THE MONEY ACADEMY
From Employee to
„…I graduated the university second in class when I was 23, immediately started to work in an HR company, I was promoted over the years until reaching to the highest level - HR director. The salary is good, the program is convenient, after so many years I am very professional at what I do and I am almost my own boss…but even though I managed to achieve all my professional goals, I started to feel in the last few months that this has become so boring. Soon I’ll turn 40 and I have been in HR for over 15 years, is this really what I want? I felt maybe this is the right time to start my own business, but then I started to be surrounded by so many fears – am I good enough? Will I be successful? What if I fail? Will I have enough money to survive this adventure? Since then it’s been 6 months and I still can’t make a decision”’. (Catalina, 39, HR Manager at a Telekom company).
Osnat Peled, General director - Mentor Finance (Private equity) & BWFR president.
Risks, fears & the perfect timing
Lots of people are dreaming to become entrepreneurs. The idea of “being my own boss”, starting and finishing my day when I want, taking the full credit for my own success and even, why not, becoming rich…are a common milestone to whoever is thinking of opening their own business.
However, when you are an employee enjoying the stability that a fixed salary provides, many of us remain static and afraid to take a step forward towards entrepreneurship. This block is there due to many reasons – a surrounding that doesn’t encourage us to take risks, in many of the cases, these are parents who were themselves lifetime employees (they will suggest “only hard work will bring you to success”), or your spouse who may be afraid to reduce their life quality or losing money, sometimes it is simply you, who can’t take the decision…the common ground to all of these are simply- fears.
Fears can block us from moving ahead, sometimes they are there, also because they represent a risk we are about to take, but in many of the cases, fears are there, simply because we don’t KNOW.
‘unknown’ creates stress.
Taking a decision and moving from being an employee to becoming an entrepreneur, can indeed be a scary step, but in many of the cases, the unknown factors are the ones which are holdings us back.
We can tackle them simply by learning and acquiring this know-how.
Actually, the optimized timing to acquire this kind of know-how is exactly while you have financial and mental stability. Therefore, I strongly recommend developing your entrepreneurial skills, exactly while you are still an employee.
From the time management point of view, it’s not going to be easy. You will need to find a way to continue being an excellent worker and in the same time to develop your own business to the level you feel you can quit your work and dedicate yourself fully to your new business. That means - working weekends, nights and vacations in order not to risk your current working place and your current performance. In other words – welcome to being an entrepreneur! We work over weekends, nights and don’t really have vacations…so this is going to be your first true test related to time management, coping with stress and still moving ahead to fulfill your dreams and chasing for success
Taking a (baby) step
“… Remember that idea I had a few years ago about the pizza place where you make your own pizza?
It's a pizza place where you make your own pie! We give you the dough, the sauce, the cheese...you pound it, slap it, you flip it up into the air...you put your toppings on and you slide it into the oven! Sounds good, huh?”
(Kramer shared his visionary pizza, SEINFELD Episode no. 91 "The Couch”)
It seems that in any of us there is a secret entrepreneur…I myself have as well a ‘secret’ notebook, where I write all kinds of crazy ideas, some have been developed into a business and some are forever to remain in silence.
When you are about to take a step, invest money and take some risks to fulfill any kind of business idea, one of the first questions you should tackle is related to your business concept and the chances to actually have success in implementing it.
On the scientific level, it’s very hard to predict if your new business will be successful or not, also because there are many factors that can lead to success or to failure, among them - locations, competitors, price, added value, visibility and more.
However, in too many of the cases that I meet, of new entrepreneurs starting their first business, I am surprised to find out that many of them didn’t consider too many measurements before taking a decision and many of them didn’t prepare a serious business plan.
Building a business plan cannot guarantee your success, but it can definitely reduce the risk of failure, only by the fact that you will meet and oblige (to yourself in writing) for a certain guideline. Drafting a business plan is your first milestone to understand what are your goals, studying the market, checking the feasibility factors of your idea, meeting the competitors, developing a basic marketing plan, planning your cash flow and checking how much money you are actually going to earn.
A good business plan is a pessimistic conservative plan, where you see a clear picture that will allow you to make a decision, therefore, you shall dedicate the first period of learning and developing your business vision into a high-level business plan. If you don’t know how to write a business plan, hire a consultant, take a course or find a partner who will help you to comply with this goal successfully.
Taking about fears…a coherent business plan can reduce dramatically lots of unrealistic fears, but can also bring new questions to the table, mainly – am I actually going to make money here?!!
Planning your cash flow & profits
A lot has been said about different kinds of motivations to become self-employed. I myself have a clear vision about it, which many can agree upon (or not) , but can definitely inspire you in your way to become an entrepreneur – If you are not here for significant incomes (meaning- making money) , I strongly recommend for you NOT to become an entrepreneur.
Being an entrepreneur is not an easy journey. It involves stress, self-management, strong will power and endless optimism. The challenges are always there and the environment is usually dynamic and unbalanced. The major compensation for this kind of lifestyle, must be based on money.
This is of course unless you are philanthropic and choose to open an NGO, in this case the scale of decision is different.
Can we find a formula to determine whether I should leave my job or stay ?
My reference is based on seeing too many entrepreneurs who decided to open a company, develop and dedicate their life, risk whatever they have…when the business plan actually shows their final profits will be equal to what they earn as the current salary. I am sorry to say, in my view, this is not a motivation to open a business!
A correct motivation in such case is (at least) to triple your current earnings, so if the business plan does not support it, it is better to re-thinking the concept . Why triple? Basic salary to cover your needs, above it a small margin to invest in your growth and on the top a small saving for a challenging period.
Being under so many changes and facing ‘good years and bad years’ will show you that the good years, sometimes cover the bad ones, so when it’s good it must be very good in order to keep you alive.
Gathering know how, will help you in your way to fulfilling your dreams. Sometimes the journey will lead you to question your concept, modify it and validate it again and again until you reach to the right formula. Only then you will be secure enough to make the step from employee to entrepreneur.
You are not alone ! Join us at Business Women Forum Romania (BWFR) at a special seminar (3 courses & personal mentoring) - “From Employee to Entrepreneur “ – starting at 24.5.2016
Limited places – find the details in our website – www.bwfr.org
Osnat Peled, General Director of Mentor Finance (from Mentor group Holdings consortium) has relocated to Romania from Israel. Having 19 years of business experience she has been working with banks, governments and leading companies in assisting them to achieve their business goals and recruit financing.
Mentor Finance provides financing solutions to companies, developers, entrepreneurs and NGOs in all types of domains. www.mentor-finance.com
Foto: Sebastian Moise Make-up: Monica Panait Şedinta foto a avut loc la Hotel Prince Park Residences Bucureşti *Articol apărut în Business Woman Magazine, ediţia 69
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