I Want To Quit My Job And Start A Business!

The Right Way To Quit Your Job And Start A Business

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Eight out of ten startups fail, and how badly do you think the entrepreneurs behind the failed businesses wish they could go back to their old jobs?

Well, the good news is, if you follow some of the tips below, you may be able to go back to your job if your startup doesn’t work out the way you hoped:

• If you’re working on your business ideas outside the hours you’re working for your employer, that’s okay. If you’re working on your business while you’re at work, however, that’s stealing. It may be difficult to focus on the job you’re doing when your head is filled with dreams of starting your own business, but, you have to buckle down and do great work. This is the last chance you’ll have to make an impression on your employer, and you don’t want that impression to be “stole company time for personal projects.”

• Maybe you’ve not written your resignation letter yet. Maybe you wrote it months ago, keep it in your back pocket at all times, and are just waiting to slap it on your boss’s desk. Regardless, make sure it’s short and sweet.
Give your employer a two-to-three-sentence letter that tells them how grateful you are for the opportunity to have worked for them, and how much you’ve learned.

Your resignation letter is also your two weeks notice. Understand the situation that letter puts your employer in; they now have to find someone to fill your spot, either via a backfill or hiring. That’s going to take them time and resources. In other words, you just made more work for them. So, make sure your resignation letter is respectful, not only for the opportunity but also of the plight you’ve just put them in.

Your letter of resignation is an important professional document that ends a professional relationship; the content within should reflect that.


• Whenever possible, give your employer the full two weeks of a two-week notice. If, for whatever reason, your employer needs more time from you, give it to them. People quit. You may feel like you’re the first person who has ever done this, but you’re not. What makes you stand out is either the incredibly rude and selfish things you do as an employee, or the kind, thoughtful, and helpful things you do.

It’s what gets you promoted, and it's what will get you your job back if you can’t make the startup dream work. So, if your former employer needs help, and it’s in your power to help, do so.



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• When you go, don’t steal the company’s clients upon departure. It’s important to start your business fresh, with a clean slate and clean reputation. Remember, as a startup, you’re small. It’s a strength: you’re nimble, customized, fast. But you’re also small as in easily crushed by a big, angry business with more reach and power than you.

If a big business feels like you're threatening its ability to turn a profit, it can hit you with legal issues, suck up your cash reserves, and send your business into bankruptcy. Even just the threat of something like that can destroy your reputation. It’s better to earn your reputation and customers naturally from scratch.


• Don’t recruit your friends to jump ship. By all means, put it out there for them. Let them know what you’re planning and that there is a place for them, but don’t facilitate their departure or sow seeds of dissatisfaction with the current employer. many ways, taking an employee is far worse than taking a client.

Losing an employee is losing information, revenue, and incurring the cost and energy of sourcing new talent, onboarding new employees, and getting the team back up to speed.


• Do not pocket the company stapler, a pack of stationery, or a box of pens. This is beneath you!


• Sit down with your employer and map out everything you can about what you do and how you do it. If they ask you to show someone else the ropes, do it, and take it seriously. If you leave and they call you with questions that only you can answer, answer the questions—even if you don’t like your former employer and don’t want to hear from them.


• Many entrepreneurs leave one business to start a very similar business, their way. If this is you, and you are open and willing to help your former employer, you may find that former employer will send you clients they don’t service the way you would.

But if you’re not willing to help them, they won't be willing to help you. Nor will they be ready to bring you back.


• Once you hand in your letter of resignation, work extra hard. Do not, under any circumstance, coast. Not only does this let them know that you were a valuable employee, but it also reinforces what losing you represents.

The ideal situation for you to quit and start your own business is one in which in your current employer says to you, “we’re going to miss you around here, and if you ever want to come back, there will always be a place here for you.”


• Once you’re gone, do not, under any circumstance, bad-mouth your former employer. New customers are sensitive to how you talk about past relationships, so this is a good practice to keep.

If your former employer wants to conduct an exit interview, don’t rip them apart with ridicule about how bad your boss is (even if he is). Remember, if you don’t make it as a startup, you may be looking for another job, and this employer, being your last employer, could be a reference!


• Even if your employer makes a very persuasive counter offer, humbly refuse. The entrepreneurial itch is a reality - it won't go away until you’ve scratched it, and once you’ve handed in your resignation you need to move on.

If it were about making more money, that would be different, but you’re not starting your own business because of the money, you’re doing it because you want a lifestyle change. If you want to be your own boss and chase a dream, staying for more money isn’t going to change anything besides the size of your paycheck.


• When your final day arrives, stay around, shake hands with your co-workers, tell them they’re great people, and make sure they have your contact information.


• Finally, do not burn any bridges. Even if you swear to heaven above that under no circumstances will you ever work for this employer again, don’t burn a bridge. Time changes many people’s perspectives, and when you wake up one day in the future, way before dawn (because you have to keep up with the demands of your small business), you may find yourself thinking … “my old boss wasn’t so bad.” When that day comes, you’ll wish you had that bridge!



Nicholas Kilpatrick is a partner with the accounting firm of  Burgess Kilpatrick and specializes in tax structuring and business development for his small and medium business sized clients.  Please visit our website at www.burgesskilpatrick.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Burgess Kilpatrick for more information on our firm.  This article was sourced from Mike Kappel, Forbes Magazine



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