Entrepreneurship

What To Do Before You Quit Your Job for Entrepreneurship

I get calls from people who are gainfully employed asking me what to do before they quit their jobs. Many of them are feeling tired on their current jobs and want to quit for entrepreneurship as soon as possible. Sometimes I here words like; ‘I can’t wait to join you’, ‘I am so tired of this job’, ‘this job sucks’ etc. Yes it’s true you might be tired, but I am sure you are not tired of earning a monthly income. Entrepreneurship is not what you rush into, especially if you have a stable job and a consistent source of income.

The fact that you are working today means that you are gathering certain experiences and skills for the challenges life could bring. Also everyone must not be an entrepreneur but everyone can be an Intrapreneur and still be wealthy.

Entrepreneurship comes with a lot of challenges and struggles especially if you are based in Africa. The enabling business environment is not so conducive so you have to figure out how to make things happen in your business. Most people just think all entrepreneurs simply hit billions in less than six months. My friend it’s not like that in Africa especially Nigeria. You will work it out harder than your peers in some other parts of the world.

I always advise people not to jump into entrepreneurship if they don’t have the following checked out. you might also read this before you continue A-practical-guide-to-start-that-small-business/

  1. Ensure you have researched and planned out what market you want to serve: Market Identification is the most important part of starting. You must know the market, their price taste, challenges of the market and how to overcome them. You also need to know where to access the market. Don’t assume there is a market waiting for you. The market in Africa is dynamic and the demography is volatile. Your markets guarantee the service to offer the market and how to design the product or services. It also determines if the market gives room for growth. At least do a little market survey, ask questions and have a feel of what to expect when you step out. The first time I jumped out to sell I was rejected by all the people I met. It was discouraging but I never gave up and those people later became my first customers. Even the most attractive products or services get rejected at first. This market will also help you decide how you want to run the business and where, if it’s going to be a brick and mortar business with a physical location. This is with that fact that you already know the sectore you are diving into.
  2. Build Your Product: with the knowledge you have about the market: Having identified your market,, you can now design a product to fit these identified market. Test this product yourself, understand the product then give to your immediate circle to test. If possible get some of those customers to help do that, these you can do at your free periods or off days at work or you take leave to test them and move around. It’s always better to try things yourself or recruit someone that can assist in the first phase on a contract basis for this purpose. Ensure you don’t incur unnecessary cost while testing; it can be draining to the pocket. Implement feedbacks, changes and update the product for final release.
  • Start small, give to people to pilot it for a period say like 30days. Remember that all these are happening while you still work, but you will commit extra time outside work to do these things. Don’t just rush out immediately, let few people use and give you feedback on their experience.  This would show you how customers are willing to pay for the service or product. What I tell people is if you are able to make at least five sales or close deals in a month, then the light is green to quit even if there is no profit.

But before you quit, the following should be your final check list especially if you live in Africa or Nigeria.

These points I will outline below sounds funny, but they are real and can be devastating if not looked into, especially when the business doesn’t go as planned.

But before you quit, the following should be your final check list especially if you live in Africa or Nigeria. These points I will outline below sounds funny, but they are real and can be devastating if not looked into, especially when the business doesn’t go as planned.

  • Have your Paid for your House rent? If you live in a rented apartment at least 1year rent is sufficient, as rent is a reality, if you don’t at least have an alternative, you won’t have head ache with accommodation when you are supposed to be thinking on how to grow your business.
  • Have you paid for your children’s school fees or tuition if you have a family? This one is tough and always comes every three months starting in January.  You can plan for 1 year also to ensure you focus on your business.
  • Have you planned for feeding? For single people this can be managed but for family people children don’t know anything like I don’t have money, at least plan a minimum monthly food expense for your home.
  • Prepare your mind that in the next one year at least there is no luxury or extreme comfort for you and family, everyone must be prepared and you must prepare your family if you have one on the impact of your decision. I mean your immediate family if you are married, please don’t tell extended family they will discourage you. You must be mentally ready to take up this adventure.
  • Then quit if you have 1-4 taken care of , you are surely ready to quit your job in Nigeria or Africa, there is nothing like having a good job and earning well and suddenly you turn to a beggar because you wanted entrepreneurship.
  • This is a bonus point: if you must partner, ensure they are people with like minds, same believes and ready to put in the same quota of sacrifice you are about to make, it’s better not to partner than partner with someone that will add to your headache, especially if they still keep a day’s job and you are going in full time. They almost likely will not understand the challenge you face daily except they are coming as Investors into the business.

