Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Corporate vs. small business

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     Leaving corporate America and starting up your own small business is difficult. I know. I did it myself.

     If you are considering doing this, be careful. You need some preparation. Corporate America and small business are totally different. They occupy different planets, they speak different languages, and they hold out different futures.

     Example: For 10 years I headed up the Business Owners Institute of New Jersey. We helped many people establish their first business. And we helped many more dealing with the everyday problems of growing, finding financing, getting referrals, and other operating problems they brought to the table. 
     A lady once walked in the door looking for advice on buying a franchise. She had taken a buyout from a major corporation, so money was not the problem. She ran a single idea past me--she wanted advice on buying a donuts franchise. I posed two groups of questions.
     1. Who will make the donuts at 4 a.m. when your employees call in sick--or simply don't show up. Do you know how to run the coffee machines? 
     2. What are your personal interests and passions? What have you spent your time doing when you were away from your corporate position in the past?
     When she thought through the implications of this, she decided against buying the donuts franchise. She went on to establish her own marketing consulting firm, helping other small and medium size businesses do what they were ill-equipped to do themselves. Much later, we had a good laugh talking about how donuts are made.

     Corporate America does not prepare you for establishing and operating a small business. In corporate America you have many corporate resources to call on. You depend on the company sales force, production people, human resources, and all the rest. In small business, look in the mirror. 

     You might enjoy what you do in corporate America, but you have all the company's capabilities at your disposal. In small business, it's you. 

      Before jumping out of your corporate position, investigate the small business world. It's quite different. Look ahead before taking the step. You will be your own boss in small business. But you will be doing everything else as well. 

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