Just about everyone reaches a point in their work life where they consider acting out that tantalising fantasy. You know – the one where you fire your uber-frustrating Hitler-type boss and set off blazing your own trail to instant riches… But before you dash off your resignation letter, do yourself a favour and prepare for the transition.
There are three things you absolutely must do before you sign the work equivalent of a Dear John letter with a flourish.
1. Refine your idea and find some customers
Flesh out you concept on paper. Talk your business plans through with family and close friends or a business mentor. Work on the nitty gritty details such as who your ideal clients are, the exact services or products you’ll be selling… down to the prices you plan to charge. Develop your elevator pitch – the ability to tell someone what your business is about in the length of an elevator ride – and test it out. Keep refining your idea based on the feedback you get, and then go out and find some potential customers. You want people who will be ready and willing customers from your launch date.
2. Crunch the numbers
Work out what your breakeven point and how much money you will need to cover your costs before your new venture is able to pay the bills; then pay you a salary, and finally bring in a profit. Check and double-check your figures. Will people pay the price you are planning to charge? Will you be able to sell enough to breakeven? Are you making enough of a margin to cover all your input costs and overheads? If this is your first business venture get your accountant or someone with business knowledge to check through your figures and look for things you might have forgotten.
3. Plan your launch
Treat your business launch like a project you need to manage. Set a target launch date and list all the things you’ll need in place and assign deadlines to them. Do you needs premises, furnishings and signage? Do you need a website as an online brochure or do you need an online shopping cart? Draw up final price lists, set up social media pages and a Twitter account, print flyers, stationary, and business cards. Plan your advertising, opening specials, and buy in any stock you might need (if applicable). You need to project manage your launch for give your business the best possible start.
Finally, once you’ve got these detailed plans in place, and you’re tracking nicely towards your target launch date – then, and only then, is it time to pull out your employment contract. Re-read the required notice period and work out when to hand your resignation. Don’t plan to resign on the last working day before the launch of your business. Allow a few spare days of full-time focus on your new business just before your launch – this gives you breathing space to sort out any problems or enjoy a short rest if everything is running smoothly.