Business Today

Planning to be your own boss? Do a rain check!

The dream of being one's own boss is what leads many people to start their own businesses. But leaving a stable job only to fulfil that vision is a decision that shouldn't be made in haste.

Alok Jain        Last Updated: May 12, 2015  | 10:26 IST

Alok Jain, chief operating officer, CareerCo.in
Quitting jobs has become a common sight these days due to drastic levels of frustration at work. Whether you are a 25-year-old corporate manager or a parent feeling the pangs of a mid-life crisis, it's natural to want to do something new like starting one's own venture after a while.

Gone are the days when staying at one firm for decades and retiring at the age of 65 connoted loyalty. Except for government jobs or PSUs, no private companies offer pensions, leaving people to fend for their own retirement plans.

With just a smaller share left at the end of the tunnel, people nowadays are becoming more inclined towards searching for better opportunities (read: endeavours) that give them both creative and monetary satisfaction.

The dream of being one's own boss is what leads many people to start their own businesses. But leaving a stable job that yields your daily bread-and-butter only to fulfil that vision is a decision that shouldn't be made in haste.

Though there exists no sure-shot way to make your 'million-dollar' business venture successful, there are certain challenges that might befall you while you quit your job in a hurry to make that first move towards your venture:

 

  • The Lone Ranger with an Identity Crisis: Once you resign from your stable job, be ready to let go of your nice office space and that fancy designation. You may become your own boss but now from booking tickets to procuring even the smallest of stationary items will be your responsibility. The value of your existing designation would be null and void. You never know, the same people who used to wait for you to get any work done, are likely to make you wait now. Be ready to accept NO as an answer from them. A start-up, even if it is a small operation, involves a lot of things to look after. Have a place to work from and hire people for your team, especially a co-founder to concentrate on every detail of functioning.
  • A Long List of Financial Woes: Starting a business venture with no fixed inflow of capital can disturb your financial stability. Be ready to financially support your family for the next 18-24 months, minus any income and only investments for your new venture. Receiving new credit cards, car loans, property loans etc. from financial institutions that specialise in these matters will be 'a tough row to hoe'. Your friends and family might insist on intervening, but there is nothing more unwise than this. You really don't need the involvement of your family and friends in your business decisions. It will only put at risk your relationships with people you love.
  • Lack of 'inexperience' and good mentoring: Believing in yourself when starting your business comes as the first priority. However, a majority of times, people turn over-confident after becoming self-appointed leaders and lack the insight or mentorship to reach their goals. One reality check is that you do not have all the answers to run the operations of your business and figure out the statistics of your clientele! Learning from others' mistakes and finding solutions through expert advice that is credible can give you a head start.
  • Finding that 'bang-on' business plan: You have a kick-ass business idea and you are jumping into the field without a strategy to implement it? Are you planning to fly by the seat of your pants? Hold on! Kick-starting a business without a concrete and accountable plan is absolutely unrealistic. Without this, it would be nearly impossible to manage the business.
  • Rome wasn't built in a Day, definitely! Any new business usually takes a minimum of two years to become profitable, when it would be all about spending the money, and not making it. Being familiar to this situation and preparing for it will not only help keep you afloat, it will also prevent discouragement during the rough phases.
  • Winning over your target audience: You start a venture with an idea of offering something unique to the world. Unfortunately, this does not mean that everyone will share your level of enthusiasm about the product or service you have to offer. It is absolutely unreasonable to think that you can possibly win over everyone to buy your product or avail its services. Before introducing any new marketing technique, it should be tried first on a focussed group and then customised according to the feedback received.

Giving up the security of a full-time job to start your own business often turns out to be a risky move. But while resigning, make sure the bridges aren't spoiled. Instead, ensure a smooth exit before you move on to a new ad-'venture' in your life, because you deserve to have a sense of closure before quitting.

 

Make sure you settle all the dues during your tenure at work, get all the paper work completed on time and avail membership to forums like TiE, etc.

It may sound brutal that owning a business isn't viable for everyone. However, exploring it as an option might drive you closer to figuring out what you want to do in the next stage of your life. Once it has been sorted, the rest is just about effort and commitment to stick to the plan!

The author is Chief Operating Officer, CareerCo.in

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