Here's an excerpt from an email I recieved this morning:
“I've read your blog for a while now and I really enjoy it. A long-term goal of mine is to open a marketing consulting firm, and I wanted to ask if you had any advice. Currently I have a bachelor's in Marketing, and three years experience in the media department of a large ad agency. Thank you for your time.”
Which got me to thinking that there are probably many people out there with a dream of starting their own business. I’m no expert on starting a business (I’m still working the “business” kinks out of this one) and I’m hesitant about offering career advice but I am inclined to quote Lewis Carroll from “Alice's Adventures In Wonderland.”
One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. “Which road do I take?” She asked, “Where do you want to go?” Was his response, “I don't know.” Alice answered. “Then, said the cat, it doesn't matter.”
1. Describe the type of clients you want to serve. What is their potential for growth, gross annual sales, their business philosophy etc?
In “Stop Selling and Start Hiring" salespeople list the characteristics of their favorite clients (the clients they gladly go above and beyond for). Once you consciously know what that client looks like it becomes much easier to find them. I prefer to work directly with small owner operated businesses with gross sales less than a million dollars per year but have the drive, desire and tools to double or triple their businesses within a few years.
2. What is your timetable for starting your own business? Your goal needs to be well defined, achievable and time bound.
3. What baby steps will you take today or this week to move closer to your goal? I could be wrong but I’m not sure that working in the media department of a large ad agency will give one the hands on experience to be a marketing consultant. That doesn’t mean “quit your job today.” It means being able to dream big and start small.
From time to time acquaintances tell me how lucky I am to be able to do something I love to do. Luck has little if anything to do with it. In November 2000 I made the decision to have my own company. I began by answering (and acting on) these questions. I invested 5 years preparing to let go of the skinny branch. On September 15, 2005 I quit my day job and haven’t regretted it for a single moment.
Are you clutching the trunk of your tree or are you out dangling from the limbs wondering what to do next? Perhaps you can start here and follow where the road leads. Let me know when you let go – we’ll celebrate.