For many of you, stepping off the corporate merry-go-round to set up your own business will feel liberating. For others your feelings may be mixed, perhaps because you’ve been laid off from a job you loved. Leaving a big business to set up your own from scratch is always a shock, but that doesn’t mean your new career starts from scratch, too.
There are many skills that you learned in big business that can help you become a successful small business owner, even if your new venture seems a world away from your previous job.
Leaving a top-level position in corporate marketing and PR to set up a company running kids’ parties may seem like a huge leap, but your knowledge of how to generate a buzz of excitement about a new product will come in handy when grabbing the attention of your local soccer moms’ and dads’ for your new venture.
In large corporations you often need to put together a team of people from other departments who have very different backgrounds, skills and outlooks than yours. It’s no different when you go out on your own. You have to reach out to bankers, attorneys, suppliers, employees and customers and work effectively with them all at the same time to build your fledgling business.
Although the annual budgeting process at work may feel like you’re being waterboarded, financial planning is a key skill for any entrepreneur – particularly as it’s your own cash that’s on the line.
But there are plenty of other skills you’ve learned that you should leave at the front door when you exit Behemoth Inc.
At times you need to be tough and even abrasive in a big corporation because it can be like wading through molasses to get anything done. But don’t try using the same tactics when you run a small business. It’s a much more intimate and laid-back environment where personal relationships really count, so you risk alienating and upsetting staff and clients if you pull your big-company tricks.
Also, in a big firm, where all problems are “escalated,” it’s easy to shrug your shoulders and say: “that’s not my problem any more.” But, as the boss of your own business, it’s always your problem. That is why it is important to make sure you have the right small business liability insurance that meets your specific company needs. Having the right professional liability insurance, general liability insurance and or business owner insurance can protect your buisness from third party claims of negligence that result in damage to a person, their business or their property.
Owning your own small business can be very daunting, but it’s also hugely empowering because it’s up to you to be the difference. When in doubt, just keep moving forward.