On May 10th, 2016, we spoke about the professional transition from corporate to entrepreneur at EAE Business School (Madrid). The audience was composed by current MBA students and alumni interested in entrepreneurship. The presentation was made by Mónica Muñoz and Francisco Gutiérrez, co-founders and managing partners of The Innova Room.
Starting from our personal experience and enriched with that one provided by our network, we compiled those key points that can be a difficulty when leaving the corporate world to undertake a entrepreneur path. Along with these pitfalls, we identify the positive points that can encourage you to take the plunge. Weighing both, together with a personal reflection on our motivations and aptitudes, we can make the decision to take the step.
We identified 9 key ideas to achieve success in this personal and professional transformation:
- Self-knowledge. There is no universal answers to that but the one adapted to your personal characteristics, aptitudes and situation.
- Financial prudence. No matter how many business plans are made, uncertainty is inherent to a startup. And this advises to evaluate the own resources and to multiply the negative scenario by 3, in anticipation of a delay in the arrival of results.
- Boldness in learning and testing. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, test, correct and repeat. The sooner (and cheapest) you fail and know the reason why, the better.
- Fault tolerance (and reaction). To make mistakes is human, but it has to serve for learning and doing things differently next time.
- Look for who complements you (and be clear). A good team with complementary skills multiplies a startup’s chances of success. Look for those who complement your skills, not for your equals. And be clear to them since the beginning about the nature of your relationship: partners, collaborators or suppliers.
- Sell-develop-sell. The perfect product does not exist, but it can be improved with the incorporation of customer feedback. Therefore, the sooner you put a prototype (and better yet, a real product) on the market, the sooner you will discover its real potential.
- Communicate (ON and OFF). Take advantage of every chance to pitch your project. Opportunities can arise at an event, meeting, or even an elevator. Or you can (must) proactively develop your online communication plan, taking advantage of the diffusion advantages of your website and social networks.
- Have long-term goals and focus. Although the dayly life of a startup is full of small steps, and the scale of the project on numerous occasions forces us to watch the short distance, it is necessary to have a broad vision of where we are going to. How much time, and what actions facilitate us reach this goal.
- And take good care of yourself. Entrepreneurship can be exhausting, especially if you don’t have a team or partners whom sharing the tasks (and hard times). For this reason, it is necessary to apply work discipline to personal life balance as well. Blocking time in the agenda with people who make us happy, and lead a life with healthy eating, sports and rest habits, in order to allocate maximum energy to our project.