• Saturday, June 15, 2024
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Insights: Transitioning from your 9-5 job to owning SME

Stakeholders advocate SME inclusion in Nigeria’s sustainability reporting push

When making that switch from employment to owning a small and medium enterprise (SME), many often believe their expertise gained while working in the corporate sector is all that is required. Although there are certain transferrable skills from that experience, many of the work habits built in the corporate environment are no longer applicable. In fact, if not controlled, they can be detrimental to your SME.

As you plan to start your business, you will need to replace old habits with new ones that are better suited for achieving success in your SME. The below recommendations will help you avoid getting in the way of your business by using corporate concepts in a small business context:

Learn when to say No: In a corporate environment, saying yes means you are a devoted and dependable team player. However, as an entrepreneur who wears many hats on a daily basis, saying yes to every work is impossible. If you stick to the old ‘yes pattern’, you’ll lose track of your priorities, become exhausted, and your business will suffer.
– What’s the solution? Say ‘no’ to everything but your top priority. To make progress, saying “yes” should be a conscious decision, not a default response.

2. Progress, not perfection, is the goal: When working for a corporate organization, getting your project as near to perfect as possible is frequently the aim. You go through a series of (sometimes almost endless) rounds of work until the person in charge says, it’s ready to launch. For your SME, if you have a lot of time, personnel, and money to get things “perfect,” then this is acceptable.

However, if you don’t, like many SMEs, choose the high-impact issues to concentrate on and accept “good enough” for the rest.

Don’t berate yourself for not being perfect, rather focus on learning from every opportunity and trying again next time.

Read also: Women access over 60% of MSMEs development fund- CBN

3. Your new ‘comfort zone’ is feeling uncomfortable: You’re accustomed to thinking ‘within the box’ rather than ‘outside the box’ as an employee. But as an entrepreneur, there is no such thing as a box. You are expected to notice things that others don’t, try out new ideas, explore new areas, and take chances. This calls for bravery, a thick skin, and the capacity to persevere in the face of rejection and suspicion.

4. Stop aiming to be the smartest person in the room: This may sound odd but it is purely the mindset of an employee. To propel the business forward, an entrepreneur has to surround him/herself with more intelligent people – it is about achieving a shared objective rather than looking to be perceived in a certain way. In many corporate environments, in order to thrive, you may have to be perceived as the smartest person in the room, but this is not true for a business owner.

5. Learning is a never-ending process: In a corporate environment, everyone has a job description that specifies the skills they must possess. However, unless you have the financial means to outsource what you’re not good at or don’t want to do, becoming an entrepreneur necessitates learning a variety of new talents. This may be learning how to use a spreadsheet, attracting investors, selling your ideas, perfecting your pitch, or navigating foreign technologies. There is no place for excuses when it comes to doing what has to be done.

6. Instead of thinking vertically, learn to think horizontally: This paradigm shift is most common among people who have worked in large organizations, where employees do a single or a few jobs while adhering to strict guidelines. Employees are also frequently taught in a few key areas, rather than having to know how to operate a complete company from top to bottom. You cannot afford to do only what you are good at or work strictly within your niche.

Ask any business owner, and they’ll tell you that one of the most difficult aspects of transitioning from being an employee to entrepreneurship is not necessarily the money, dedication, or even support. It’s all about the mindset.

So, if you’ve been putting off establishing your SME because you can’t seem to make the mental shift from employee to entrepreneur or you are struggling with corporate habits hampering you business, the above recommendations should help you.