Transitioning From Employee to Business Owner
There are several fears that you must face when making this shift
It’s that time of the year when we start making resolutions and thinking about what we’d like to accomplish in the in the upcoming year. If you’ve spent any time considering what it would be like to become a business owner, now is the time to explore those options. There are several fears that go along with making this transition. But fear has two meanings: Forget Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise—the choice is yours.
A client shared with me that one of her fears about buying a franchise is that she will have to “hit the ground running.” I found that a bit perplexing because typically, new business owners are excited and enthusiastic about getting started. As I probed a bit more, I learned that this was really about her fear of failure. She was rationalizing that instead of buying a franchise, she could start up a smaller business on the side, keeping her day job, and if she didn’t do well at the side business, the failure would be less traumatizing.
Just Do It
My client is probably right. The failure of a smaller business venture, especially while having another form of steady income, certainly softens the blow. But what she’s not actively considering are the other benefits that she’s missing out on by avoiding “hitting the ground running.” She came to me because she’s unhappy in her current job. Therefore, remaining there is not going to address that. Next, she will continue to wonder how successful she could be at running her own business if she doesn’t JUST DO IT! Lastly, by picking the right franchise, being passionate about the business, preparing properly, and taking a chance on herself, she’ll be setting an example for her children, her family, friends, and her community—something she can’t do by keeping her day job (not to mention how draining it is!).
If you want to own your own business, for whatever reason, there are some great things you can do to help chip away at those fears. Franchising is one of them. Franchising offers the ability to be in business for yourself but not by yourself. You have an entire support system of both franchisor operations teams, as well as other franchisees in your area. First, there are a number of resources you can use to help identify franchise systems that provide the best support for you and your individual needs.
Second, PLAN! Start several months out working with a consultant, building a relationship where you’re comfortable sharing what it is you think you’re looking for and getting your questions answered. Look realistically at your financial situation and the consultant can help you determine what your best options for funding the business are: 401(k) (no tax penalty!), HELOC, SBA Loan, Unsecured Credit Line, or internal financing provided by the franchisor. Once you’ve decided on a business, work with the franchisor to determine when is the best time to open your business. This could be based on the season, the area, the product/service, or the point at which you need to turn in your notice to your employer. During the time in which you’re ramping down your career to transition to being a business owner, you can be working on your local marketing plan, reaching out to friends and family for support, input, and even referrals.
If you take these steps, that fear of “jumping right in” will diminish greatly and no longer serve an excuse not to fulfill your dream. There’s no longer a cliffhanger, but perhaps a small “leap of faith” from one to the next. For those that do it right, it just may be a bridge.