Kiss your boss goodbye — it’s time to become an entrepreneur
I recently read a report on the attitude of the American workforce. To my surprise, more than half of all employees are not engaged at work. In other words, most workers are not happy, not satisfied, not productive, not loyal, not inspired and will jump ship if another opportunity arises.
To company management: Who do you think does all the work? Who do you think makes your products, sells them, provides support, collects receipts and pays workers? It’s not you, my friend.
Your financial success, your promotions, your glory, all depend on how well you treat those subordinates who have placed their trust and confidence in you.
Now a word to Les Miserables. If you are going to quit, for heaven’s sake, don’t go to work for another pathetic firm. Do something wild: Kiss your boss goodbye and launch your own business.
If you have had enough, become your own king. The money you have made for others now shifts to you. Take that idea that’s been in your mind for months and turn it into a profitable company. Whatever your expertise, start today to plan your escape from corporate prison.
Over the last few months, I have given advice to a gentleman who is a full-time employee of a large company. He possesses a great business idea and is anxious to understand the steps he needs to follow to organize his company.
Here is the information I am sharing with him. If you are ready to soar, please make note of the following initial guidelines:
• Keep your day job until the time is right to leave. You have two options to consider:
A) You can leave tomorrow if you have the resources in hand to sustain your efforts long enough to reach profitability. Give yourself at least one year to succeed. If you can’t reach your goal in that time, look for other ways to survive and prosper; or
B) You can prepare and execute your plan over time, at night and on weekends until everything is ready to go.
• If you have signed a non-compete with your current employer, honor it. Wait until you can legally pursue your opportunity. Find some form of income to sustain your personal life in the interim.
• Determine your purpose, your vision, your strategy. Why are you in business? What do you hope to accomplish? What must you do to be successful? Are your answers sound and realistic?
• Test your assumptions. Determine who your perfect customers are. Know everything about them. Talk to them, listen and respond accordingly. Understand what they watch, hear and read. Know how to promote your offering. Understand the competition. Know their value proposition and why people buy their products.
• Evaluate a product’s viability. Consider the design, development and manufacturing of the perfect solution at the best possible cost. Understand why your solution will be chosen by customers.
• Evaluate and test a plan to sell your product and collect revenues. Will you sell directly to customers using the Internet, your own sales team or independent reps? Who will you sell to — distributors, retailers or resellers, the government?
• Determine if you can make a profit. Know your costs, expenses, revenues and margins. Know how much working capital you will need to sustain the business and grow it. Know where you can find money beyond your own resources. Determine if financial resources will be available and committed. Establish a financial system to provide accurate and timely reports to manage the operation.
With positive answers to these initial points, I suggest the following next steps:
• Determine your business location — street, city and state.
• Name your company. Reserve this name for your legal documents and for your Internet website after determining if the name is available for your use. If available, proceed to register and pay the related fees to secure ownership of your company name.
• Secure a business license and necessary permits from your local city business office.
• Obtain a federal tax ID number, form SS4, from the IRS. With this information, you will be able to establish necessary business bank accounts.
• Meet with an attorney to establish a legal entity. The attorney will give you several options to consider and will explain to you the risks, responsibilities, costs, liabilities, taxes, duties, and reports that are associated with each entity.
• Meet with an accountant. He or she will help you understand what responsibilities you will have with the IRS, namely, taxes related to the company, yourself and employees. This vendor can also assist with state and federal tax filings. An accountant will also help you with financial reporting and various accounting software options.
Now that you are ready, meaning you have legions of customers who will buy your superior product for the right price yielding good profits, it’s time to act. Keep your eyes on the bright horizon. It’s your future to enjoy. You’re now the boss. Be a great one! Good luck.
This article originally appeared in Alan Hall’s Forbes column. He can be contacted at www.AlanEHall.com or @AskAlanEHall.