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Independent entrepreneur?

Last month, I met Mario (this is not his real name). Mario is an Italian man between 40 and 50 years old. He has a successful international career. Until now, he has been working for two multinationals, both market leaders in their sector. Together with his family, he has lived in South America, the United States and Europe, so he is a real international and experienced executive. At several occasions, he has worked as an 'intrapreneur' for his employer (or this is how he calls it at least). In countries in which the company was not active yet, he has launched successful companies for his employer. These companies are still successful within the group and he has the right to be proud of it. In the course of time, he got used to the comfort offered by expat contracts. Now, Mario lives in the Randstad with his family. He asked me the following question: ’I would like to start my own company, but what is the right time to do it and is it the best option for me?

I am going to explain which factors have to be considered, in order to properly answer this frequently asked question.
  1. Are you afraid of taking decisions? Don’t you needlessly wait for more information or better circumstances? You only live once! Changes happen so quickly; nobody can look far ahead these days. The circumstances under which you take a decision, will rarely be perfect. Mostly, decisions are taken on the basis of restricted information.
  2. Are you afraid of choosing? It’s all about focus. Stick to the essence. People spend a lot of energy to choices they are considering, but don’t make in the end. Follow your heart. Dare to dream, but also to choose. Deep inside, most people do know what they want, but also what they don’t dare perhaps. Analyze this and determine some objectives when taking your decision.
  3. Once you have chosen, can you act with a 'sense of urgency'? People moving fast, are much more often 'in the picture'. They attract more attention and create more opportunities. Find the perfect balance between being pushy and alert.
  4. Are you afraid of selling yourself? Many people are brilliant in their room, but find it difficult to sell themselves. The fact that you communicate towards the outside world about what you can do and what you have realized, can make the difference in order to help you to become successful. This false modesty is unnecessary. Each executive and professional should dare to sell himself or herself in order to stay successful during the next few years. In this context, since 15 years, I have already got lots of inspiration in the United States, where selling is considered as an art. In America’s sophisticated capitalist society, salesmen are considered as the company’s core values. In Europe however, there is a totally different sales culture. We easily associate selling with second-hand car sellers who are continuously 'overselling'. They promise more than they can offer, which is completely not the case for salesmen who practise their trade the way they should. 'Be good and tell it'.
  5. Do you have enough endurance and can you start your own business? You need a lot of energy to do it. It is a process of trial and error. And what about your flexibility?
By the way, I advised Mario not to start his own business for the moment. To do so, you must be prepared to do anything. Don’t do it if you can’t fully commit yourself to it! The faster Mario will focus on pursuing his beautiful corporate career, the more chances he will have to stay successful in it. Focus is always the essence.

Paul

By Paul Donkers

"my purpose is to help improve strategy execution, to create high performing teams and coach for effective business leaders"

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