Quitting your job to start up – it’s still who you know

That old saying that it’s not what you know but who you know is still true – even when you’re quitting your job and starting up your own business.

Many entrepreneurs come to their start up idea while working full time for another company. Working out when the time is right to quit with your employer is a big decision, and doing that without burning your bridges is important too.

It can sometimes be a good idea to keep going in your current job while you’re putting together the nuts and bolts of your new business ideas. From the research that you’ll need to do to make sure your business idea is viable, through to checking out the competition, working out the finances and finding out who your target audience is – all to go into your business plan – much can be done out of hours. And it will mean that you have some much needed finance for living while you’re at it.

Once all is in place though, the time will present itself when you need to quit your job and get going. Whether you’ve been unhappy in your job, or if you feel you’ve been mistreated, if you’re leaving to set up your own company, keeping your boss on side is a good move.

Here are five top tips to make sure you leave in the right way, with the best relationships still intact:

1. Be open about your plans when you quit

If you’re leaving to start up a new company, why not be open about it? People will find out soon enough anyway and your boss should appreciate it if you’re honest up front. They may even be able to offer some support.

2. Give a good amount of notice

Starting up your own company, there may not be so much urgency to leave your job as soon as your contractual notice period is up. Being flexible and helping out until such a time as you can be replaced, can pay dividends when it comes to your employers’ good will.

3. Make sure all your ducks are in order

Before you leave your job, make sure that everything you were responsible for has been taken care of, or handed over successfully, so that there aren’t any nasty surprises after you’ve gone.

4. Don’t allow the rumour mill to take control

As with any important announcement, if it’s your announcement you need to be the one to give it. For this reason, making sure that your boss is the first person you tell when you want to leave your job to set up a company is critical.

5. Steer clear of exit interviews

While exit interviews can be very positive, if you’ve had negative feelings about your job or the company you work for that have resulted in your setting up your own business, it can be best to gracefully decline attending somehow. This way, you can leave the company on good terms – even if you did have issues there.

Last impressions count

When you start out in a working relationship, you work hard to make the right impressions. The same courtesy should be given to your colleagues and associates at the end of a working relationship. These people may be able to help you out from their current position, or they may well move on themselves and become a customer, a stakeholder, or even a competitor. Either way, keeping them on side and keen to work together with you will always be a benefit for your business.

Want more information on starting your own business? Visit our knowledge centre or blog for helpful advice.