4 Lessons Learned In Corporate About Owning a Business

When my corporate position was eliminated I used my applied knowledge to start a small business


Having worked in corporate banking for over 28 years in various positions of management and marketing, I have a fairly good background on the aspects of owning and operating a business.  My banking background includes extensive lending, investments, marketing and management.  So six years ago when my position at the bank was eliminated and I was displaced, I thought it would be a great opportunity to venture out and explore a variety of new things by starting my own small business.

My challenge was that I really was clueless as to what I wanted to do. I didn’t want to just start something for the sake of staying busy so I decided to take my time and do some exploring. I had many interests and yet none of them seemed just right.

So often, men and women have great ideas and want to start a small business and because of their lack of planning and proper execution, they often times find themselves frustrated and giving up before they even get started.  For me, since I was not expecting to be displaced from my banking position, I decided initially to stay home and play the role of “home-maker” which is something I had never done before.

After about six months of attending to my four children, organizing their sock drawers, and finding multiple uses for the label maker that was beginning to concern even my children, I thought it might be best to begin thinking about pursuing a small business venture.   So here are 5 basic questions to ask yourself when thinking about starting your own business and how I found them useful.  Asking yourself some basic but genuine questions can save you a lot of heartache, time and money.  Here goes…

1.  Why do you want to start a business? 

Is it because you think you will have more time, money or flexibility?   If you answered yes to any of these, rethink your strategy.  The reality of owning your business, at least initially, is that your free-time will be very limited, there is minimal flexibility, (you are it), and money is tight.  Often times, people have the impression that business-owners have more time and that their time is more flexible, when in fact, the opposite is more often true.  Owning a small business usually means you are in charge of everything and don’t have a backup person to count on.  Bottom-line, if you don’t do it yourself, it won’t get done.  Also, owning a business does not mean it will generate a lot of money, and that is okay too. It all depends on the goal of the business owner.  If you own a business and enjoy working it for what it generates, then your okay.

2.  How disciplined are you? 

Are you the type of person that needs someone to get you going in the morning?  Do you work best under pressure?  If you answer yes to any of these you may want to rethink this. Owning your business means you have to be really good at self-starting e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g!

When I was in banking, as much as I didn’t want to return to work after a fun-filled weekend, I had no choice since I knew I had a staff, and company management counting on me first thing Monday morning.  The pressure for the discipline came from outside sources and didn’t just have to be self-generated.  I think this is one of the most important questions of all.

Next page: Lessons 3 and 4


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