Four Tips on Transitioning from Corporate to Business Owner
Date Published: Oct 21, 2022
Taking the plunge and leaving a corporate job to run your own business takes guts. Not only are entrepreneurs courageous in giving up the corporate safety net, but they dream big and have the confidence to see their aspirations through.
Flexibility is crucial to successfully transition from corporate to a business owner. Entrepreneurs must create a clear roadmap to attain specified goals, but also be agile in responding to fluctuating business demands like disruptive market conditions or budgetary restrictions. A business owner must balance knowing their business inside and out while adapting to relinquishing control to employees.
Despite the many tests of being your own boss, most business owners would not trade it for the world. To help guide your business towards success, here are four tips on transitioning from corporate to a business owner.
1. Trust Employees and Encourage their Sense of Ownership
When you start out running your business, you might be the only employee or one of a handful. As your business expands, you will not be able to perform all of the duties you did at the inception of your company. Very often business owners, out of a passion for what they do, continue to hold on to too many responsibilities. This usually creates bottlenecks in production.
Instead, learn to delegate. Empower your employees to do their jobs. Provide on-the-job instruction, outside training or upskilling to fill in any skills gaps. Trust your team to execute their duties, and just as importantly, encourage them to take ownership of them.
Taking ownership of decisions and work products is vital to employee morale. Opening up the space for employee contributions also means workers feel comfortable offering their insights. Getting fresh perspectives on business challenges yields better solutions than in a business culture where employee ownership of work is not inspired.
2. Create a Strong Business Culture
Be proactive in establishing a business culture by design, not by default. Determine what is important to you and your team. You will likely need the input of key stakeholders or the entire workforce, if possible. Consider mission statements, values and vision.
Once these foundation business culture ideas have been established, communicate them regularly. Use these as references when onboarding new hires. Refer to these documents during all key decision-making. Make sure you create a culture that walks the walk, and not just talks the talk.
For example, if employee education is a value, then include mentorship programs, office-led training or stipends for educational opportunities outside of work. Or if a service-oriented culture is prized, set the example in sharing and helping coworkers and advocate that others do the same. You may also want to set up an employee community service program outside of the office.
3. Model Inclusivity and Problem-Solving
When it comes to company dynamics and norms, leaders set the tone in virtually every regard. Transitioning from corporate to business owner means understanding that all employees will be looking to you, either directly or indirectly, in modelling behaviour. It is paramount that you act in a manner that creates a forward-thinking, positive work environment.
Regardless of your industry, two behaviours you will want to exemplify and facilitate are inclusivity and problem-solving. Communicate to staff that every team member has value and strengthens the team. Through true collaboration, your team can work more productively and generate creative solutions. Encourage your workers to have an open mind to alternative ways of doing things. Set the example that all ideas are welcomed and considered objectively, without bias of who is offering them. All of this goes far in creating a working group that is synergistic and solution-oriented.
4. Take the Time to Hire Strategically
When transitioning from corporate to business owner, there will likely come a time early in the journey when you need to urgently hire new employees. It is easy to get carried away in the excitement of a growing team and fill the role quickly. Resist this urge.
Rather, hire with your company vision and the entire team at top of mind. Smart business leaders hire employees who have the right skill set and fit into the company culture. A winning hiring strategy looks to broaden the team’s collective capabilities with a new team member who brings unique abilities to the table. In other words, you are not looking for another you, or another top employee, but someone with different value-ad skills.
Taking the time to find the right person may cause hardships in the short term but will save you greater headaches in the long run. A poor hiring decision can undermine employee morale, production and customer satisfaction. It is much easier to invest the time in bringing on the ideal candidate or upskilling an existing employee than cleaning up the mess of a rushed hire.
It’s All About Your Leadership and Employees
Transitioning from corporate to business owner is not just about knowing your industry, market niche and operational best practices - it’s about being a true leader. Motivate and inspire your team to be their best. Show sincere appreciation for their contributions on the job and interest in their lives outside of work. Ask for their feedback regularly and make adjustments to operations as needed based on their ideas. Getting this balance right, and consistently setting a positive example, will help you get the most out of employees, who are your key to reaching your business goals.
Priority Management is a worldwide training company with 55 offices in 15 countries. We have successfully trained more than two million graduates in Priority workshops. Our programs help companies and people be more effective and manage their workflow in and out of the office by providing tools, processes and discipline. Simply put - A Better Way To Work! Clients range from Fortune 500 companies, small-to-medium businesses and government/military employees.
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