Should Entrepreneurs Quit Their Day Jobs?

This guest post from Cynthia McCahon, CEO of Enloop, originally appeared on Handshake 2.0 as Quitting Your Day Job – A To-Do List:

Every entrepreneur dreams of the moment when they have what they think is a great business idea. They might also have a pretty good day job that supports them and their family. So, should they throw caution to the wind and quit their day job to launch their business? Or should they just stay the course and count their lucky stars that they even have a day job?

Cynthia McCahon, CEO of Enloop Here are some scenarios that are likely playing out for anyone that’s contemplating leaving their day job. The decision-making process might be made easier by checking a few items off the “quit your day job to-do list” before actually quiting the job.

Test An Idea
Prove a business idea is good idea. Do this by putting a concept in front of people and listening to their feedback on a product’s usefulness and pricing. Create a simple prototype and give it away for free to friends and family. Do what we in the software business fondly refer to as a "pivot." It’s a polite way of saying the idea is not working and needs a change of direction. Refine it if it’s necessary, otherwise, let it go.

Know How Much Net Profit A Product Will Make
Accurately forecasting profit is tough, even for an accountant. This problem can be easily solved by using a tool I developed called Enloop, a free online solution that automatically generates a customized business plan with complete financial forecasts. The system also provides a predictive score that can help anyone understand whether an idea is solid enough to pursue. Think of it as a living, cloud-based document that can be refined based on customer feedback.

Have a Backup Plan
Putting a safety-net plan in place before leaving a job can help on a lot of levels. Many people choose to stay put from fear of the unknown. Have a personal "pivot" plan to go beyond that stopping point. Reduce debt and stack away cash before resigning. Give as much advanced notice as possible to an employer. Don’t burn any bridges that may be needed to cross back over if the business venture is not successful.

Managing passion is a big challenge for an entrepreneur when that loud sound in their head is opportunity knocking. Entrepreneurs should practice being a successful business owner and let the facts be as much of a guide as their heart in making their first decision.

Cynthia McCahon is CEO of Enloop, what Inc. termed "the Turbo Tax of business plans."

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