I have had a decent career and everyone expects me to jump ship to run my own business but I haven’t. This is for different reasons, but those closest to me know that I’m a closet chicken. Run my own business, are you kidding me?
Before you finally consider me a loser, listen to the best of my arguments.
You need skills to run a business
Unless you want to sell pepper and goat meat, you need a decent level of skills to run your own business. The more technical your dream business is, the more the skills you need to have before you jump right in. You want to sell foreign exchange? Better be sure you understand how it works. You want to become a real estate magnate? Make sure you know the difference between sharp sand and plastering sand.
Quite a lot of world-renown founders didn’t have long experiences but they created a whole new set of industries to play in. If you think you know as much as the Google boys or Zack, you can start right away! I wish you luck.
You need connections to land customers
Even if you are going to open a shop to sell gúgúrú and èpà, you need to know people to succeed. And you need gazillion of them: someone to buy key raw materials or products from; someone to facilitate licenses with the government; someone to link you with large corporates who will give contracts, etc.
You even need connections to recruit. If you depend on CVs and LinkedIn profiles to hire workers, you have entered one chance! The quality of your network is what determines how many believers are ready to leave their jobs to join your quest for glory.
It takes time and effort to build your business connections. It’s easier for those in front office roles such as marketing and sales to know a lot of people, than those of us who sit pretty in back offices making lives of others miserable.
And while at it, please work on your attitude. The fact that you are a senior executive with contractors and customers kowtowing to you means nothing. You don’t know the value of that network until you are out of a job.
So while still doing this cushy job, cultivate relationships. Be nice to everyone. Be fair to all and sundry. Help others as much as you can and don’t trample on lowly entrepreneurs.
Not everyone is an entrepreneur
We ain’t all born to be same. Think about it: growing up, some of us wanted to be doctors, politicians, lawyers, strippers, pilots, pimps, bankers, etc. The diversity is what makes the world go round. Imagine a world where everyone is a lawyer? I shudder at such thoughts.
So extending same arguments mean we can’t all be business owners and that doesn’t mean we won’t succeed. I would rather be a Tim Cook than a failed business owner.
A note of warning: The fact that you want to do your own thing doesn’t make you superior to others. Remember that you will recruit people to run your business. If you think working class are idiots, then you are going to treat your staff like idiots and they will, in revenge, do you over.
You need money to run your own business
Forget about your friends and that retired army uncle who promised funding for your silly business ideas, you need cold cash to start a business and preferably yours. When you depend on other people’s cash to get things going, you will end up with bosses worse than where you worked before.
You probably have to work for some time, save everything, forgo vacations and Louis Vuitton bags to save just enough to start.
The thing with money is… it is never enough!
You need balls to start a business
Some call it liver, heart or spine. I call it balls, smooth steel clanging balls. You need big balls to start a business. It’s not child’s play at all. This is where many of us are deficit. We are just scared.
Fear is not a bad thing unless we allow it to overwhelm us. At least that’s what I tell myself when I have a bad day at work.
Presentation matters with business
You don’t need spend a million dollars to look like a millionaire; however the way you look, or present yourself is very important. While dressing like a village headmaster mayn’t affect your salary at month end, it affects the pricing that you can get out of that product you want to sell.
Packaging is everything!
When you run a business, especially at the first stages, the first product you sell is yourself. Be poorly presented and you are likely toast.
Dress nicely. Shine your shoes and work on your poise. Let your PowerPoint be spiffy. These are the things the chickens like us look at when you come around to present your products and services for sale.
You need discipline to run your own show
If you think that when you start your own thing, you can wake up at any time you want and sleep when you feel like, sorry dude, you are in for a rude shock. Those who run their own businesses run long hours and ain’t appreciated. Customers don’t care.
If you can afford a vacation, (a big IF), take it and let’s see if you have any business or customers left by the time you get back.
The best place to learn discipline is right on the job you have now. If you can’t make it to meetings on time, you will be severely punished for it when you have your own thing. If you don’t know how to talk to your customers with respect, they will punish you by taking their businesses to those who appreciate them.
Discipline is extremely important!
Back to planet reality
There are a zillion other reasons to start or not to start a business. If you can hear your balls clanging and the wherewithal to start, go for it, but put the things I have talked above in perspective.
Don’t call your colleagues, who are chicken like me, chickens. We won’t forgive you when things gets rough with you. In fact some of us will dance on the grave of your business. Karma is a b*tch.
Save like your life depends on it. You will need that cash and much more.
If you decide not to start a business and be a career suit like me, hey, better be good at your job – else you find your butt on the curb. Appreciate whatever you have and be grateful for it. If you feel you ain’t appreciated, or paid enough, or respected enough, or celebrated enough, or get enough days off, remember, starting your own business is always an option. But if you don’t hear the clanging balls giving you assurance of success, respect yourself and do your job like a good boy.
Meanwhile…If I haven’t started my own business, where do I get these nuggets of wisdom from? Well, one last rule, don’t believe everything you read on the internet!