Tips To Creating A Vision of Your Business: Critical Considerations

Every great ambition begins with a vision of what can be. The difference between those who attain those dreams and those who don’t is how well they shape that dream. This is what separates the visionary from the dreamer. A visionary will take the raw dream, and mold and shape a clear picture of the end result: constructing a blueprint that will guide the enterpriser to ultimate success.

Molding your dream as a self-employed enterpriser will require progress through a process of research/investigation. Here are five tips to shaping your vision.

  1. What is the product or service that will form the basis of your enterprise? In business jargon, this is your core business. Do these involve certain core skills that you possess (e.g. graphic designer, carpenter, chef, etc) or will your business be built around your knowledge and/or experience (e.g. consultant, physical therapist, former residential construction project manager). This may sound like a simple question to answer but consider it carefully. It’s vital that you marry your core business with market opportunity.
  2. What is the opportunity? Is there an established market for your enterprise? Is there room for a new player (you) in this market? Assessing the market potential, that is to say, the amount of opportunity, will give you a preview of how successful your new enterprise can be.
  3. Where do you see your enterprise in five years and what will you be doing? This is another critical consideration as it will shape the format of your business. For example, do you foresee needing to hire people in the future or do you see your enterprise as a “1099er” type venture in which you are the sole provider of services? Answering these questions at the outset will help to avoid costly mistakes or disappointment in your working life as an entrepreneur.

The Path to Picturing Your Enterprise 

Answering the preceding three core questions about your enterprise is essential. However, what if you have insufficient data, or don’t have enough information to competently answer these questions?  Here is a suggested pathway. 

  • Research similar businesses – There is no substitute for seeing how someone else has done it. Unless you have created a totally new enterprise in a brand new market, there are probably ventures out there that have similarities to yours. Find them. Study them. Learn their histories.
  • Talk to people who are in similar enterprises – In addition to doing research on businesses like yours, speak with those engaged in similar enterprises. Not surprisingly, people are more than willing to talk about their enterprises, as most are proud of what they have accomplished.
  • Get to know people who are self-employed – The more self-employed people with whom you speak, the more perspectives you will get on what it’s like to be an enterpriser. 
  • Analyze and assess the risks and potential earnings – Before going into any enterprise, be sure to go in with eyes wide open. This may seem obvious, but it’s amazing how many people I have met who started enterprises based on informal or incomplete research regarding potential profitability. For example:

– If you are starting an enterprise in a new market, start-up costs will be higher and time required to turn a profit may be longer.

– If you are launching an industrial or heavy commercial enterprise, you may require capital. This is also true for inventions that require manufacturing.

  • Determine the human requirements to make your business work – Can you start your enterprise without employees? Will you need to hire people, or to use specialty contractors? The number of people needed for your business is a major component in launching your enterprise and it’s vital that you do a thorough assessment.

One of the cardinal rules of a start up is that the enterpriser –– you, in this case –– have a clear vision of what the business is, how it will work and what form it will take. 

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Need some guidance and direction as you plan your own enterprise. Check out  NEVER WORK A DAY IN YOUR LIFE!  This handy go-to-guide provides a concise, step-by-step introduction to self employment.

The Self Employed Life Is Looking More Attractive To More Workers.

 

Thinking of making the jump from employed to self employed? There may be no better time.

Making it to the corner office or C-Suite may no longer be the American dream. 

Reports and studies show that the self-employed will grow to 33% of the workforce in the coming years. According to a recent study by Fresh Books offers accounting and invoicing software services designed for self-employed professionals, some 27 million Americans will leave full-time jobs from now through 2020, bringing the total number of self-employed to 42 million. FreshBooks surveyed thousands of self employed and employed persons to form the basis for the report.

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) –– which counts self employed workers in different ways–– reported in one count that  there were about 9.6 million self-employed workers in 2016—and BLS projects this number to increase to 10.3 million by 2026. That’s a 7.9-percent growth rate, slightly faster than the 7.4-percent rate projected for all workers. Some of this growth is in areas where self employment is more prevalent such as farming, carpentry, hair styling, childcare and real estate agents.

    However, there will be significant growth among the self employed in the coming years within the arts, design, entertainment, sports and media industries, with 25 percent of jobs in these occupations are projected to be for self-employed workers in 2026, the highest concentration of any group says BLS.

   Opportunity for the self employed is clearly growing, but what about the desire to hire yourself? Well, that’s on the rise too as a a genuine mind shift is occurring within the ranks of the traditionally employed.                                   

What’s Driving This Mind Shift?

Along with this new way of thinking, employees – especially those in large corporations – are experiencing problems at work that have always been present, but have now mushroomed to the point of exasperation. Here are a few common refrains:

  I am doing twice the work that I did before, and I’m getting the same pay.

  My department has lost people, and they’re not being replaced. Management is making us pick up the slack. I can’t get my real work done because I’m saddled with non-essential things such as team-building exercises, management seminars, endless meetings, and other, politically-driven nonsense.

  • It’s difficult to be really productive when operating systems and procedures are constantly changing. Just as soon as I get used to a system, and can be productive with it, the process changes.

Lack of Productivity: Lack of productivity in core businesses often leads to non-competitiveness in the marketplace, and that leads companies to seek profits from acquisitions, or by selling off parts of the corporation, which tends to make the entity even larger and less nimble.

Office Politics: Big corporations get the rap for this problem, but in my experience, it’s present in smaller organizations as well. I have worked for organizations with less than 30 people in which office politics drastically affected productivity and growth. In mega-companies, office politics just becomes more prevalent.  

