(This is part 2 of a 3 part series)
In my last post, How To Take The Entrepreneurial Leap, I talked about different options for taking the leap. The second option I highlighted was Grabbing the Lowest Hanging Fruit. This is a phrase we often use in my consulting firm when talking with clients about options that will get them some quick wins. – Actions that have a big impact with little effort. – This was the option I chose and is the most popular option if you don’t have lots of time for your transition plan – say 12 months or less.
Here’s what you can do to launch a business around your lowest hanging fruit.
Build a Business Around Your Current Position This options works great if you like what you’re currently doing at work. This is simply doing what you are already doing but for multiple companies. Imagine that you’re already in business for yourself and your current employer just happens to be your largest client. Now, think about how you could offer what you’re doing to other companies that need your help.
This can take different forms and can be a gradual or abrupt transition. Sometimes it’s as simple as establishing a sub-contracting arrangement with your current employer. You continue working on your current projects, but are now free to go after other companies to offer your services. A friend of mine took this route when she had her second child. By sub-contracting, she continued working on her projects, but didn’t have to report to an office. The company benefited by keeping her knowledge and expertise, but was able to do it at a lower cost. Heads up: as a contractor you will no longer be entitled to employee benefits.
If sub-contracting isn’t an option, you could simply consult to other companies. This was what I did when I started my consulting firm. Look at what you’re currently doing and identify other companies that would benefit form your help and expertise. Your transition plan should focus on prospecting with the companies you identified and securing some engagements before submitting your resignation at work.
A variation of consulting you may want to consider is training. Training can be a great option if there is a lot of demand for what you do or if it has high price points. If you want to pursue training, your transition plan should focus on the courses you will offer, how you will market your courses, and developing your material and content. Caution: Don’t get so bogged down by the detail and getting it perfect that you don’t ever launch anything. Have a few key courses identified and some outlines, but realize you need to always be listening and responding to your market.
Here are a few examples of positions that really lend themselves to building a business around your position.
- Marketing – be it event planning, social media, graphic design, or communications there are many companies that need your help. In my hometown (the city and surrounding area has a population of about 60,000) a woman has a business that creates and sends out email newsletters for the local retail stores!
- Accounting – what business doesn’t need help with accounting and bookkeeping? For most business owners, this is their least favorite activity and they are glad to have help with it.
- Human Resources – remember 98 percent of all businesses are small businesses and they don’t have the resources or need to have an in-house HR department. They still need to comply though, could you help them with those processes?
- Legal – just as with HR, most small businesses don’t have a legal department, but still need assistance with items such as contracts and intellectual property. I recently had to help another business owner find an attorney to handle a problem with her lease. It was hard to find a business attorney in our area – and our town is the county seat!
- Information Systems – about a year after I had started my firm I ran into an IT problem and realized I didn’t have an IT department to call anymore! Can you help companies with systems integration, or give them unbiased assessments and recommendations?
I could go on, but hopefully, this has got you thinking.
But what if you don’t like what you’re currently doing?
Build a Business Around Transferable Skills This option looks at how you can use your existing skill set in a new or different way. The first thing you have to do is list out all your current skills. Sometimes it helps to first identify all the various activities and tasks you have done. Then you can see which skills are necessary to accomplish those activities and tasks. When reviewing your list you will often see themes emerge.
Once you have your list, grab a friend and brainstorm all the various ways you could build a business around those skills. For example, if as a part of your job you interview potential candidates, then could you help people with their resume writing and interview prep. My husband actually did that and ended up getting a book published. Maybe you’re in an administrative role and love to create order out of chaos, could you build a business as a professional organizer? Are you a department or team leader? Do people seek you out as a mentor? If so, why not consider building a business helping others with their careers through leadership coaching or career development?
Has this post gotten your wheels turning? Share in the comments how you could grab the lowest hanging fruit for your entrepreneurial leap. If you’re still not sure, contact me, I love talking through the possibilities with people.
Next week, we’ll look at pursuing your passion as another option.