Corporate to self employed and running your own business

Extracts taken from ‘Crew to Captain’ by David Mellor.

This is an excellent book for somebody considering going from corporate to running their own business or having a portfolio career.

Having taken this trip 6 years ago I can relate to many of David’s tales.

50% of small businesses fail in the first year, 80% fail in the first 5 years.

“Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.”

Can you work in isolation away from an office environment?I realised during my gardening leave that I couldn’t work from home 5 days a week; I like to have a bit of banter and company.

Are you used to covering all aspects of business? – I was used to all forms of support from PAs, IT and everything else –  now you are on your own unless you outsource.

How much money do you need to cater for your responsibilities and how well will you cope with these responsibilities? –  I was financially set up owing to my age and earning a substantial corporate salary otherwise I would have been straight back into corporate life as it is a huge change both financially and culturally.

  • Do you have a vision for your business?
  • Do you have the belief you can make this happen?
  • Are you determined to give it your best shot?

Mike Teasdale says “find an honest mentor who you can talk to. Not a friend who will tell you what you want to hear, but somebody that will – in a positive and constructive way – challenge and mentor you through the journey.

Remember the famous Gary Player quote ”the more I practice the luckier I get” I remember a colleague saying how fortuitous I was to pick up a large piece of business when in fact I had been keeping in touch with this client for 3 years as well as many others who remain prospects and with whom I still keep in touch.

Are you building a lifestyle business or one with value which you can sell on later and have an exit route? Mine is a lifestyle business which I intend running well into my retirement as I really enjoy it.

If you have a value business, do you have an exit plan and is your business going to be worth what you want for it when you exit?

Are you working in the business or on the business?

Do you control your budget closely?

Are you building around systems rather than people?

Do you have all of the quality people to focus on all of the business functions?

How high risk is your strategy?my risk was high as I was not known as a coach and many of my previous contacts knew me as a hardened sales manager. Fortunately I decided on a portfolio career where my Development Directors role 3 days a week covers my financial needs.

You would now be half way through the book which goes onto business planning and all of the important aspects of building a business, If you need to know more about this, buy the book at only £12 or contact or see my website if you want to reassess where you are now.


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