Employee to Entrepreneur - What does it take to make the switch?

/  June 15, 2016

Employee to Entrepreneur - What does it take to make the switch?

Embarking on the journey from 'being employee to becoming entrepreneur' is not as challenging as climbing The Everest… but knowing the common, unforeseen roadblocks and being well prepared for the dramatic changes that lie in store can definitely help make the transition smoother. An MBA degree from a reputed business school doesn't necessarily lead you to becoming a successful entrepreneur but there is a certain skill set that one must cultivate in order to lead their business. Developing the following attributes and honing these skills is necessary in order to thrive in today's business world:

1. Be the decision-maker and the visionary - Being an entrepreneur is a huge responsibility with many risks attached. All your business decisions- about what needs to be done, when and how- should be carefully considered. Risk assessment, while giving thoughtful consideration to potential costs and benefits, and the collection of relevant information are imperative to successful decision making. The key is to be decisive and learn from mistakes, rather than fearing mistakes to the point that you avoid making decisions. Successful entrepreneurs understand that 'opportunities are like sunrises, if you wait too long, you can miss them'. So it is necessary to develop a sense of urgency that helps you to achieve your goals. You can't wait for things to happen, or for someone to tell you what to do, you must take charge and make it happen!

2. Move out of your 'comfort zone'- Becoming an entrepreneur means you have to leave behind the security of having a paycheck each month. When you work for others, you are mainly responsible for ensuring that the tasks/targets assigned to you are fulfilled. As an entrepreneur, you have to project your mind forward, take into account the potential pitfalls and opportunities that lie around the corner, make decisions based on uncertainty and be responsible for it all. This requires you to come to terms with the fact that whatever you do/ don't do, today, will have an impact on your business in the present quarter or even the entire financial year and the next. You must move out of your 'comfort zone', see what others don't, test new ideas, seize new territory, and take risks. This requires more than just courage - you need to develop a thick skin and the ability to keep going despite rejection and skepticism.

3. Plan to succeed - "People don't plan to fail; they just fail to plan." As an employee, you were a part of a plan; now you are in-charge of making your own plan and getting others to be a part of it. Being able to envision the future and build a plan to accomplish ones objectives is a skill that can take any entrepreneur to great heights. Effective planning is what will guide any organization towards success. The skilled business planner knows that planning is only effective when combined with execution. With so many facets to effective planning, it could be called as much an art as a skill.

4. Follow your instinct - As an entrepreneur, you will face new challenges every day. You will find yourself on uncharted territory where there is very little research or data for you to make a sound decision. This is where the gut feeling comes in! In risky business, entrepreneurs learn to follow their instincts.

5. Build a great team - A great idea can turn into a great business only when you have a great team. Your business won't grow as much as it could before you admit to yourself that, no matter how hard you work, you can't run it all on your own. The need of the hour is to hire great people to work in the business, so you have the time to work on the business. "I can do things, you cannot. You can do things I cannot. But together we can do great things." As an employee, you are a team player; now it's time to be a team leader.

6. Communication - Clear communication plays a pivotal role in the execution of all of the other skills, mentioned above. You can't be a successful salesperson without effective communication skills; your planning skills would fall flat if you aren't able to communicate your plans; you can't build or motivate your team without being a good communicator; and it won't matter what decisions you make if they aren't communicated properly to those who are in a position to execute them. Last but not the least, of all the skills listed here, start focusing and working on your communication skills first.

Entrepreneurship can offer levels of fulfillment and achievement that are unmatched to any other type of employment. A great idea teamed with passion, commitment and skills will certainly help a new entrepreneur overcome many of the challenges posed by starting a new business.

 Share this Page