Author and good friend of AcceleratingCFO, Dorie Clark, is releasing a new book this fall. Brian is in the process of reading a pre-released version of it (more to come on the book after its release). Without giving too much away now, it did make us think about the steps that entrepreneurs must take to achieve ultimate success. The life of an entrepreneur is all about risk and taking small, continuous, yet meaningful steps over time, rather than taking one giant leap as far as possible without momentum.
This blog is for the entrepreneurs out there who are thinking about changing jobs, changing careers, and starting out on your own. Here are some important considerations before you take that first step:
Get your finances in order: Right now, there are a lot of programs that the SBA is offering which can help entrepreneurs and fund new ventures. Also, mortgages or a second loan on a house may be advantageous now due to low interest rates. There are countless stories of companies who took calculated risks to get companies off the ground, e.g. Apple, Southwest, etc. The founders of these companies, and many others as well, committed themselves to their dream — now might be the time for you to commit to that side hustle or gig business you’ve been thinking about.
Put a safety net in place: Depending on what stage you’re at in your life, you want to plan for success, but have a safety net in case your business doesn’t take off as expected or takes longer than originally planned. Whether it’s a rainy day fund or retirement/savings account that you never touch, you’ll have peace of mind pursuing your dream knowing it’s not a do-or-die situation. It’s ok to assume risk when changing careers or the source of livelihood. However, you don’t want to do it to the detriment of family and friends, right?
Get into the right mindset: Having what it takes is a mindset, not an age or ideal net worth. According to Statista, in 1996, 38.3% of entrepreneurs in the United States were between the ages of 45-54; that increased to 51.1% in 2018 for the same age group. Clearly, it’s never too late to start, especially during the beginning stages of building foundational pieces. From writing a book to buying a franchise, motivation and age are mutually exclusive. There’s plenty of runway for you to pivot your career. In fact, experience in previous careers is worth leveraging as added value, particularly for those whose skillset is suited to consulting. That’s an entrepreneurial endeavor unto itself.
Know that you can’t do it all: The hardest thing an entrepreneur learns how to do is to delegate non-essential tasks to people who are best equipped to handle them. For the engineer who doesn’t like to invoice clients or the restaurant owner who doesn’t like to do her own digital marketing, assigning responsibility to others is essential and ensures that the business owner can work on the business, rather than in it. Adding consultants or part-time professionals to assist in particular areas is necessary to ensure profitability and cash flow.
Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t: Many times, potential entrepreneurs are their own worst enemy. There are multiple excuses and reasons why people stay in roles or jobs they hate instead of pursuing what they are passionate about: I don’t have enough money; I don’t know if I’m good enough; I am unsure if there is a marketplace for my product. The list is endless. What all successful entrepreneurs have is the positive attitude about what they can achieve and channel their energy into clearing the obstacles ahead of them — not making new ones.
Do you think Richard Branson or Jeff Bezos would have been able to fly a successful space mission if they focused on the reasons why they couldn’t do it?
Take-away: If your company is in the early stages of its life-cycle and you’re ready for the angel investing round or Series A financing round, reach out to Brian or Scott at email@example.com for a strategy session on the best way to raise capital in our current environment.
And to preorder Dorie Clark’s new book, click here.
Co-founders & Managing Partners