The brave move from the corporate world to startup

Where to start ?

Being completely new to this blog concept, I am somewhat intimidated by it but have decided from the very start that I write to inspire and I write to share my lessons learned, and I hope that readers will enjoy my snippets. As I know you do not have much time, I will try to condense my micro advisory thoughts into digestible narratives that you can use.

My path to success

Today’s contribution comes at the beginning of my new professional story-an advisory business with a difference.  But before we go into that, I think its important to share something of my past with you because it has for sure led me to where I am today and the wide exposure to diverse people and business has provided me with an umbrella view of corporate, legal, NGO and Government activity.

I am an Irish lawyer who came to the Balkans 25 years ago. It was a bit of wrong time wrong place story but suffice to say I made the best out of the time and place and today I have launched Gannon Advisory having left the large regional law firm I established and developed.

Moving from a corporate structure into a start-up is interesting for many reasons, not least the multitasking element. 

In this first blog I will outline 10 issues you need to consider when leaving a large corporate/ structure to set up on your own.

1. Understand your decision

For whatever reason, you have decided to leave a large structure behind you and take your chances in the big wide world. Even before you start to actually DO anything about your new venture, I suggest you write down the WHY you made the decision and hold on to that paper so that when you have your bad days you have something tangible to remind you why you are doing what you do.

2. Be prepared

Whilst we can never fully plan for everything, its important to put a structure on your new process/ venture so that you do the right thing in the right order. In your previous life, you never had to think about so many practical little things which maybe someone else did. Now you have to do it yourself and you have limited resources with which to do it so you need to get the order right

3. Be a good leaver

Given how small the world actually is, try to maintain a positive view of your former employer. Who knows, they may be your biggest customer yet or at least they may endorse what you are doing which buys you free PR. Remember what you have learned and why going it alone is going to be so much better.

4. Have your savings

It’s going to cost. No matter how well organized you are, the energy and financial resources required to get your new business off the ground is going to be more than you think. Setting up the company means lawyers, notaries, and a bookkeeper. Find a space if you have to and bargain big time on rental and make sure you get the best web design team you can afford as your digital presence says a lot about who you are and how you want to be understood.

5. Run for your clients

Day one and every day thereafter you need to be meeting people and interacting with clients/customers as you go to the market and establish your name/brand/product. This requires a massive amount of energy but its what you need to do. Make strategic lists. Depending on the sector you are in, you need to meet and connect with influencers and intermediaries. 

6. Delegate what you can

IF you have the cash to be able to pay for support, do it. It’s worth every penny to be able to offload the back end/admin work that you should not maybe do yourself at this stage. If you don/t have the cash to pay for support, keep everything very very simple but do your admin every day. Do not let it pile up. If you do, you will have to disentangle the mess later and it will take much longer

7. Give yourself a launch date

Even if you don’t stick to it, you have an internal deadline which is great as once you know that, you work towards and then it is more likely to happen. Take on more than you think you can handle to make it happen. You will feel great when you achieve it and that confidence will sell you/ your product later

8. Communicate, communicate, communicate

This is an opportunity to set up a communication style that is authentically yours and when meeting new people and developing your team it will define the new culture you are seeking to create. So, get it right from day one. And that includes listening. 

9. Visuals matter

Depending on the sector you are in, how you look will also define you and your future client base so pay attention to every detail. How do you compare with your competitors? How can you differentiate yourself from competitors? Take more time to look at this. Then look at the sales channels and social media around your business.

10. Pace yourself

It’s a marathon so make sure to take time out. Meditate, do your sports and get enough sleep. It makes all the difference to your decision-making process and at this startup time, this is success or failure time so looking after your mental health is a key part of that.

Not sure if I would bother with this train of thought now after I added the above

There are many elements of my transition I could focus on, but the one for today is that of having the courage to take the plunge. Delving into the unknown and unsure is a daunting prospect but leaves us feeling alive and somehow in control of at least some aspects of our lives. We confirm that we are actually alive and have some control over planning our future, rather than floating along. 

We live in interesting times for sure and there are challenges all around us but today’s lesson learned is that we need to make fear our friends and just take the plunge both personally and professionally. As the Nike advert goes- Just do it– and that’s a motto for us all when considering change and new careers. 

In the meantime, feel free to reach out to us. We are here to help and answer any questions you might have.