Tuesday, December 8, 2015

So long, corporate

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     Leaving a cushy corporate position is not easy. I did it, and I can tell you that it is scary. At the same time, it can be very rewarding.

     In a corporate position, you have the resources of a big organization to call on. Your computer is suddenly acting up--you call the department that handles such things. You want an electrical receptacle moved--call the maintenance department. You want a raise in pay--sit with your boss.

     When you say goodbye to corporate, you leave all this behind. You are on your own. You handle everything. Instead of asking your boss for a raise, look in the mirror.

     Example: Mary handled customer service in a manufacturing company. She was very good at it, and she regularly got commendations and raises in pay. But Mary wanted her own business. She considered several options, investigated several possibilities, and then came to her conclusion. Handling customers was the key in any business. It's all about the marketplace and customers. She gave her notice, and today Mary runs her own firm representing a growing base of manufacturers. Hers is a business handling the interface between manufacturers and their customers. The key to her success is her years of experience handling customers--their needs, their concerns, their complaints. Her reputation is such that new clients call her asking to be represented.

     Example: Gene went to law school because that was the career path that was common in his family. He passed the bar exam and landed a position in a big law firm. He was on his way. But the thing that Gene really enjoyed happened after a day in the office. He would go home and head for the kitchen. There, he would bake--usually experimenting with cakes. The more he did this, the more he dreaded going to the law firm every day. Gene began creating spectacular cakes for a growing list of specialty clients. Today, he has his own successful cake bakery, often wondering why he got so sidetracked with a law degree. 

     To leave corporate, concentrate on the thing you're interested in and good at. Turn that into a business. You will find yourself jumping out of bed every morning and you won't mind the long hours. 

     Before you give notice, however, do a business plan--concentrating on the market for your product or service. And make certain that you have enough funds to support yourself for that first year or two in business. 

     Saying goodbye to corporate and starting your own business is a major move. Remember, you'll be taking out the trash and fixing your own computer. And then you turn out the lights and get a little sleep.  

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