What's your legacy going to be? How are you going to be remembered and for what? And what does starting a business have to do with it?
Legacy is a word we heard used a lot during the run-up to the London 2012 Olympics. For the Games, legacy meant leaving behind a set of world-class venues, the long-term regeneration of a run-down area, and a new enthusiasm for sport that would ripple out across the nation.
But as individuals, creating our legacy is probably something most of us rarely think about, if at all.
Instead, we tend to focus on coping with our job, getting through the daily grind, making it to the weekend, or waiting impatiently for next year's holiday.
As a result, we end up not contributing to the world in the way that we could, and wasting the talents and abilities we have. That's particularly true if we choose to remain working for a corporate organisation where we're little more than a very small cog serving a much larger machine.
Once there were benefits in doing this - job security, a high salary and a good pension. But now these are going, or gone, and the legacy of the organisations we're associated with is often tainted.
The LIBOR scandal, and now more recently the FX scandal involving to potential manipulation of currency markets are just the latest in a string of revelations. Along with the paying out of massive undeserved bonuses, and the profit-at-any-price attitude that culminated in the 2007-2008 financial crisis, mean that the only thing many companies are leaving behind is evidence of their greed and self-interest.
For many who work for them, that's increasingly unacceptable. As a result, growing numbers of professionalsare turning their backs on the corporate sector, disillusioned but determined to find a different way forward and starting a business that brings them a sense of purpose and prosperity.
They start a business, becoming New Entrepreneurs, one-time corporate employees who no longer want to be associated, no matter how tangentially, with any further scandals, crises, or the cut-throat business conduct of large companies. They know what it is to work just to achieve profits, it feels meaningless.
Instead, they have chosen to escape the city and the corporate rat race to make their mark on the world by starting and establishing their own businesses and social enterprises, they are making their Corporate Escape something they can be proud of, not ashamed.
You could join them. And with the threat of imminent redundancy hanging over so many in the corporate world, there's never been a better time to take charge of your destiny and set up on your own, building a business based on your passions, vision and values.
Not only have new low-cost technologiesgiven you the power to connect with markets that not long ago would have been too disjointed or distant to be worthwhile, but attitudes are changing too. Now consumers are increasingly looking to buy products and services from niche companies they trust and which aren't driven exclusively by greed.
But this doesn't mean that you have to set up a venture that just scrapes by, selling New Age products to a small group of people that 'get you'. Far from it.
In fact, in the not too distant future, it's likely that the values and ethics of a company will be as much a part of their competitive advantage as price, brand or quality of product.
5 Ways to Start a Business and Create Your own Legacy
First, any business you choose to start up can be taken to a higher level simply by deciding you are going to run that business ethically and to a set of strong guiding principles. These can govern how you deal with customers and suppliers, respond to complaints as well as the value selling your products and services brings to others.
Second, you can put customer service at the forefront of all that you do in your enterprise. Make this your over-arching way of doing business and quickly people will recognise your business as being reassuringly trustworthy in an often untrustworthy world. This adds value to you, to them and to the world.
Third, you can add value to other entrepreneurs through collaborative ventures. By working together with someone else with complimentary skills and interests, you can often release greater energy into the world than you ever would working on your own. So, by together you make things happen that have never happened before.
Fourth, you can take this to a further level by becoming part of what is being called the 'sharing economy'. This emerging trend reflects an increasing willingness to share our time and resources with others for a greater good. It's possible because of technology that allows the aggregation of otherwise disconnected resources, helping create markets where none existed before. This approach has led to the establishment of sites such as Flat-club, where people with spare rooms can rent them out.
Fifth, you can choose to start a business that has a directly beneficial impact on something that you are passionated about, such as the environment, recycling or healthcare. The choice is yours. Becoming Self Employed and starting a business doesn't have to be all about money, it can also be about giving back.
Of course, whichever direction you take, moving away from corporate life to start a new venture is a big step to take, but it can be a life-changing leap forward, as those who have done it have found. And by doing the same you will have the opportunity to make your mark on the world in a way that would never be possible if you stay with a corporate organisation.
So if you've never thought about your legacy before, perhaps it's time to start.
By Maite Barón 'The Corporate Escape Coach™', author of 'Corporate Escape: The Rise of the New Entrepreneur'. You can start taking action by downloading two free chapters of my book.
ATTRIBUTION© 2013 Maite Barón. All rights reserved. This Article was first posted on the Corporate Escape Blog