Issue: September/October 2011
Entrepreneur's Toolkit: Plan of Action
Striking out on your own is a big decision and not one to be taken lightly. It means making sure you have enough financial security and support of others to put in the long hours it takes to get a business from idea to profitability. Phil Bessler, director of the Business Clinic at Baldwin-Wallace College; Terrence Martell, director of operations and business development at the Akron Global Business Accelerator; and Ronald Seide, CEO of Summit Data Communications, offer their advice for giving yourself the best chance for success.
Do legwork before you leave your job. Work on the new idea nights and weekends for as long as you can, says Phil Bessler, director of the Business Clinic at Baldwin-Wallace College. “If you can’t, reassess your life to make sure you can survive twice as long as you’ve planned without income from the new venture,” he says.
Put together a personal advisory team. The idea is to assemble a group of people who will be straight with you and tell you whether they think your idea is viable. “They have to be willing to look you in the eye and be brutally honest and frank with you,” Bessler says.
Don’t burn bridges. Just because you are leaving your employer doesn’t mean you can’t do business with them, says Seide. His company, Summit Data Communications, was started by five former Cisco Systems employees and is now one of Cisco’s strongest partners.
Put together a good management team. A strong management team will go a long way toward making your business a success, according to Martell. “In some cases, you have a scientist who has a Ph.D. in some discipline but little business experience, but they try to be the technology person and the executive management person and everything else,” he says. “That can sometimes be very challenging.”
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