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Bring the Entrepreneurial Spirit to Your Day Job

written by: William Busse•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 12/17/2009

Many new entrepreneurs find it difficult to turn business ideas into actual actions. Hesitation often is a result of unfamiliarity with the business ownership process. Many have found it helpful to simulate the entrepreneurial experience within the context of their current job.

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    Dealing with Procrastination

    Potential entrepreneurs often discover they are unable to make a definitive commitment to opening a new business or advancing a promising idea. Whether due to financial considerations, security with an existing job, or recognition that an entrepreneurial endeavor is fraught with risk and uncertainty, these would-be business owners frequently remain frozen by fear of the unknown.

    There are many well documented ways to overcome procrastination in opening a new business including goal setting, replacing uncertainty with positive affirmations and pursuing a larger goal by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable increments. These are all powerful suggestions, but for many, the underlying apprehension over the multitude of new challenges they will face leaves them unwilling to pursue their dream.

    Education is the key to addressing these concerns, both in business generally as well as in the specific discipline. This may include simulating the entrepreneurial experience within the context of a current job. Recognizing that not all positions and professions lend themselves to this arrangement, it is interesting to note that many have successfully been able to replicate these dynamics with some remarkable results.

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    Creating a Company within a Company

    The two basic components of any business are the operational aspects and the financial considerations. Interestingly, prospective entrepreneurs often find the financial side of a new business more daunting than the operational side. Many new business owners have experienced managing people, job costing, purchasing and ensuring that the fundamentals of the business are sound, but become uneasy when dealing with balance sheets and income statements.boss employee happy 

    It is therefore worth exploring if these components can be harnessed together and departmentalized so that the employment experience can better simulate the entrepreneurial experience. It may be somewhat unconventional, but there may not be an exercise that will prove more valuable in the education of the potential entrepreneur.

    Progressive business owners are always looking for ways to empower their employees with more responsibility and accountability within their job. In fact, many small businesses encourage profit center creation, where each department receives a separate financial statement which tracks departmental sales, cost of goods, wages, benefits and hard costs such as pro rating rent, utilities and benefits.

    Among numerous industries, an example of such an arrangement might be found in the contracting business. Using a plumbing company for illustrative purposes, the separate divisions might include new construction, retrofit installations, service and retail. Distributors might be organized by product categories, professional services organized by individual disciplines and so forth. If the potential entrepreneur finds themselves in such a departmental supervisory position within a company, or feels such a position could be created without significant difficulty, the ideal situation for establishing a business within a business may be present.

    Creating a business plan that outlines the vision, sales goals, plan of action, and addresses financial considerations will impress the business owner or manager with the seriousness of the initiative. It will also prove to be beneficial as a learning tool where mistakes or misstatements won’t carry the consequences that might occur when actually seeking financing or investment capital. Demonstrating to an owner or superior how empowering the division will benefit the company itself will also be an exceptionally instructive exercise.

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    The Benefits of Simulated Entrepreneurship

    Many entrepreneurs that have successfully created such an arrangement with their employer found that it proved to be a perfect scenario for deciding if owning their own business was the right choice for them. There is simply no substitute for having the responsibility for planning and executing a sales and marketing plan, managing resources and reviewing the results of these efforts through a monthly financial statement.

    Conversely, others have found that the experience was sufficiently unsettling that they gained a greater appreciation for the predictability of their current job and realized a new respect for the difficulties their employer faces on a daily basis.

    In either case, gaining a better understanding of the challenges and responsibilities facing an entrepreneur without having to commit the time and financial resources to the venture will prove to be a outstanding growth experience.