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Want to thrive in business? Why to consider a job first

By Peter Theuri | Aug 19th 2020 | 4 min read
By Peter Theuri | August 19th 2020

Industrialist Peter Kuguru believes that employment is an ideal springboard into entrepreneurship.

“It is advisable for people seeking to start their own ventures to first seek employment. This prepares them for the tough task of being their own bosses,” Kuguru says.

When one becomes an entrepreneur, there is a load of responsibility laid out in their path. One has to be ready to sacrifice their time and resources, and to put the best foot forward to steer their business to success.

You are bound to make mistakes, but when you are your own boss, there is little reprimanding that happens. Yet, there are some mistakes that would be costly enough to kill your entrepreneurial venture.

So the risk-taker who has decided to go all out and venture into business should take a beat to think about the following benefits of going into employment.

1. It gives you the experience needed to handle a business

The tactics needed to run a business are best earned through interacting with other people who run a similar business. A job gives you the opportunity to learn from someone else, witness from up close what it takes to ensure the business stays afloat – all at someone else’s cost.

Some work experience placements might even give you the opportunity to take on some interesting and challenging responsibilities, further readying you for a future as an entrepreneur.

Work experience gently introduces you to the world of work, giving you insights into the dos and don’ts of managing people, partnerships and products. It also gives you an idea of the skills you need to thrive.

Internships and apprenticeships give you the kind of ground-up exposure you need to build a smart business.

2. You learn crucial management skills

In addition to learning how to run the business – including how to relate with employees, partners, suppliers, financiers and the like – being in employment teaches you how to handle different levels of management and delegate duties.

What should you expect and from whom? How do you set salaries? Organisations require competent management teams to run smoothly and optimise the potential for profit and growth. Management skills are applied in areas such as production, finance, accounting, marketing, and human resources.

The common components of management in different arenas include selection, supervision, motivation and evaluation of staff, scheduling and planning of workflow, developing policies and procedures, measuring and documenting results for a department, solving problems, developing and monitoring budgets and spending, staying abreast of trends in the field, collaborating with other staff and departments, and leading and motivating employees.

3. You get the capital to start your own business

When you are employed, you are earning. Try and save a chunk of this money for your future venture. This way, you will have an easier time raising the necessary capital to start you own business. You will also get the opportunity to build a strong credit score that you can later bank on to access loans, should you need them.

The discipline of managing one’s finances and resources can also be learnt in the workplace.

The most popular source of start-up financing is personal savings, especially since funding from external sources can be hard to come by. Relying on your own resources is a good fall-back plan.

Several business owners have also benefited from their retirement funds. A big advantage of funding a business by oneself is that you know exactly how much money you have available. You, therefore, don’t need to spend time putting together glossy presentations to woo potential investors to part with their cash.

Further, accepting money from outsiders often comes at a huge cost. Venture capital or private equity funds will often demand a substantial say in the running of the business, which can mean going in directions you are not comfortable with. Even lenders will want to see a detailed business plan, and will expect one to stick to it – but this fails to take into account the various rapid changes enterprises must make when faced with various external shocks.

While it may lead to slow business growth, it is often advisable to start with your own capital.

4. You make contacts that can lead to beneficial partnerships

It is while employed that you will know what kind of partners you will need in your business and have the opportunity to establish contacts with them.

Working for a company helps you meet the people that you will need to consult or employ. It is here that you find people who could potentially fund the business, like consultants and suppliers. You will also meet people who understand exactly what you want to venture into and how it is done, and who can provide invaluable leads.

Networking is one of the most important things one can get from employment. Experts agree that the most connected people are often the most successful. When you invest in your relationships, both professional and personal, it can pay off throughout the course of your career.

Networking will also help you develop and improve your skillset, stay on top of the latest trends in your industry, understand the job market, meet prospective mentors, partners and clients, and gain access to the necessary resources that will foster your career development.  

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