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Opinions of Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Columnist: Ekow Bondzi

Before you quit - the blueprint

You want to resign, but at the crossroads as to whether you’ll be making the right decision. This is a common challenge many of us face when gainfully employed yet want to venture into the world of business full time. Interestingly, having job experience is very important in shaping the entrepreneur you become. It helps you discover opportunities you would have otherwise not spotted, gives you the confidence you need in dealing with people, and helps you develop some soft skills. However, while in your job, there are some things you need to do and consider before quitting. Here are a few tips:

*Network –* Having a job makes you meet individuals from all walks of life. No matter how much of an introvert you are, make sure your network within your office and beyond. It helps you develop an important skill you will need in the world of business. If your corporation is in the services space or deals with a lot of customers, the better. Engage with these customers and be nice to them. Always smile and be courteous, establish a healthy rapport with them, and make sure to be always useful when you can. This helps you create a pool of people who could easily become your customers in the future or even offer help in various ways that could shorten your path to becoming the mogul you want to be.

*Study and understand how your Employer’s corporation works* - Be inquisitive - Being a successful business person means you understand the basics of how organizations are run or structured. Without this skill, you will run your business to the ground. What you can learn from your job is to fundamentally understand your organization’s structure, its marketing strategy, its execution strategy, and the resources that are put in running the organization to give them the desired results on how they make an impact. It puts into perspective the various functions you need to put together to help grow your new venture.

*Make mistakes:* While this may sound strange, it isn’t. Having a job helps you make all the mistakes you could have possibly made if you were running your new business. It helps you learn what you need to do and what not to do. This sort of experience shapes your decision-making skills, organizational skills, #creativity skills, #problem-solving skills, and a whole lot of skills that you learn from scratch.

*Develop a business plan:* Having a business without a plan is like leading a blind man when you yourself are blind. Both you and your business will trip and fall. It is very easy to think you have a product or service that everyone is going to buy into. I call it the “oh who won’t buy this” mentality. Yes, you may be right, but no matter how unique your business idea is, make sure you develop a plan for it. It might sound cliché but you don’t want to make this mistake. It is very important. Your business plan is what makes you understand better how viable your business is. It helps you discover if you’re solving any REAL problem at all. It also serves as a guide and manual that takes you to step by step towards your bigger picture. It is what makes you wake up every morning with a purpose. Without a plan, you wake up every day incrementally running your business into an ocean of garbage (the garbage containing many other failed businesses).

*If possible start your business and watch it grow-* One mistake you want to do is quit your well-paying job only to end up bankrupt a few years later because of a bad choice. Don’t get me wrong. It’s good to take risks, but then again there’s a thin line between being a risk-taker and being stupid. Make sure you’re not the latter. Some mistakes are avoidable. In an IDEAL situation, you should start your business as a side hustle and watch it grow while maintaining your job. However, if that will be impossible you need to have an effective adequate plan erasing all doubts about the viability of your business. It helps you modify or draw a better business plan, understand the reality of the market better, make mistakes and learn from them, understand the operational costs of your business and experience the real business world which will keep you well informed on your final decision of quitting your job.

*Develop basic accounting skills-* The mistake most people do is to have a one-sided accounting towards their business. Nobody wants to calculate their earnings and see it in the negatives. Of course, who doesn’t want to make money? But you have to be real with yourself. The mistake you are likely to commit is to calculate all the projected sales you’re going to make, thinking your business is very viable and lucrative without taking into account operational cost, staffing, marketing cost, transportation, etc. making this mistake is nothing but deadly. No business has it rosy; businesses have gone on to make profits without having to make any in their first year of existence. So don’t get too bothered if you wouldn’t be recording profits in your first year or two. You can always get professional help to put things into perspective and help draw a more accurate financial projection, while you take the onus upon yourself to also develop these basic skills.

*Read DAILY about the industry you want to venture into and do this religiously:* Read articles on your soon to be industry and gather more knowledge. Be current, innovative, and strategic. Know how the value chain of your business works, from where you’ll get your raw materials to how you'll get the product /service to your potential customer. Study trends and obsess yourself with useful information surrounding the area you want to venture in. *Get a mentor* - Make sure you get someone who has been where you are and is where you want to be to guide you. This can help enlighten you make the right choices, and shorten your path to success.

*Save enough money* - I don’t think this has to be overemphasized. Well, just think about this. You’re moving from an area of steady income to an area of zero assurance of steady income while you need to eat, live, and inject capital into your business. I guess this should be enough reason to save and save enough before quitting.

*Dream big* - If your dream isn’t big enough, you’re better off keeping your job. Dr. Myles Munroe once said, “if people don’t call you a fool for your dreams, then know that it isn’t from God”. Essentially your dreams should scare everyone that hears it, including yourself!

*Don’t listen to your family and friends* - Families are one of the reasons a cemetery is a rich place if you ask me. Many potential inventors and entrepreneurs had their dreams shut because they listened to those close to them. What if they didn’t listen? We’ll be reading about them today. Or maybe they would have failed, but No one ever died from failing. You only learn, try again and again, and again till you gain. Don’t get me wrong though, your family means well and wants the best for you, but there comes a time when you have to put your destiny into your own hands. Yes quitting your job to start a business is a very big step but once you believe in your passion and know you can change the world with it, why listen to those who weren’t given the vision by God. Go for it.

Now with a solid list of 11 key players, I trust you're well equipped in winning the game of entrepreneurship. See you at the TOP.

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