Preparing to cast off the safety net

October 28, 2007
Filed under: Coach's Corner — Tags: , , , — jonimar @ 5:00 pm

Q:  I want to leave my job to start my own consulting business, but I’m nervous about paying my monthly bills until I am up and running. What tips do you have for making a smooth transition?

A:  Doing market research, setting up business systems, even creating a financial nest egg can provide you with a solid foundation that will save you migraines later.

Actively test-market your service immediately. You’ll quickly learn what the demand is for your services, how much people will pay and which marketing approach results in a sale.

Gage people’s reaction to your message and fine-tune it until you can say it with confidence — and people are saying, “Sure, I’ll buy from you.”

New entrepreneurs tend to grossly underestimate the time and effort it takes to secure a new client, complete the work satisfactorily and get paid.

By taking on manageable contracts now, you will have realistic expectations based on experience.

Experiment with what to charge to cover your time, meet the client’s expectations and net a profit after expenses.

Aim to accurately forecast your marketing and sales cycle so you are not caught off-guard later.

This is a perfect time to create business systems. Standardizing will keep you from being overwhelmed when customers are knocking down your door.

Beta-test your business with a low-risk trial run. You’ll recognize when you have worked out enough of the wrinkles to smoothly step into self-employment without a safety net.

Originally printed in The Province, October 28, 2007.


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