By Bruce L. Katcher, Ph.D. President, Discovery Surveys, Inc.
4 out of 10 employees do not
feel their work provides them
with a strong feeling of personal
Many employees look back on their many years of service to
organizations and say to themselves, "I don't really have anything to show for
it." They lack a strong sense of personal accomplishment.
They feel trapped in their jobs, but don't want a different job.
What they really would love is to abandon the shackles of organizational life
and go out on their own. They fantasize about starting their own business or
consulting firm. But they're scared. They are terrified of taking a risk by
leaving the security of their job.
Many rationalize that they will make the leap once their kids are
out of college, their mortgage is paid off, or once they have saved enough
money. They spend their idle time merely dreaming about what could have
This strong desire that many employees have to strike out on their
own is also a problem for their organizations. These employees possess valuable
untapped energy. Instead of providing the organization with creativity and
enthusiasm, these employees become a drain on the energy of others.
TOP OF PAGE
WHAT EMPLOYEES CAN DO
Here are a few suggestions for beginning the process of turning
the fantasy of running your own business into a reality.
- Make Certain You Have the Basics
If you are going to start a business, there are 3
essential prerequisites for success.
You must really know that there is a need for your product or
You must know that you can meet that need;
You must have a strong passion for meeting
- Do Your Detective Work
Open your eyes. The best source of information is
not the web or some government information office, it's other people confronted
with the same decision you're facing. Consider attending the meetings of a
professional association where you will find many people who were once in your
situation. While you are still employed, talk to as many people as possible who
have started the type of business you're planning. (If they might consider you
a competitor, talk to people out of state.) Ask them things like:
How did you get started?
If you were to start again, what would you do
What do you like about your business? What do
How much did you need in the bank to feel
comfortable starting your business?
How much revenue is possible?
- Phase Into It
Instead of jumping from your current job to your
own business immediately, consider intermediary steps like learning the
business from someone else. For example, if you want to be a management
consultant, work for a consulting firm. There you will learn how to market,
sell, write proposals, and set fees. Armed with this knowledge, you will be in
a position to eventually go out on your own.
- Just Do It
Life is short. Once you've laid the groundwork,
take the plunge. There is no time like the present. Give notice. Then plant a
stake in the ground by sending an announcement about your new business to
everyone you know.
TOP OF PAGE
WHAT ORGANIZATIONS CAN DO
Here are several ways that organizations can harness the
entrepreneurial spirit of employees and provide them with a strong sense of
- Begin an Intrepreneurship Program
Some organizations establish intrepreneurship
programs to provide promising employees with the financial and emotional
support they need to launch a new business within the organization. For
example, let's say that an enthusiastic chemist in a pharmaceutical lab
discovers a promising new compound, but the compound is unrelated to the type
of drugs the company currently produces. Instead of risking the employee
leaving to start his own business, the company can fund that new business. Or a
medical claims specialist working in a small practice, says, "I can bring in
more money to the practice by providing these services to others." If the idea
makes sense, the practice should fund this new business venture.
This can be a win-win situation for the employee
and the organization. The company keeps the employee from leaving and stands to
gain a great deal financially if the new business is successful. The employee
stands to profit financially by gaining a strong sense of personal
- Allow Employees to Work Part Time
Instead of losing an employee when they want to
start their own business in a different field, offer them the opportunity to
work part time. This will provide the employee with a safety net. The
organization may not lose much because many employees can actually produce the
same amount of work on a part-time basis as they can working full time.
Employees who want to enter the ranks of
the self-employed must do their homework first and consider phasing into their
business. Organizations that don't want to lose them should consider helping
them start a new profit center within the company or offer them part-time
I am very much
interested in your views on this topic.
Please reply with your comments and
suggestions to .
TOP OF PAGE
All material is © copyright , Discovery Surveys, Inc.,