those 2 hours gives you 14 hours you could be putting into starting a business that doesn’t require a full time presence from you.

3. Take a look around your current business, or see a business broker – perhaps there’s an existing business with cash flow that you could buy or buy into that may be a good option.

4. Figure out whether you’re starting a business or starting a job? A business where you’re the only employee, it depends totally on you and pays you the same or less than your current job is a job, not a business.

5. If you started a business and it failed miserably and you lost all the start up capital you put into it and your time and your lost wages for the time you were in it, do you think you’d still be able to look back on it and say “I’m at least glad I tried?”

6. Do you have a passion for the concept behind business you want to start? As the old saying goes: if you love your work you’ll never work a day in your life!

7. Have you got your business brain on? I’ve seen a truckload of successful sales people start real estate businesses because they were great sales people (it didn’t make them great business people). The same goes for the fabulous hairdresser or mechanic or doctor. Just being awesome at what you do doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to run your own successful business.

8. Have you read The E-Myth by Michael Gerber?

9. What’s your point of difference? Please don’t be another “me too” business doing things exactly the same as all your competitors. Be exciting, be different, give people a reason to want to tell their friends and family that they MUST do business with you!

10. Finally – don’t be discouraged by this blog, by your friends, by your family or by the guy down the road who thinks he knows everything. If you have the passion and desire to start a new business, you know the risks involved, you have a great plan and you know that if you were 99 years old and looking back on your life you’d regret not doing it – have a crack! As Bon Jovi so wisely say “It’s my life, it’s now or never!” (oooh I’ve been waiting to blog about Bon Jovi for some time now!)

By Kirsty Dunphey with 2 comments


I agree with most of your points but have to argue with the one that argues for a Point of Difference. Logically you need to stand out from your competitors but I have met a number of willing possible entrepreneurs who didnt proceed because they thought they had to re-invent the wheel to have a successful business! Not so! Some regions have only 1 or no supplier of a market niche in commonly retailed goods. and example would be a lawn mower business in an expanding outer residential suburb. Taking your point literally this guy would never have started even though his product range and servicing was nothing different available elsewhere, Instead he did extra well simply because he saved everyone a lot of time by being closeby.

NT Web Times- appreciate you taking the time to comment and I take your point (and agree!)

See point 10 of my article as well for why you shouldn't even listen to this blog as a reason why not to!!

Thanks for commenting!


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