ADVICE/FINANCIAL PLANNING

THE RELUCTANT ENTREPRENEUR

Joe (not his real name) lost his technology job and before he knew it his unemployment benefits ran out.

Unable to secure employment, he contemplated his options and decided to open a business and became what I would call a reluctant entrepreneur.

Are you a reluctant entrepreneur?

You are a reluctant entrepreneur if you:

* Have plans to only run your business until you find a new full-time position.

* Avoid planning for the growth or prepare basic business projections beyond six months or so.

* Fail to invest time or funds on professional advisors or visit small a business center’s for guidance in areas that you do not have expertise such as law or accounting.

* Use your credit cards instead of checking with bankers to see if you might qualify for a line or credit or small business loan to finance your business.

In order to weather the storms of self-employment, you will have to take some basic steps to increase the probability of success.

Economic uncertainties always exist and as many have experienced, no positions are beyond down-sizing. Sometimes it’s a good idea to have a side-line company just-in-case you have to make it your full-time gig.

It is what it is.

If you identify yourself as a reluctant entrepreneur consider that until you find full-time, permanent employment you will need to generate positive cash-flow in order to pay the bills.

You may not feel that you can carve out the time to establish a complex or formal strategic plan or have a meeting (with yourself if you are a solo-business owner) to establish the company’s mission.

Improve your chances of making it by implementing a basic action plan. Establish some quick basic plans in writing so you have a map.

If you put some of your plans in writing, it’s the first step towards successfully surviving, as shared in the excerpt from my latest book “Make the Leap: From Mom & Pop to Good Enough to Sell” (Infinity Publishing).

I fundamentally believe and have learned from experience that getting the right people is more important than strategy. The right people will literally point you in the direction of the right strategy.

In regards to strategies for companies, particularly for small companies, I think the following steps are key (again assuming that the right people are on board):

- Recognize the strengths of your competitors. What customers will they fight tooth and nail not to lose?

- Recognize that going after their prime customers may trigger a vicious response. Therefore, it may be better to pursue a market niche that competitors will not or cannot enter.

- Figure out what competitive advantage you have or what competitive advantage you could create.

- Think about what you would enjoy and what would be fun.

Eventually, a viable strategy will evolve from talking to customers, suppliers, competitors, and, most importantly, by listening to your employees.

You can get what you want!

Remember, whether you are just hanging in there until you find a job or running the business for the long-haul, utilize this opportunity to network, re-discover related industries and improve your skills.

Joe was able to leverage his business and find a permanent job, while bidding on a project. Last I heard he was making more than he did with his former employer and now feels more confident that he has a growing network and should not hit the unemployment line again. If he does, at least he has a great strategy!

Genevia Gee Fulbright, CPA is President & COO of Fulbright & Fulbright, CPA, PA, a business strategist, tax advisor and author of Make the Leap: Shift from Corporate Worker to Entrepreneur and most recent book Make the Leap: From Mom & Pop to Good Enough to Sell (Infinity Publishing). Her sound financial planning advice tips can be read regularly on www.urbanthoughtcollective.com. Visit Fulbright at www.makeleap.com.


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Comments

August 22nd, 2008 at 10:03 pm thelma says:

Very helpful stuff here. I’ll recommend the books for sure

August 22nd, 2008 at 10:57 pm Krista Wills says:

This is interesting once I get some chips to speak of, I’ll be sure to take some of this advice!

August 22nd, 2008 at 11:05 pm higherlove says:

you go joe!

August 22nd, 2008 at 11:20 pm heatmizer says:

We should all figure out more income sources times are about to get harder and harder!

August 22nd, 2008 at 11:42 pm doumind says:

Good suff!
always be ready for the unexpected

August 23rd, 2008 at 12:06 am Ed80 says:

Bad idea to start a business while you waiting for a job. What kind of ambition is that?

August 23rd, 2008 at 10:33 am Tawnie says:

Figure out what competitive advantage you have or what competitive advantage you could create.
GOOD ADVICE!

August 23rd, 2008 at 11:24 am Serious Lee says:

I was a relunctant entrpreneur as you call it and it failed. Without a passion for the business the business will not succeed. Running your own business is not a temp band-aid for not having a job. I learned that the hard hard way and came out more demoralized and in debt than when I started. Listen to what this lady is saying.

August 23rd, 2008 at 12:04 pm CeaseNYC says:

Taking this to heart - I’m all about stacking paper these days. I be watching Suze Orman alot and reading her books. I need to COME UP no doubt. So keep the tips coming Miss Fulbright.

August 23rd, 2008 at 3:28 pm Regina Holloway says:

Has nothing to do with this blog but just had to tag it up!
OBAMA + BIDEN = PRICELESS!!!!
Excuse my grafitti :)

August 23rd, 2008 at 3:59 pm renep says:

I also like that part about competitive advantage. Find what you are good at that others are not and use it!

August 23rd, 2008 at 7:43 pm Jessica Jo says:

As a business owner myself, this hit home, Ms Fulbright. Thank you for your insights.

August 24th, 2008 at 12:35 am jarah says:

I need to order your book.

August 24th, 2008 at 2:24 am Byron Black says:

what i take from this plan plan then plan some more. business and success does not spontenously happen. but they do spontaneous combust. so be prepared, then, prepare even more. good key to life not just business.

August 24th, 2008 at 7:42 am teresa lonner says:

yep yep

August 24th, 2008 at 12:27 pm James IV says:

I’m A Relunctant Worker For Other Peopleer

August 24th, 2008 at 1:20 pm PATRICK LOO says:

UPLIFTING n EDUCATIONAL - WELL DONE n KEP EM COMIN

August 24th, 2008 at 2:32 pm Black Market says:

There is nothing worse than being caught unprepared! I liked this one

August 24th, 2008 at 2:38 pm choppy says:

self employment is scary but I supposed we have to think about that kinds of thing. You are providing a great resource

August 24th, 2008 at 4:56 pm culturepop says:

opportunity is preparation waiting for execution!

August 24th, 2008 at 5:05 pm olive branch says:

education our people about the future is right on

August 24th, 2008 at 5:43 pm Nu yawk says:

I’mma get to this point on everything

August 24th, 2008 at 6:53 pm MR TIBBS says:

I own my business would have it any other way

August 24th, 2008 at 7:20 pm buttabrown says:

How did you get started in the finance game?

August 24th, 2008 at 9:43 pm Sooth sayer says:

Always an inspiration
thank you

August 25th, 2008 at 9:40 am Stephanie says:

Also great information on your blog entries. Thank you. I’ll have to check your book out as well.

August 25th, 2008 at 11:03 am Tina says:

Those who are fearless and take risks are those who are wealth. Even so the idea of a side gig is a great idea. I need to supplement my income right now. I really didn’t know where to start so this information is very helpful in getting me going. Thank you Ms. Fulbright. I needed this.

August 31st, 2008 at 5:02 pm Genevia Fulbright says:

Thanks for the positive feedback!

When I first started my career I was determined to find something I was passionate about that motivated me daily.

After I obtained adequate experience in my field I ventured into the entrepreneurial arena and have not looked back.

I realize that self-employment is not an option for everyone but if you do find yourself bit by the entrepreneurial bug the best advice
that I can share is to remind you to network, research and plan, plan,
plan.

- Genevia

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