Unrealistic Work Goals: The growing trend in the corporate sector is to grow LEANLY, which – in the new workplace – sometimes translates into making do with fewer people. People who leave are not replaced, and the remaining team members are asked to carry increasingly larger burdens, often reducing work quality and employee satisfaction.

 High Turnover/Constant Change: In my discussions with corporate employees, many report that they feel frustrated and unproductive with frequent changes in managers and/or management policy, work practices, IT systems, and other aspects of daily work life.

The Self Employed Life Is Looking More Attractive                         To More Workers.                     

  From conversations with those seeking advice and insights into the self employed life, it’s become apparent–– to me, at least–– that the traditional employed life has given up some of the advantages it once held over self employment.  Among these are:

1- Job Security: This perk has been declining in American industry since the  1970s and pretty much went out the window during the Great Recession. One of the popular arguments against self employment was “lack of security”.  Workers are realizing in greater numbers than ever before that you are more   secure when you employ yourself.

2- Health Plans, Pensions, Benefits: These perks of the traditional employed life are on also on the decline. While Health Plans are still available, employers are doing what they can to reduce this cost by hiring more part-time employees, shifting to alternative plans in which the employees pay more in to the plan. As for pensions and retirement plans, these aren’t what they were 40 years ago, but they are still many employers matching employee contributions.

3- Flexibility & Life Quality: This is one of the biggest factors driving new interest in self employment. There are legions of 1099ers out there who realized that they could work from home or set their own hours working in a gig environment and earn as much, and in some cases more, than they made as employees.

It seems like forces are aligning to make the time ripe for taking the leap from serf to lord of your own lair.

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Need some guidance and direction as you plan your own enterprise. Check out  NEVER WORK A DAY IN YOUR LIFE!  This handy go-to-guide provides a concise, step-by-step introduction to self employment.

 

Retirees and Laid Off Personnel Can Find Hope In Self Employment and Start Up Enterprises

 

Although the news today is full of articles regarding the increase in employment and the urgent needs for skilled workers in select areas of the economy, there are still a significant number of layoffs and forced retirements in corporate America.  Should you find yourself in such a distressing situation, look at it from a fresh perspective. It just may offer the opportunity to re-shape your working life and  enhance your personal life.

Necessity is the Mother of Opportunity. 

The stories abound of people who make something sweet from the bitter lemon of a layoff or forced retirement. Here are three examples of people who navigated this difficult transition.

DONNY was an executive vice president at one of the nation’s largest banking conglomerates –– living a life that he loved and had worked hard to achieve –– when he was laid off in the Great Recession. Although he had a modest retirement package and savings, Donny’s age–– over 55–– and a slow economic recovery were working against him. Three years later, his savings diminished and few interviews coming his way, Donny decided to go into business. He thought of his experience in banking when he was young, handling mortgages and title transfers. This was something he knew that he could do, so he began looking for a place to set up shop. He decided that since the nearest town was a county seat, there would be a need for these services. Nearly five years after he started, Donny is making a good living from his business and spending more time with his family.

HALEY was working as a field auditor for one a major accounting firm and hated the travel. With a two children under twelve, Hillary recognized that she wanted to spend more time with her kids before they got too old. However, she couldn’t afford to leave her job. When layoffs came, she viewed it as the opportunity she needed. The severance pay helped her to start a local CPA firm oriented toward small businesses in her community. Haley built a strong book of small business clients by keeping her expenses low–– working from home and working solo. Today, with a comfortable income, Haley has developed both a life style and work style that fit her well.

Convert Your Passion Into A Paying Enterprise

CHARLES is a passionate golfer. He loved to say that when he wasn’t at work, he wanted to play golf, and when he wasn’t playing golf, he wanted to talk golf. Charles was more fortunate than most in that he was a salesperson for a large manufacturer that produced control panels for utilities. Often, he would go on golf outings with prospects or clients who liked to golf, but there was all the other time he spent in meetings, or in the home office, where he dreamed of the greens. One day, opportunity literally showed up at his door when the regional VP of his company asked him to organize a day-long golf outing for a large party of clients. “I don’t want the club to do it, Charlie, they always screw things up. This is a job that I know you can do better than anyone.” And Charlie did do it better, because he knew and loved the entire golf experience. When it was over, one of the company’s clients said to Charlie, “This was one of the best golf outings I’ve ever attended, Charlie,” and then jokingly added, “You should do this for a living!”  Those words resonated with Charlie when his company outsourced their sales to an independent contractor and Charles was let go. In less than two years, he was selling golf event management services for large corporate and non-profit organizations.

Two Important Ingredients

If you look at these examples closely, you should notice that all three successful transitions have two common elements:

    1. Find a need and fill it: This old axiom is as true as it ever was. All three of these folks determined there was a need for their product or services.
    2. Marry your core skills/experience to opportunity: All three of our enterprisers looked at their core skills and experience, stripped away the corporate layers to which they were accustomed, and fashioned enterprisers around these core skills.

So, whether you seek opportunity first and then merge it with your core skills, or the other way around, these two ingredients–– when present–– will be integral in making the successful transition from employed to self-employed.

 

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ATTENTION HR outplacement officers: HIRE YOURSELF! is a course offered by Peter Ancone for the soon-to-retire and newly laid off employees. For information, contact pete@peterancone.com or call 904-342-8950.