Having said all these, this is just a guide and not a guarantee that the business will succeed. There are other factors that affect business growth which is not part of the conversation here, but this gives you a good landing base on your first exit from paid employment. Entrepreneurship can be tough, demanding and ultimately rewarding, go in with wisdom and succeed.

You can also read this I found it interesting 10 Things You Must Do Before Quitting Your Job

To your success

Lawrence Obi

Growth

FOUR KEY COMPONENTS OF CAREER GROWTH

Everyone wants to grow in their career and reach the peak. No matter the nature of your career, you just want to be known as the best or at least top tier of the best in that field. To be among the bests is a conscious and deliberate effort applied over time until the goal is attained. Zig Ziglar captures the innate capacity to succeed in every man in this quote:

Man was designed for accomplishments, engineered for success, and empowered with seeds of greatness.”
                              Zig Ziglar

  1. This means we have that ability in us but we must be deliberate to harnessing them. So below are what I termed key components that would help you grow your career. Skills (Competence & Execution) this cannot be over emphasised, skilled employees keep top organisations ahead of the others. Your skills differentiate you from your peers. By skills I mean: business skills, technical skills or leadership skills, these three areas are the key things organisations look for in candidates. You must develop competence and be able to demonstrate your capacity by your accomplishments. Skills are built and acquired over time, so go ahead and be conscious about your growth and get the required skills you need.

“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’” ― Muhammad Ali

Organisations, Leaders and Managers want those who can execute with minimum supervision. This keeps you at the top of your career. You would hear statements like, ‘give it to Peter or Paul he can deliver on this project’. When critical projects are to be executed, your name will always pop up, and there is nothing like being in the mind of management as an executor. You will roll with the big boys and enjoy the privileges, otherwise your name will only be remembered when they want to downsize or reduce cost.

“Big jobs usually go to the men who prove their ability to outgrow small ones.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

2. Experience (Education or Knowledge): Experience is what you get by building and executing; you don’t wish it but must acquire it. It’s acquired from applying your skill from a particular set and that’s what makes you an expert in that field or work. Experience gives you an edge and amplifies your skills, your experience shows and enhances your capacity for better and more quality decision making. People and organisations want those who have done things before. They stand better chance in getting the right results. So if you don’t have experience in a field you are interested in, go and volunteer for an organisation doing such or work under someone to gain that experience.

“Every experience in your life is being orchestrated to teach you something you need to know to move forward.” – Brian Tracy

3. Right Attitude (Ethics): There is nothing that keeps you stagnant than having the wrong attitude to your work. It shows and amplifies  every other negative thing about your work; it magnifies your mistakes and puts you in bad light. I remember then as an employee I was given different tasks to handle by my boss I never complained, instead I executed them and came back with results. This improved my skills greatly and gave me a name as a ‘performer’, while those who kept complaining had a bad tagline as ‘lazy’. Having the right attitude to work makes you see every work or task given to you as an opportunity to grow and become better in what you do. Having the right attitude includes knowing when to deliver on a task, how to deliver it and what the priorities are for your organisation and the work per time. So develop the right attitude to work.

Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.” ― Oprah Winfrey

4. Network or Relationships: The network of the people you have determines how far you can actually go in your career. If you are skilful, experienced, have the right attitude and a good network of influencers or mentors in your organisation, the sky is your limit. Even in tough organisational politics you will still survive. Relationships are meant to help build each other; you must be connected with those who have more influence than you in your organisation, and those who can influence the course of your career. Your relationship must be positive and valuable to that person and you must make them to see it as so. Don’t be a pest but be the go to person they will always want to call to get things fixed for them, by so doing they will always remember you in the good times. One of the mistakes I made as an employee was thinking my skills, experience and work ethics was enough to get me to any length, yes it does but office politics is very real, you need someone’s shoulder to stand on. No matter how though it is don’t make enemies. Also read Career Growth and career-growth-vs-career-development/

“One of the greatest values of mentors is the ability to see ahead what others cannot see and to help them navigate a course to their destination.” — John C. Maxwell

I will ed with this quote from Danzel washington one of my favourite actors

“Show me a successful individual and I’ll show you someone who had real positive influences in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living—if you do it well I’m sure there was someone cheering you on or showing the way. A mentor.” — Denzel Washington

To your Success

Lawrence Obi