THE BLOG

How to Go from Employee to Entrepreneur

12/02/2015 14:49 | Updated 14 April 2015

Every year, hundreds of thousands of new businesses are started, as more people realise the benefit of being your own boss, especially after a long career as an employee. So far this year, around 65,000 new companies have been registered, which puts 2015 on course to be another record year for new enterprise, which topped 581,000 in 2014, up from 526,000 in 2013 and 484,000 in 2012.

If you feel stuck in a rut with your current job and think you could do better job of running a company, here is some of my top advice on making the switch from employee to entrepreneur.

Start with intrapreneurship - if you are fortunate to be working an entrepreneurial or innovative company, chances are you will already be encouraged to make new suggestions, whether it's improving business processes or improving the product or service the company offers. However, any employee can adopt the role of company innovator, or intrapreneur, and often that role will be recognised by the senior management. It's a great way to test your entrepreneurial skills and business acumen, without the financial risk, as well as expanding your network. Look out for opportunities to improve, streamline, reduce costs, or improve efficiency, and speer-head those changes within your department or the organisation. It could be something as simple as a staff incentive scheme, becoming social secretary, or being responsible for reducing waste across the business, but whatever it is, make sure you own it.

Network - Join clubs, volunteer, go to conferences, contribute to forums, and read relevant trade magazines, white papers and journals. We are lucky in the UK to have quite an accessible enterprise sector, and an encouraging entrepreneurial culture, so make the most of the many hundreds of resources available to learn more about starting and running your own business. There are thousands of people who have made the transition to entrepreneurship and the majority of them have shared their stories online, via a blog, and in magazines and newspapers, so learn from their mistakes and remember their advice!

Have a support system - making the change from employee and entrepreneur can be a difficult transition, but there are ways to help make it easier. Of course, if you have an understanding employer, you may find that they are supportive of your ambitions and can perhaps offer you a more flexible working schedule, for example. It will also be advantageous if you can call on friends and family members to help get your new business started. That could just be providing useful and honest feedback, or providing financial help, or both, but until you can start generating enough income, you will be glad of all the 'free' help you can get!

If you feel ready to make the step away from your job and start a more entrepreneurial path, you should apply for the New Entrepreneurs Foundation's programme, which will start in September. Not only is the 12-month programme designed to help you develop your skills, expand your network, and support your new business, it also offers a fully salaried position at some of the UK's most innovative companies, including Seatwave and Travelex. This is helpful way to earn a living wage, make a real difference to a real business, and get all the help and support you need to start your own company. Visit http://newentrepreneursfoundation.com/apply to submit your application before the deadline on 27th February.