Starting a Business While Working

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Starting a Business While Working

Post by PlayingLife » Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:23 pm

I've been thinking about starting a business for years, and am at a point where I am ready to dive in. However, it may be impossible to start this business while staying in my current position. Could anyone offer some guidance? Has anyone been in a similar position in their lives, and how did it turn out? Do you think this is possible, or not possible, and why? I work in a B2B industry and our customers sell to consumers. My startup would plan to sell to the same consumer base.....the startup would purchase raw materials from my current position. Do you think my current position would let me start something small on the side for now? Should I tell them (not obligated), and how? I only have two choices I'm willing to consider......1) Form startup while working 2) Don't form startup

*Current position: I work for a supplier in a given industry and deal with B2B. I am highly valued and have an excellent reputation and network within the firm.

*Thoughts around new business: This is not a post with questions around whether or not I should start a business for reasons other than my primary questions state. However, to give some background, I just want more out of life than the corporate world. I want to build something that is all on my own, and I want to deliver value-added products to consumers. I've studied entrepreneurism, I know the industry I want to enter inside and out, and I have a full business plan ready to go.

*I'm looking at 40K - 80K in startup costs, so this new venture is not to be taken lightly. I'm 100% willing to take the risk. Why would I think to even consider working my current position while managing this new startup?
a) I cannot afford my life without my current position
b) The startup can be handled effectively with 3-4 hours a day of my personal time
c) I know I can continue doing my current job without slipping - I completed an ultra intensive 3 year MBA, started a family, and had extensive travel over the past 5 years, and I still pulled off being a top performer for various reasons

*What is the short and long term plan? First, have enough product sold to cover the initial investment. The pessimistic business plan puts this at 1.5-2 years...of course a bp is guess work. Second, build and expand in year 2 and 3 - likely the company can be handled by 1/2 people + some contracted work. Third, leave my current position and focus full time on the business.

*As mentioned above, I work in a B2B industry now, and my startup would be B2C in the same industry. My employer would benefit from raw material sales, but I may have to be careful from our current customers finding out about my startup. I will not use, and do not need, any confidential information that I may or may not have access to.

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Re: Starting a Business While Working

Post by yosh99 » Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:38 pm

Do you have an employment contract? Non-compete agreement? Does your employer have a conflict of interest policy? What do you expect your employer's management's personal reaction to be? My experience is that the effect of a vengeful senior manager who makes it personal is far greater than any specific contracts or policies the company has.

I'd tell them what your plan is, but only if you are prepared to leave the company if they react vengefully.

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Re: Starting a Business While Working

Post by Sandtrap » Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:51 pm

Perhaps your current employer, or immediate supervisor, or anyone above you, or a jealous peer, would view this venture as something that would compromise your ability to be 100 percent committed and mentally focused on your current job position.
Yes. You know you are capable.
But what others perceive is something immeasurable, intangible, but still with potential dire consequence. And, it is something you can't control.
You seem to have everything well figured out and perhaps already realize that you need to be prepared for any fallout should it ever happen.
Whether the risk is worth it, only you could know.

If your new business were completely unrelated, in any way, to your current company and position, things would be different. IE: you work at the bank as an auditor and open a blue collar service business on your days off.

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Re: Starting a Business While Working

Post by smitcat » Fri Oct 06, 2017 12:51 pm

Starting a new business has a pretty high failure rate.
Often the failure is related to lack of initial start up funds.
Competing with your existing company in the same field is loaded with problems.

If you want to get a much better feel for start up plans and costs perhaps visit your local SBA or SCORE office - they were a help to us when we started.

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Re: Starting a Business While Working

Post by Artful Dodger » Fri Oct 06, 2017 2:43 pm

If I understand you, you will continue to buy product from your current company, and sell to the end consumer. The problem as I see it, and you have identified, is you will be competing with your customers. Whether you share confidential info or not, you will be seen as ethically compromised. If you are buying the raw product from your current employer, how would they not know you have something going on the side? So, it seems like you have to let them know. I would also think your customers will find out. When they do, what are they likely to do? If they complain to your employer, and your employer hasn't been fully briefed, what does that mean to your job prospects? What if they say they no longer trust you, and won't do business with you, and tell the company they want a new rep, or maybe even refuse to continue doing business with your company. Sounds pretty complicated, and not the best way to start a new venture.

If there is a way to be upfront with your employer and customers, then you may have an idea. Your employer has to feel you will be able to continue in the job for which they hired you. To do that, you have to be able to continue selling to your current customers and maintain their trust and loyalty.

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Re: Starting a Business While Working

Post by mirror » Fri Oct 06, 2017 4:03 pm

Why not bring this opportunity to your employer? If they like the idea offer to head up the group/division. If they don't like the idea then ask if you can pursue it on your own.

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