Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Should I stay or should I go? 16: startups as a special case 5

Posted in career development, job search, job search and career development, startups by Timothy Platt on May 6, 2016

This is my sixteenth installment to a series on intentionally entered into, fundamental job and career path change, and on best practices for deciding both when and how to carry through on it (see Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 3, postings 416 and following for Parts 1-15.)

I briefly noted three basic, categorically distinct new business options at the top of Part 15, that would offer a career changer the opportunity to own and run their own workplace as their own boss:

• Startups build from the ground up as new standalone business ventures: more traditionally considered startups per se.
• Franchise options and becoming a franchise holder of a new outlet, where you are your own boss there, but where you operate within a larger corporate system. And in this, you build and operate according to a pre-developed and vetted pattern and business model and with some measure of both support from the parent company and obligation to it.
• And buying out an established small business – as couched here in terms of buying out a single practitioner professional office, as its outgoing owner moves into retirement. Examples here would include buying out the business practice of a retiring physician or dentist, attorney or accountant.

I began a more detailed consideration of the first of those three categories in Part 15 with the following roughly stated example scenario:

• An innovative tech-oriented entrepreneur is driven to bring what they see as a pivotal new innovation to market as a source of products that would bring value to consumers.

Then at the end of that posting I stated that I would continue its discussion by delving into some of the issues that enter into pursuing a very different type of startup:

• Where a professional sees overriding value in their gaining an opportunity to work face-to-face with their customers in meeting their needs, and who dreams of finding, or creating an opportunity to work with those customers and to get to know them as individuals and as members of their community.

I am going to examine this scenario here and after that will turn to consider the other two basic categories of new to the career developer, business opportunities. But I begin with this scenario and by comparing and contrasting it to the new technology example of Part 15.

• Part 15 scenario entrepreneurs are more oriented towards, and even driven by the need to create new types of products that they can bring to the world. They are product oriented in their thinking and in how they plan and set their priorities. The second startup scenario that I offer here is much more customer and end-user oriented and in the “meeting their needs”, side to that process than they are to the “with what” side to it. Part 15 scenario entrepreneurs would be more inclined to build those new innovative products; entrepreneurs who would pursue the scenario of this Part 16 installment would more likely want to create opportunity to select and vet and sell these products, working with their customers to help them find and secure what would be individually best for them as consumers.
• My experience with the first of these entrepreneur types has essentially all been more production-oriented for the types of new businesses they would build, And my experience with the second of them has all been more sales oriented, and retail sales in particular.

I oriented my discussion of Part 15 in terms of five puzzle pieces that would enter into at least roughly, categorically describing the type of entrepreneur who would do best following its startup scenario. I begin this posting and its discussion by noting a sixth puzzle piece to add to that set and a place where real divergence enters this narrative:

Some of the puzzle pieces that I have offered up to here have clear counterparts in mapping out who would fit and succeed at, and be happy pursuing either of these two basic scenarios. But the two bullet points above, outline puzzle piece alternatives that differentiate between those who would best follow one or the other of these business models.

Any successful entrepreneur, and certainly any who would start their own business, is going to need effective enough communications skills to work with any employees they bring onboard and with their suppliers, and with their marketplace and customers. That does not mean they need to be mesmerizing public speakers or compellingly fluent writers. It means they have to really try to communicate well, and that they need to listen at least as actively as they speak. This type of basic, baseline skill and willingness to exercise it is essentially a universal necessity. But it becomes even more of a requirement, the more fully an entrepreneur focuses in their business efforts on working with their markets and their customers and would-be customers and directly – and as their working with people becomes more and more of their source of business-differentiating value.

And I step back from the puzzle pieces with that, to consider the overall puzzles that they assemble into, and businesses and business models in general. Different people, with their own personalities and their own strengths and comfort zones for what they do, start out more oriented towards different types of businesses as best-fit places for them to work, where they could thrive. This applies for people who would best work throughout their jobs and careers in established businesses that are run and managed by others, and it applies for those who would best step out on their own as their own bosses. And within that later cohort and for the more entrepreneurial of the overall workforce, different types of entrepreneur – different by personality and experience, are drawn to different types of business opportunity and business model.

• The more fully you understand yourself and what really drives you as you map out your career plans and goals, the more likely it is that you will find, and fine your way into the type of business and business environment that would work best for you.

And with that noted, I am going to turn next to consider entrepreneurs who would be more drawn to entering into franchise businesses as franchisees. (By contrast, an entrepreneur who starts out pursuing the startup scenario that I touch upon here in this posting, who decides to expand out by opening and supporting outlets that follow their basic founding business model, might become the owner of a franchise system-supportive parent business.) Then after delving into that, I will consider the issues of buying out and rebuilding as needed, an established business. And then after that, to round out this look-forward, I will discuss retirement as a stay or go scenario, where this increasingly means tapering off employment and making career changes rather than simply moving from being fully employed to no longer working.

Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 3 and at the first directory page and second, continuation page to this Guide.


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