Every person who ever clocked in at work has had this thought: “If this were my business, I would run things differently.”
But what happens when you actually have the chance to grow your own company? I found out in 2012 when I started my own Merchant Services company called Dependable Solutions. I was only 30 years old, and I transitioned from employee to owner almost overnight.
The lessons I learned as I drastically changed roles helped me honor the business I valued enough to start and take the company to the level of success I dreamed of.
Here are five takeaways from my experience:
1. Don’t leave a vacuum behind when you transition.
Becoming the owner means you’ll have tons of new responsibilities, from customer relationship management to business development, marketing, and accounting. Before you step out of your previous role, have a plan in place to cover your former responsibilities so vital tasks don’t fall through the cracks.
It’s not realistic to expect to do both your former job and your new one, especially since ownership will keep throwing you curve balls. You may miss certain aspects of your previous job, but you’ll discover the importance of your new role as owner and CEO -- to work on the business as opposed to in the business
2. Don’t be afraid to redefine the status quo.
Merchant Services seems like an over-saturated industry to start a fresh company in. If you own a business you most likely don't go through a day without a salesman calling you and telling you that they can save you money. That is how everyone told me I should grow my business. However I was determined to grow it in a more grassroots approach. Going out and meeting with people face to face. This has been at the core of our success and growth.
3. Don’t be shocked if everyone doesn’t get with the program.
When things change, some people won’t want to go with the flow. They may choose to hop off the train at various stops. That’s not the end of the world. You don’t have time to waste on stragglers or stubborn people. Instead, invest in those who share your ideals and want to be part of the team that carries the company forward.
4. Find someone to lean on.
A major role shift is going to be stressful, no matter how positive it may be. Finding a mentor, business coach or trade organization of fellow professionals can be invaluable. Having a support system will give you perspective and lead to stronger choices earlier in your transition.
5. Be Honest With Clients
When change comes, it’s natural for people to feel nervous. Set aside time to reassure clients. Be open about what you envision for the future. Projecting confidence and being positive will help your clients feel more secure.
No matter what kind of company you’re considering buying or starting, whether it’s a law firm, restaurant, construction company or a sales company it’s important to consider all the angles of life as a future owner before you make the sacrifice to sign on the dotted line.
Transforming from an employee to the owner is a huge step, but if you have Character, Integrity, stellar ideas and the will to make the business your own, the rewards and unlimited potential of becoming an owner are worth every challenge.