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Preparing Corporate Professionals to Start Businesses

Wednesday, December 10, 2008   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Matthew Montoya
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Preparing Corporate Professionals to Start Businesses

Professionals who want to join the next wave of entrepreneurs can do much of the startup work before they leave their jobs, says Taylor Smith of The Spirus Group

Despite popular perception, not all great entrepreneurial ideas emerge from college dorm rooms or Silicon Valley garages. Many businesses start with the weekend work of well-networked corporate professionals who are industry-savvy, says Taylor Smith, managing partner of New York-based The Spirus Group, a venture development firm. He spoke recently with Smart Answers columnist Karen E. Klein about how today's employees may become next year's entrepreneurs. Edited excerpts of their conversation follow.

With corporate layoffs reaching record levels, a lot of experts predict that there'll be a surge of new entrepreneurial activity next year. What are you telling would-be entrepreneurs who have been laid off or worry that they might be soon?

It's a difficult environment all the way around. There are some corporate professionals who went into their lines of work because of the financial upside, and they were willing to be in these all-or-nothing jobs and make a sacrifice on lifestyle. But now, with more job insecurity, they may see a changing cost-benefit analysis and they're deciding to take some of the money they've earned and see if that idea they've had in the back of their minds a long time is viable.

Other people are starting to work on a business plan in their off-time so they don't land flat-footed if there is a layoff. Sometimes a business offers the best potential for financial gain as an industry tightens and compensation levels come down.

Isn't it always difficult to know when to leave the corporate world and make that leap into starting a business?

Absolutely. I think, given what's happening now, this is a time to hold on to your job a little bit longer than you might otherwise, just to make sure you have as much visibility as you can for as long as you can. At some point, of course, you are going to have to take that leap of faith.

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