Channel your Job Search toward Small Business Ownership

July 11, 2017 Steven Watson, PhD, CPRW Career Change

Looking for new employment often provokes in people a bit of soul-searching about career goals and the possibly of a career transition. For many, this might mean serious consideration about small business ownership.

This is no easy decision because, according to, 8 out of 10 small businesses fail within the initial 18 months.  So if you are ready to take the plunge into small business ownership, what can you do to keep from adding to this dismal statistic?

Here are 3 things to keep in mind when considering small business ownership.

Lack of a clear idea of what value the business will offer and plan on how to achieve established goals

It is one thing to decide to start a small business and quite another to decide what product or service to  offer to customers. A fundamental mistake many budding entrepreneurs make is not having a clear concept in mind about the business’ mission and short- and long-term goals.

Begin by thoroughly researching a business idea to make sure there is a need, sufficient supply of potential customers, and good chance for future growth. Many businesses have died on the vine because they started with what seemed to be a great concept but, for various reasons, did not tap into a sufficient market need.

Once it is determined that the business concept is viable, a business plan is critical. Traditionally, business plans have been long and somewhat cumbersome documents that included mission and value statements, financials, competitor analyses, and other information. While this type of plan is still required for securing financial support, current thinking on useful business plans is to make them more streamlined or “lean.” These types of business plans are most relevant for internal use in describing strategies and related tactics, staffing roles, budgets and forecasted cash flow, etc.

Creating a Strong Financial Foundation is Essential

There is nothing wrong with following your dreams in starting a small business. However,  lack of sufficient financial support to keep the business afloat in the initial 12 to 24 months will turn your dream into a nightmare.

There are a variety of methods to consider in finding financial resources for a small business. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) is a primary source for obtaining funding. In addition, angel investors can be a viable option for people who have innovative business ideas or who can make a strong case for bottom-line returns, sufficient to make the investment worthwhile.  Borrowing money from friends and family is another option, especially for people starting out with smaller financial requirements.

It is much better to overestimate the amount of money you will need to start-up and grow your small business. There always seem to be issues that come up, unanticipated expenses, and opportunities not foreseen that can easily drive up the finances needed.

Keep your Day Job if Possible

Another common mistake people make when starting a small business is to quit the job that represents the primary source of income before the new business is up and running. There is nothing like the euphoria felt when deciding to venture into small business ownership. However, avoid the temptation to quit your job. That job that you currently have may seem like a ball and chain, but it will keep you grounded long enough to maximize your chances of long-term small business success.

Many small business concepts lend themselves to part-time start-up, especially in the digital age when much of what we do is online. It is important to design a growth strategy that includes measureable achievement milestones and a solid idea of what level of success is needed to quit your job  and go full-time with the small business.


Small business ownership can be a lot like what many people say about owning a sailboat—“the best day was when I bought the boat and the 2nd best day was when I sold it.” That said, starting a small business is an important job search and career option for people who are able to handle the risk and demonstrate the patience needed for proper planning and financial stability.

job search, small business, small business ownership,

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