Have you ever thought about using your current job as a launchpad for your own startup? In an article I wrote for the May issue, I found five entrepreneuers who did just that. Here are the five rules I culled from their experiences:
1. Use Your Salary as Funding
Finance your idea from your paycheck for as long as possible before selling a big stake to early investors.
2. Turn Common Complaints Into a Business Plan
Just because the company you are working for isn't filling a customer need doesn't mean you can't go off on your own to fill it.
3. Make Your Boss a Beta Tester
Try your product out first on your employer, and then perfect it.
4. Cash In On Your Company's Reputation
Use your connection to your former employer to open doors.
5. Convert Your Employer Into a Business Partner
Convince your company to spin off your unit.
Already, reader Douglas Long of New Endeavors Consulting suggests four more rules:
1. Spend some time in the sales department.
The most important thing about business is selling your clients. No matter what one’s previous role with their company, they need to know how to sell. This is particularly true for those who come out of the engineering and finance departments. Many people working in these departments spend their time either creating something or analyzing raw data but rarely have the opportunity to meet their customers face to face.
2. Ask the bosses for the opportunity to manage a group or department.
One of the most difficult aspects of being an entrepreneur is managing others. If an entrepreneur can not motivate others to follow his/her lead, the business is dead.
3. Raise sufficient capital
The reason most businesses fail is due the lack of money to sustain them during their start up phase. As a rule of thumb, I advise my clients to take whatever estimate they have and triple it.
4. Learn the business cycle
As an employee, a budding entrepreneur can observe how to react when times are good and bad.
(Got your own rules? Add them to comments)