On February 25th, we took part in a round table at ESADE, under the theme “Entrepreneurship, a path for an EMBA“. On this occasion, Mónica Muñoz, co-founder of The Innova Room, participated along with entrepreneurs such as: David Feito, from Gemelolandia, Antonio Cobo, from Coolaboro and Rubén Gil, from Enjoy. In this post we present some keys to make a good transition between the corporate career and the entrepreneurial world. If starting a business always involves a load of risk and uncertainty, when a career in the corporate world has been completed, significant professional background is brought to the project, but an extra effort must also be made to adapt to the new environment.
How to transform the pitfalls in becoming an entrepreneur into advantages
1. Personal brand weakness vs. new visibility
When leaving a corporate environment, the vertigo in the face of the little presence of the personal brand can be strong. A period of transition will be necessary and work intensely on its development in order to enhance it. Taking this weakness to transform it into a strength, the new professional that emerges from this process will enjoy a much more powerful and personal personal brand. The focus will have changed: from the position held, to the person behind it.
2. Developing your own portfolio
Not only is the personal brand compromised in an initial state, but it is also discovered that the projects that have been worked on or led (on many occasions, with great prominence) cannot be cited as their own achievements as they have been developed within another structure. Unless you have combined your corporate career with an independent activity, there are few shortcuts to creating your own references in the short term. For example, it is possible to create an initial portfolio of referrals through collaborations with other entrepreneurs or independent organizations.
3. Lack of skills
In the same way, within an organization the work is specialized by areas or competencies, and the transition to the entrepreneurial world reveals the deficiencies in those areas furthest from our expertise. For example, in sales, finance or marketing. To fill these deficiencies, either complementarity is sought through partners or collaborators, or if the cost structure of the project does not allow it, it will be necessary to develop them at a level sufficient to allow the start of the project.
4. Scale change
The change of scale affects our competitive environment in terms of customer, supplier and competitor contacts. If it is a very big jump, it can cause us to see ourselves completely displaced from our initial position, and therefore forced to create a whole new network of contacts from scratch for the new project. This is even more significant when the step from corporate to entrepreneur is made by jumping to another sector.
5. Rhythms, habits and routines
On the daily, monthly and annual time scale it is necessary to create new rhythms. It is possible to adapt some milestones to our new organization, but most likely they will have to be created entirely to meet its critical milestones (very different from those of a mature organization).
6. Judgment and independence
But not all are pitfalls. Becoming an entrepreneur entails an important reward through the independence of action and the adoption of one’s own criteria. For independent people this can be an important career anchor, along with the possibility of continuous learning. Taking the reins of life, assuming mistakes and learning from them, is an important source of happiness.
7. Personal balance
This independence of action makes it easier to make decisions that bring us closer to our lifestyle, whatever it may be. Or at least have a long-term plan to achieve that goal, which depends on us more than on external factors. Everyone decides what they understand by personal balance and what their life purpose is. It can consist of an adequate balance between personal life and work, or in combining several entrepreneurial projects in parallel, or in living between two continents.
8. Last but not least…financial balance
Finally, the transition from corporate security to the uncertainty that entrepreneurship entails can be an insurmountable stumbling block for those who value financial security above all else. If there are other factors that drive this leap, this fear can be overcome by trying to reduce the risk. On the one hand, entrepreneurial activity can be combined with corporate activity for a while. But this has a limited time because the personal wear and tear can be significant, and there will come a point where the entrepreneurial project demands more attention in order to grow. On the other hand, if you want to start with full dedication to the new project, it is advisable to carry out financial planning, anticipating that you will spend a while without generating income (and multiply the pessimistic scenario by three).
It is said that Business Plans are meant to be broken, and not every project will require a very detailed business plan to start; What is recommended in any case is to make a minimum viable product (MVP), and test it with real customers. And being able to adapt it very quickly to where there is a greater demand.
We say goodbye with an image that summarizes some recommendations for the brave who launch themselves into an undertaking.