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Fire the boss: Top 9 steps before you make the leap to entrepreneur

You may have what it takes to become an entrepreneur but you still need to be careful- The following 9 steps are crucial

46% of SMEs fail because of the personal incompetence of the owner, not the business idea Becoming an entrepreneur because you hate your job is likely a bad idea Try out your idea on small groups to gain insights on potential customers, competitors, and the industry

A 2018 Bayt.com survey found that 60% of employees in the Middle East said they are thinking of starting their own business.

Only 17% of respondents did actually quit to start a business. 

Would-be entrepreneurs typically believe that they can solve a problem with high-quality services that the markets need. It’s a fallacy. 80% of entrepreneurs say they have superior services whereas only 8% of their clients agree on that point.

Also, 46% of SMEs fail because of the personal incompetence of the owner, not the business idea.

Here are more fascinating facts for startup failure rates in 2020:

  • 90% of new startups fail.
  • 75% of venture-backed startups fail.
  • Under 50% of businesses make it to their fifth year.
  • 33% of startups make it to the 10-year mark.
  • Only 40% of startups actually turn a profit.
  • 82% of businesses fail because of cash flow problems.
  • The highest failure rate occurs in the information industry (63%).

Discouraged? Don’t be, else you already don’t have what it takes to be an entrepreneur. 

By the way, entrepreneurs in the UAE can benefit from changes in the country’s labor system that allows for employees to take on part-time work in addition to their full-time roles, without having to obtain an approval from their primary employer so long as the employees acquired a permit from the Ministry. This means an opportunity to make extra cash, needed for savings down the road. 

Here are the top 9 things you need to do before quitting your job and going into business.  

Read: Top 5 reasons why Saudi co-working is the country’s future of entrepreneurship

1. Prepare to work extra hours

As an entrepreneur building a business, working long hours even for less than the hourly minimum wage, and dreaming for better paydays in the future, is a pre-requisite.

You’re going to have to pay attention to things like the success of your website, sales, customer questions and concerns, finances and much, mistakes made, and much more. As your business expands, all of these things can amplify, and you’ll have to handle that stress head-on.

2. Think about why you want to become a business owner 

Becoming an entrepreneur because you hate your job is likely a bad idea. Having an entrepreneurial idea that you absolutely need to follow and see where it goes is what you need a clear picture of before you quit. 

Determine which market segment your new business will target.   Remember, these competitors have a head start on you, and you’ll have to play catch up quickly.

Also, define your service area. You can grow a successful business locally, regionally, or globally. 

The best niche business ideas solve a problem and fill holes in the market that consumers need. Do some research and see if many competitors have already beat you to it and what experts are saying about it.

3. Get a business plan

After you gather information, conceive a business plan that details what you will offer, who your target customers will be, and how you will fund the company. It can start simple and you can fill more details later. 

4. Test your idea 

Try out your idea on small groups to gain insights on potential customers, competitors, and the industry. Find a few people that you think would be your ideal clients. Ask them about their biggest needs, fears, and aspirations related to the business idea you plan to pursue and if your product or service is in line with their real needs? A viable business is an intersection between what you’d like to do and what others will pay for.   

If you can, test your company idea by launching on a small scale on the side, while still working your day job. 

5. Find a team

Find believers and supporters in your idea and who are willing to contribute in-kind towards launching the business. They will become partners or employees depending on their effort. Your network should include experts who can offer valuable advice, from financial consultants to industry veterans.  

Read: Applying for jobs daily? Not getting hired? You may have missed this key clue

6. Set short- and long-term goals

Be prepared to think carefully about where you want to position yourself and your business in one month, one year, and five years. Keep regular notes in a business and marketing calendar on the goals you hope to accomplish, when you hope to complete them and what steps you’ve taken to get follow-through.  

7. Create an escape plan from work

Consider the amount of money you should set aside in the early days until your new venture can sustain itself.  Ask if you could run the business from your home or will you need an office space?  You also need to take time out to decompress from your nine-to-five job, so you’re fresh to start your new venture.

8. Become an “I’ll do it” type person

If you want to thrive as an entrepreneur, you may no longer be able to say, “That’s not my job.” When you own the company, everything is your job.

These hands-on experiences can help you train others, and grow as a professional.

9. Take the leap

Taking the plunge is the scariest part. No matter how much planning and preparation you have gone through you are always going to feel fear when starting a business. The key is not to let fear prevent you from taking a step forward.