Drop That Job: Stepping Out On Your Own

In my last article I shared some food for thought if you’re holding down a side hustle and a full-time job at the same time. However, if you’ve decided to go all in and leave corporate America immeditaly to pursue your entrepreneurial dreams, then this post is for you.

Throughout my career I’ve been seated at the table with key stakeholders of some of the world’s biggest brands. While there are many factors that contributed to their success, I identified five common practices that can be applied to most small businesses or start-ups committed to being the next big thing!

1. Identify the business you’re in
In the early stages of setting up your enterprise take some time to think about the answer to this question: What business am I in? Hint: The gadget you make or the service you provide is likely not the answer. Think about major league sports (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, etc). They all manage and produce sporting events but more importantly they provide entertainment for their fans. They are in the business of entertainment, not just sporting events. Getting clear on the business you’re really in helps you stay ahead of your competition and deliver what really matters to your customer base.

2. Solve the value equation
I’m not just talking about price here, although your bottom line can be impacted by how well you understand the real value your business provides to others. For example, home security systems protect your valuables and property but the real value to you is peace of mind. How can this help you with your pricing strategy? Think about it: How much would you pay for an alarm? Now, how much would you pay to keep your loved ones safe and for peace of mind?

3. Fail Smart.
Let’s face it. Failure is a part of almost every great success story. The key is to fail smart by implementing a four-step process to vet your ideas.
Step 1: Test. Try out your new idea with a small group of customers or in a just a few locations.
Step 2: Learn. Synthesize the learnings from the test initiative.
Step 3: Apply. Use those learnings to inform the next steps. Keep in mind the next step could be to scale back or forego an idea altogether.
Step 4: Repeat. Make this process integral to your business operations. It helps to know why an idea succeeds or fails. Afterall, knowledge is power.

4. Think Bigger.
Create a lifestyle, not just a product. Start a movement, not a service. Think big and let your product or service be the offering to get you there.

5. Do Better.
Innovate with reckless abandon. Big brands do this very well. Create a pipeline of new products or services that appeal to your customers. Or think about ways to refresh older offerings. The takeaway here is to not get too caught up in managing your current portfolio of products or services that you lose sight of ways to improve.

About The Author
Danielle Robinson Bell has been providing business & brand intelligence to Fortune 500 brand teams, small business leaders, and entrepreneurs for 15 years. Her passion is helping others build, engage, inspire, and connect. Based in NYC, Danielle is also a freelance business writer currently covering career & workplace management for JET. Her work has also been featured in EBONY,, and The Atlantic. You can follow her on Twitter at @ByDRob.