Our cat is always on the wrong side of the door. If she’s in, he wants out. Or if out, she wants in.
In business, if you’re Formerly Corporate, you might feel the same. You were in, and wanted out. Now you’re out, and while you may not want back in to your old job, you may want in to new clients and new markets. Let’s talk about some ways your view from inside the corporation can cloud what you see as possibilities now that you’re outside.
I’m preparing for a podcast interview later today with JenningsWire, and thinking over the Formerly Corporate Outlooks that really hurt in the small business world. These can have big negative impacts, and the sooner you get over them, the better.
1. There’s a great unmet need, and I’ve got the answer for it.
For people coming out of corporations (and remember I was one of them), the idea that we have all this knowledge and training that the poor little Main Street business owner never had the chance to acquire is pretty…well, patronizing is the word that comes to mind. Whether your expertise is in marketing, or strategic planning, or corporate sales, or hi tech, chances are very high that what worked in the corporate world does not translate directly into the small business marketplace.
2. I can bring corporate skills and approaches at a price that the small business owner can afford.
Most small business owners can smell this a mile away. It rarely works, and they know it.
Why? Because the resources you had to support you in your old job are not there for you as a small business. A start-up marketing company almost went broke because they promised what they had been able to deliver when working for a larger organization. By the time, they did the design, programming, placement and follow up (and had to hire help because it was too much for them to do alone), the projects were losing money. And their target market wasn’t willing to pay for profitable projects. They had to scale back, both the client’s expectations and their own.
3. Business challenges just scale with size.
Which way do you think that would go? The bigger the business, the more challenges? Maybe. In some things, yes. But in some things, no. You’re heard of economies of scale. Procurement can get easier with size; more people to manage, coach and pay, not so much.
And sometimes, the smaller the business the bigger the challenges. Keeping all the balls in the air with only two, or a few hands is tough. So is the isolation of a small business owner. So is creating and maintaining a presence in your marketplace at a price of time, money and energy you can afford.
How to get over some Formerly Corporate limitations, fast.
Ask your prospects and clients what they need in your area of expertise. Don’t presume, even if you are an expert.
Price carefully. We all know you can’t get something for nothing. You also can’t give something for nothing and stay in business.
Pool your resources. Co-market with another business, or with your local business organization. Share an admin person. Hire the professional down the street to do things you are not so professional at.
Focus on your new customers, and their needs, not your old corporate customers. Live in the money world of your customers, not in the old one of seemingly infinite cash flow. Husband (and share) your resources wisely.
You’ll enjoy the view, and may just see new opportunities that you had overlooked before. Sometimes the cat sees an interesting prospect in the backyard, and stays out there