In my business advice post for Purple Clover, I share tips for the executive-to-entrepreneur career change. There are habits, beliefs and behaviors from your corporate days that you do not want to carry over when you launch your business:
Most people recognize that traditional employment and entrepreneurship are different and therefore require different skills and temperaments. But surely, the corporate experience helps, right? You have extensive networks — you might even be able to sell into your former employers. You have skills and expertise — these could be your first offerings. You have the savvy that comes with navigating different environments — and therefore the savvy to navigate the different clients you might call on. However, there are also behaviors and beliefs that might be a holdover from your corporate days that no longer serve you when you strike out on your own.
“Sales is someone else’s job”
A former corporate colleague of mine who went into business for herself proclaimed assertively, “I don’t sell.” When I asked how she expected to get clients, she mentioned that she knew enough people from her corporate networks to keep her busy. That worked for a few months. Last I heard, she hired a copywriter for her site and was figuring out how to explain what she does.
In corporate America, you could focus on what you did best, and someone else was selling. If you were in sales, you could focus on that while someone else took care of marketing, finance, operations, etc. When you’re in business for yourself, you take on all jobs, especially sales. Even when you expand your team and can outsource functions, you still have to know enough about each area and be active enough in each to maintain oversight and quality control. Even when you can bring on a salesperson, you will still be the backstop in selling as no one will advocate for your business like you will. Whatever business you launch, you are in sales.
Read more Big Corporate behaviors and beliefs to avoid at Purple Clover: How to Be a More Nimble Entrepreneur.