So you’ve decided you’re ready to take the plunge, quit your job, and get your own company up and running. You have an amazing business idea you are ready to launch. You’re probably excited and nervous at the same time, which is perfectly understandable. If this is the case, you need to take a step back and remember that you simply can’t walk into work tomorrow with your resignation letter.
Being impulsive could be a huge mistake so you need to create a list of the advantages and disadvantages you will face when quitting your job. If you decide it’s still what you want to do, there are a few things you must put in place before you quit.
To help you get ready before your big day of freedom, I’ve highlighted 10 things you should do before quitting your job and starting your own company.
1. Do research.
Quitting your current job before getting your company off the ground may seem like the best option, but trust me, it’s not. The best way for you to get the wheels rolling in a safe and profitable way is to grow your business while you are still employed. This will make your transition from an employee to an entrepreneur a little smoother.
You can’t jump head first into building your new office block or warehouse if you haven’t done your research. You need to know that you have a product or service that you know the ins and outs of, that is unique, and above all, that will sell.
Background research you need to do includes, but is not limited to:
- Learning everything about your product or service
- Knowing your audience and buyer personas
- Researching your competitors
- Finding the right teams
- Knowing what your most profitable sales and marketing channels will be.
2. Create a business plan.
Once you’ve done your research, you need to put it on paper. Laying out a business plan before taking the plunge will be a key success driver. Your business plan will be something you will show to potential investors, partners, and other company stakeholders. It typically includes:
- An overview
- An executive summary
- A company description
- Your objectives, vision, and mission statement
- Information about the market and industry into which you are entering
- The strategy you are going to follow to enter the market
- The team you will have
- A marketing plan
- An operational plan
- A financial plan
- An appendix with more detailed information
3. Outline your funding options.
Before looking at funding for your company, you need to have your own personal finances in check. If you quit with just a couple of hundred dollars in your pocket, with rent, insurance, and your phone bill to pay, you may find it difficult to focus your efforts on your new company.
In addition to planning your personal finances, you will need to have a plan for your startup. You’ll typically have three options:
- One or multiple investors
- Your personal savings
- A grant or award for your project
Either way, you need to plan in advance because if you can’t get the capital to get started, your business will stagnate and you will be faced with very few options.
4. Create the structure for your business.
You need to have the structure for your startup in place before you can quit your job, specifically, your legal structure. There are various types of businesses entities you could become:
- A corporation
- A limited liability company
- A partnership
- Sole proprietorship
You need to consider:
- The operational complexity
- Licenses, permits and regulations
5. Leverage your resources.
Of course, you do not want to spend money if you can avoid it. You need to look at the resources that are currently available to you. For example, you may have a friend who is a web developer; they might be able to give you special rates and work for you on a need-to-know basis.
You should contact friends who have started their own business and ask them if they know a good accountant, marketing expert, and so on. Think about joining an online book club to learn more about entrepreneurship, try Read with Entrepreneurs by Cynthia Johnson.
Lastly, contracting all your experts could become expensive. Consider investing in online education for your team that will teach them skills, such as SEO, email marketing, and much more.
6. Leave on a good note.
Quitting your job without working your notice period, gossiping across the office, not completing your final assignments, and not training your replacement could be the worst decision of your life.
Of course, you are leaving to start your own venture, but you cannot be sure that will be a success or that your old company won’t come in handy one day. Leave without burning any bridges you may be able to cash in a favor one day. Your old employer may even send clients your way knowing that you are a trustworthy businessperson.
7. Don’t forget the smaller planning details.
As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to become the type of person that can see the big picture. Unfortunately, if you don’t focus on the small details, you won’t be able to mold the perfect company. Planning is key, and little things such as choosing the right social media channels, keeping up to date with emails, or even remembering to file your taxes are vital to your success.
8. Choose your new office space.
When planning the day when you quit your job, many assume that they will work from home until their company is off the ground and they have a team backing them up. Although this could work in the short term, it’s not a feasible option in the long run.
If you choose to work from home, you need to find a balance between your personal space and work space. Working in bed, on your computer, all day, every day will lead you towards an unhealthy lifestyle that could have a domino effect on the progress your startup makes.
9. Create a portfolio or resume.
You may think that owning your own company means you’ll never have to create another resume in your life. Wrong! Bulking up your resume and/or portfolio is a key driver when building your new business because you will need to prove to your investors, teams, and even clients that you are worth their money.
Remember that starting a new business is going to be more challenging than you imagined. You’re going to have to make the planning process your full-time job before you even see an income. That said, with the tips outlined above, you could make it the best, most profitable adventure you’ve ever embarked on from both a professional and emotional point of view.