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TRANSITION FROM EMPLOYEE TO ENTREPRENEUR
The transition from being an employee to being an entrepreneur may come with a lot of frustrations and disappointments if not planned and or prepared for. It requires commitment, discipline, focus and a well thought out and laid action plan to be followed and executed adequately. I should quickly mention that other successful entrepreneurs transited without a proper laid out plan, they found themselves with no option except to be entrepreneurs after being dismissed, retrenched and or retired. These entrepreneurs’ entrepreneurship journeys whilst not planned they managed to build successful businesses from humble beginnings and small businesses. Others have taken a long time to transcend from being employees to entrepreneurs and have only succeeded to be self-employed not business owners and or Entrepreneurs.
Shephard Kembo: Entrepreneur Couch
It is important to note that a lot of employees know and read about the transition, for last week I explained the immense benefits of entrepreneurship for individuals, societies, communities and the whole economy. Available statistics have indicated that about 23% of South African employment is provided by public sector of that about 12% being government, the private sector provides about 77% employment of that 29% is from the Small to medium sector. How easy is it for the transition to happen from being an employee to a successful entrepreneur? How many employees have managed to successfully become entrepreneurs without being frustrated and or quitting completely either for good or going back to look for formal employment? Statistics from an assessment of South Africa’s SMEs landscape, challenges, opportunities, risks and next steps 2018/2019 survey commissioned by the Adclick Africa Media Group, indicated that 60% of owner managed and operated businesses had closed operation in less than 3 years after starting operation. 47 % of these SMEs had only grown to be able to employ two (2) to five (5) employees in terms of size, with 39% failing to grow beyond being just one employee and owner managed.
So how does one prepare adequately for employee to Entrepreneur transition? The steps listed below would help a lot of employees to prepare for that transition:
1. BE SURE OF WHAT YOU WANT TO DO?
A lot of would be entrepreneurs make a mistake of looking at just one aspect of their competitive advantage. One needs to look at the skills they have, their ability, the passion and hunger of that which they would like to do. Experience and commitment, focus and discipline would sustain them as motivation and self-drive since this would be different from paid up employment with subordinates to delegate other functions to as one embarks on this often lonely journey when starting a business. It is a journey which comes with a lot of long nights, lengthy arduous days, sometimes working 24 hours and 7 days a week without breaks.
2. CARRY OUT A MARKET FEASIBILITY STUDY
Any new business survives on the availability of customers and clients. One has to carry out a comprehensive market feasibility study, looking at likely customer frustrations, looking at what is going to stimulate and stir customers’ emotions and appeals, one has to critically look at the customers’ aspirations, customers’ needs and fears, considering if what one needs to do would coincide with the clients and customers’ real practical needs. Is one going to come up with idle product and or service for the clients?
3. PRODUCE A PROPER BUSINESS PLAN IN HARMONY WITH A MARKET PLAN
To ensure the availability of a market and clients the person has to look at the market plan that speaks to content creation, a social media marketing plan that reaches out to potential clients, a clearly laid out business plan that identifies the key business functions and how they work complementing each other. The Key functions that have to be usually identified are the operations structure, the product value chain and or distribution including delivery system. The business plan must include an expansion and growth strategy for the business.
4. EXPERIMENT PHASE WITH A SMALL BUSINESS
Now that all has been on paper, one should then be real and test the idea. To make sure that experiment is not too big from a point of view not unnecessarily and unreasonably tying up capital as well as running a real and practical experiment, the test run must be a small manageable business. The idea testing stage means practically one gets his /her first clients and trade at a small scale before leaving the security of employment.
5. RECEIVE, ASSESS FEEDBACK AND ADJUST
This is the other critical stage, after the idea test run and experimental stage, where one was running a small manageable business with real first clients, one then receives and make an honest assessment of the received feedback. This stage affords an entrepreneur the opportunity to have made mistakes and get honest feedback and to adjust too from a real practical point of view.
6. EMPLOYMENT OF A SUPPORTING STRUCTURE (TEAM)
Now that one has successfully passed the experiment stage and has received feedback, adjusted where there was need for adjustment and is now sure of how to proceed with a proper market and business plan one may now proceed looking at employment of supporting employees. These should be competent and capable supporting employees looking at all the key separate functions of business like finance, marketing, customer care and operations. It is key and important that one begins to run the business professionally and separating himself or herself from the business as a separate legal person capable of living a separate life of itself with the employed executives playing the fiduciary roles properly on behalf of the company.
7. BUSINESS FUNDING REQUIREMENTS
The initial business funding that would have been employed above is seed capital and would have taken the small experimental business thus far. This particular stage now requires a sober reflection and assessment of the working capital requirements. At this stage one may prepare company budgets considering and inclusive of marketing expenses, salaries, the proper long term cash flows are incorporated at this stage.
8. TIME TO LEAVE YOUR JOB AND GROW THE COMPANY
A lot of people have often asked when is it time to leave a full time job and focus on and or concentrate on growing own business? A young and or a small business is like a “pregnancy” it cannot be concealed for long, it starts bulging and showing. From bulging and showing it gives birth to a “baby” that requires caring from the mother without necessarily having to delegate all and everything. This is the time to go and realize one’s dream, and allow it to blossom. One should not be too excited at this stage and should avoid burning bridges, one should actually take advantage and build relations and networks critical for future business growth.
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