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28 February 2023

Career transition: from executive to entrepreneur

By Fabrício Oliveira, CEO of Vockan Consulting*

According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2021 report, Brazil has around 43 million entrepreneurs of different sizes and operating in different segments. The same study points out that 46% of our population dreams of opening their own business. After decades as an employee of a multinational, I made this move and, by becoming an entrepreneur, I felt the hardships and joys of this transition.

More than being a life plan, enterpreneurship has emerged as a unique business opportunity. By accepting the challenge, I subverted my relationship with work and, quickly, I had to exercise all my resilience and adaptability. The executive background was fundamental, not only because I developed characteristics throughout my career that helped me at that moment, but because I was able to put myself in my employees’ shoes and think about the company from their point of view.

Entrepreneurship is not just a professional condition, but a mindset change and a skill that needs to be constantly practiced and improved. It is clear that career-long learning adds up when we assume a new role, but knowledge in a corporate model cannot necessarily be replicated in entrepreneurship.

Therefore, if you want to launch a business, I share a list of 5 central points for you to reflect and think about your company.

Entrepreneur tips

1- Corporate culture: often, the entrepreneur imprints his own personality to the business. This has its negative and positive points, but the important thing is that the corporate culture is thought out and takes into account the people who are part of that new company – employees, partners, customers and suppliers.

2 – Structure: what infrastructure is needed for the business to run and the strategic objectives to be achieved?

3 – People: this is a crucial point, people are the heart of your company. Your ecosystem is made up of people – employees, customers, etc. – and if you don’t know how to deal with them, your business won’t go very far. Choose the best partners and professionals, not only those with great technical and emotional skills, but those who will be able to help build an innovative, positive and future outlook and who you will trust to delegate the most complex tasks.

4 – Looking to the future: Entrepreneurs cannot settle down. You need to anticipate trends and be ready to keep up with market changes. Encourage, stimulate and recognize the importance of new ideas within the company. Innovation projects foster creativity and productivity.

5 – Planning: if on one side you need agility, on the other you need to be down to earth. Planning, organization and execution are watchwords in the life of an entrepreneur. They give rhythm to everyday life and guide the paths of a company in alignment with business objectives.

In addition, I highlight the frustrations. The life of an entrepreneur is to bump into several of them daily. However, the challenge is to understand what is going wrong and adjust the route – often with the car in motion. And everything generates new learning.

And even though you have your feet on the ground and need to keep expectations in line with reality, never stop dreaming! In 1962, after consecutive failures in the race for space against the then Soviet Union, American President J. F. Kennedy made a famous speech declaring that the goal was to reach the moon by the end of that decade. As you know, the achievement took place in 1969 and definitely put the USA ahead of its competitors. For me, this story is emblematic. A grandiose objective has become the uniter of competent teams. Everyone knew where they wanted to go, worked together and achieved it. Therefore, those who dream and plan, do it! Launching a company means transcending the business itself, believing that it is always possible to go further.

*Content originally published on the MundoRH website.

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