Anita Okanigbe-John

Before You Quit Your Job To Become An Entrepreneur

If you are an employee or an aspiring entrepreneur who want to quit your job to start your own business soon, then pay close attention to this post as it would help to prepare you for the world of entrepreneurship before you jump into the deep blue sea. There are at least six things you need before you quit your job to become an entrepreneur’

* One: You Need To Develop An Exit Strategy

The best time to develop an exit strategy is right before you accept the offer letter from your new employer. So before you do your victory dance and announce your new job to the world, design an exit strategy. If you are currently an employee and you haven’t done that yet, now is the next best time to do it.

It is very important for you to develop an exit strategy before you quit your job. Don’t leave because you are tired of the job or frustrated by your employer, supervisor or colleagues at work. And since it’s difficult to get new jobs in this recession, don’t wait until you are sacked or laid off before you think about an exit strategy. You definitely don’t want to wake up one morning and realize you had no plan, no savings, and no job.

Give yourself a timeline. Quitting your job should not be a spur-of-the-moment decision but a calculated two – five years process that involves commitment, especially if you have a desire to start your own business. Having an exit strategy helps you to:
* Create a smooth transition from your 9-5 job into entrepreneurship
* Resign without losing face or burning relationship bridges with your employer and colleagues
* Save enough money or invest your salary wisely
* Determine how long you want to work for
* Avoid unnecessary stress
* Resolve the type of skills or competences you would like to acquire before leaving
* Be clear on what position you would like to attain.
* What you would like to be remembered for after you leave

* Two: You Need A Vision.

Vision is the capacity or ability to envisage the future. So before you quit your job, you must have a vivid mental image of what you want your business to be in the future. Having a vision of your future business, would help you to determine where you would be and what you would be doing after you quit your job. If you are serious about becoming an entrepreneur, you must be mentally clear about the type of business you want to establish – service or product based business?

While you are still in your 9-5 job, visualize your dream business and the kind of impact you want it to have on your prospective clients. This requires your imaginative power and thinking ability. Note that having a vision is not enough. You must bring the vision of your dream business from the unseen world (imaginative mind) into the seen world. You can do this by writing it down or creating a vision board. When you do this, you are able to clearly articulate what you see with your mind’s eye and communicate it for others to see and understand.

* Three: You Need A Plan

Before you quit your job to become an entrepreneur, you must put in place an administrative plan to fulfil your vision. You need to devise a plan to implement your exit strategy. It would be dangerous to quit your job now if you don’t have the right plan to bring your vision and exit strategy into reality. Except of course your vision is a pipe dream or a mere wish.

How do you plan to start your dream business? Do you want to completely quit your job and start working on it full-time? Or work part-time and make half your income with your business as a side hustle? Your plan should include how to leverage your networks for leads in your business project. Also you must find out what you need and how much it would require to start that business, then plan how you will make it happen. Your administrative plan must accurately answer the ‘what, why, who, when and how’ of your business before you venture out.

* Four: You Need A Financial vault.

You must build a financial vault and save enough money to take care of your needs for at least 24 months after you resign from your paid employment. Except you want to leave your job broke, busted and frustrated. Which means, you will end up depending on others and begging people for money to feed yourself and your family.

You don’t need a prophet to tell you how that will turn out in this period of recession. Not having enough money saved up to take care of your needs while out of paid employment and trying to build your dream, will lead to serious stress, which will distract and frustrate your business plan. Building a financial vault will require you to save at least 40-50% of your current salary. It is a huge sacrifice but you have to do it. If your vision and goal are compelling enough, and you have a strong ‘why’ for your business, you will find the strength to make the sacrifice.

If you have a vision board that you look at every day and see the joy that is set before you when you birth your dream business, making the sacrifice will not be too difficult. However, if you have a wealthy family and friends who are willing and can conveniently support you financially while you are out of job and trying to build your business, then you really don’t have to make such huge sacrifice except you like the idea of having your own money and not depending on others.

* Five: You Need A S.M.A.R.T goal.

When setting your business goal, formulate it positively and make sure it conforms to the following criteria: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. Using a SMART goal setting will help you achieve your goal effectively. It will also help you to accurately answer questions like: What? Why? Where? How? When? With whom?

Achieving your goal is a lot easier when you know the specific business you want to establish, why exactly you want to achieve that goal, the limitations surrounding it and possible alternative ways of achieving your goal. You also need to know how you can measure success in that business, what actions you are willing to undertake to achieve your goal, the obstacles that might stop you and how you can mitigate them.

It is important to assess your strengths and weaknesses that might affect your goal positively/negatively. Also be sure that your enthusiastic level about achieving your goal is high and your passion is equally strong. In addition, your goal must have a time frame otherwise, all you will have on the long run, would be excuses and reasons for not achieving your goal. So be sure and clear on when you want to start your business and set your goal with a time frame. This will help you to create urgency for accomplishment.

Please note that, it is not enough to set goals with a timeframe. If you truly want to achieve your goal, you must develop daily habits and change your lifestyle to suit the business you desire to build.

* Six: You Need A Business coach

You need a business coach that has a proven method to success and can help you take your business to the next level. He/she will help you understand the psychology of business and navigate the new terrain you are venturing into. Except of course, you plan to waste previous years making avoidable mistakes while trying to figure things out for yourself.

Having a coach especially in the early stage is very important because he/she can help you refine your vision and accomplish your goal. So engage the service of a coach who has the insight, ability, tool and expertise to help you succeed in business. Make sure that whoever you hire has what it takes to help your plan hit its desired target and fulfil your vision.

While you might know what business you want to establish, a business coach teaches you how to make it happen. In situations where you might have an idea of how, your coach helps you to get to your desire destination faster than you would on your own.

The good thing about having a coach is that you can discuss the important things you need to achieve your goals and he/she would help you accomplish it. Your coach will hold you accountable so you don’t go the wrong way. In addition to all these, your business coach will give you the push to step outside your comfort zone, help you achieve your goals, prepare you for any situation, solve challenges you face and implement your plans correctly.

While you have a coach, it would also do you good to make friends with people who have established similar businesses and as well as get counsel from people who are in the same industry you want to go into. Meet with expects to figure out solutions before you encounter problems. Hang out with people who are going the same direction as you. Keep company with the wise and learn from them.

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