By Brenda Johnson, Work, Careers and Job @40+
Leaving corporate life to become an entrepreneur is a dream for many people. Geneva Taylor and Dave Meeker took different paths reinventing their careers to pursue business ownership, and both turned the dream into reality.
They had three success strategies in common: networking, leveraging their corporate skills and hard work.
A recent Kauffman Foundation report explained, “Americans are getting older and working longer. Some of their work later in life is self-employment.”
If you are thinking about entrepreneurship, consider these 3 winning strategies:
Networking – Taylor started asking people about business ownership years before starting her company. Tellis Executive Search is a recruiting firm specializing in supply-chain professionals and part of the MRINetwork. “I started doing research on potential options with a franchise coach about a year before I left my last corporate job,” she said. Meeker collaborated internally during his 30+ year career as a biomedical engineer for a health system.
Since starting his healthcare consulting business three years ago, Meeker networks throughout the city. “I joined the Indy Chamber of Commerce and their Business Ownership Initiative as well as other organizations,” said Meeker. He works with an accountability coach who helps him connect his marketing strategies to his revenue stream.
“As a business owner, I have to focus on return on investment (ROI) to be successful,” explained Meeker. Central Indiana offers many resources for entrepreneurs and innovators including SCORE Indianapolis, Launch Fishers, Launch Indy, the Venture Club of Indiana and the Indiana Small Business Development Center.
Leveraging Transferable Skills – Both Taylor and Meeker are using skills from their corporate careers as business owners. Bringing Technology to You LLC, Meeker’s business, has several revenue streams in addition to healthcare consulting. He mastered social media early and expanded his business as a social media business strategist, helping clients analyze social media metrics.
“My entire career I’ve mentored and coached people,” said Taylor explaining why she chose the recruiting business. Collaborating with others was important in corporate life and in her business, Taylor said. “I feel like I am part of a bigger team. I have coaches that are also owners who invest hours weekly with me and with other new owners we keep each other accountable.”
Hard Work – Meeker admits that being his own boss keeps him busy, “I have to anticipate my customers’ needs; ensure that I’m exceeding their expectations and focus on ROI.” The advice he shares with potential entrepreneurs is to “never give up.”
He described working two years to win the business of a client. Taylor balances her recruiting business with teaching a supply chain course at the University of Indianapolis and serving as president of the institute of supply management-Indianapolis. She credits the franchise coach with helping her discover a business she would enjoy working hard to grow. “I am positive the recruiting business is the right choice for me, and I’m looking forward to what the future holds,” said Taylor.