How you can use your time, experiences, and connections on your current job to greatly improve your chances of success when you finally start your own business.
In an ideal world, you would have at least a year’s salary saved up and you are in a safe position to quit your day job in order to completely focus on your new business. Unfortunately, this is not feasible or practical for many first-time business owners. But on the flip-side, keeping your day-job will give you access to several key ingredients that are essential to a new business: money, customers, contacts, suppliers, sub-contractors, market research, health insurance, and personnel. And because of these ingredients, you must look at your job as a blessing, not a time-wasting hassle.
Looking at your job as a learning opportunity, a way to build your credibility, build meaningful business relationships, and learn all the wants, needs, and demands of the customers, is priceless. It doesn’t matter if your new business is related to your current job or not. All the management, finance, negotiating, and marketing skills that you are learning on the job will directly benefit your new business. Learn to love your job, and find a way to make it work to your benefit.
Here are a few smart strategies to use your job to help prepare you for starting your own successful business:
Strategy #1. Network
Learn how to network, and then grow your network everywhere, inside and outside the company, as broadly and as diversely as possible. Help your network to get to know you and see how good you are at your job. Network with your suppliers, contractors, customers, and the other employees. There is a good chance that you might need these people after you leave your job and start your own business, possibly as mentors, partners, employees, and as customers.
Strategy #2. Take On More Responsibilities
If you want to move up, try to take on more responsibilities of the job you want. Demonstrate to management that you are someone who can step in wherever and whenever needed. They will start to see you differently. The entire company, management and employees, will respect you more and come to depend on you and your abilities.
Strategy #3. Help Others
Helping others to be successful on the job will also help make you indispensable to the company. The employees will also see you as someone of authority and credibility – as someone who can be trusted and respected.
Strategy #4. Be The Expert
Figure out how to become the expert. Be known for something and become the go-to person for that subject. Make sure that you are good at something, and make sure that it is something that you love. Make it something that is not so simple that someone else can also learn how to do very quickly. This increases your credibility and will help new opportunities inside and outside the company to come your way.
Strategy #5. Manage Your Career
You must have a well-thought-out plan. Think of yourself as a business. Where is it that you want to go? What do you want to accomplish at this job? Are you learning a particular trade that will enable you to start your own business? Are you working at this job for a particular reason? Is it to make good contacts? Is your job at a prestigious company, and their name on your resume will help open doors for you when you start your own business? Be realistic and honest with your answers.
Each of these strategies looked at individually will probably not guarantee success when you leave your job and start your own company. But when done together, while you are still on the job, can become a very powerful way to improve your chances of success as a business owner.