Being your own boss is a dream shared by many people. Having real-world lessons to draw on gives you a better feeling for how companies and people operate. If you are thinking about starting your own company, however, you may already have the experience to beat the odds.
Jobs That Provide Valuable Experience for Entrepreneurs
Success requires a range of skills. Even if you hire a good team, it’s your company and you need to know how all the processes will work together. Here are some job roles that can provide invaluable insights when you step out on your own.
1. Marketing and Advertising Roles
Consider that advertising is a form of marketing, but all marketing is not advertising.
Both enable you to extend your market reach and boost sales. Marketing your company boils down to one basic concept: understanding your customers so you can give them what they want. If you have experience in marketing to leverage, you already understand customer needs and wants and what clicks with buyers.
Those who run marketing campaigns also learn to gather and analyze data.
Data analysis allows marketing teams to determine what works best and focus their efforts to maximize the response from their customers and prospects. You can use your own data to continually generate more revenue at a lower cost.
You know networking plays a big role if you’ve worked in one of the following:
- Public relations
Experienced marketing people know the importance of imagery, branding, and slogans. If you’ve worked in this role, it’s likely you already have a good grasp of advertising, digital marketing, and social media.
You can easily translate what you’ve learned into developing a new business identity and build an audience of your own.
2. Financial Adviser
The success of every company depends on one thing: positive cash flow. Knowing the world of finance can help you plan and find resources for funding your company, whether you are planning an expansion, handling market slumps, or special projects.
Financial advisers help others make the best returns from their investment. That’s the basic mission of any company. Armed with financial skills, you become your own client and create your own income streams.
In the future, your company may lean on extra income streams, such as:
You also have routine needs like balancing the books, taxes, payroll, insurance, and more. All of this is easier to maintain and to do accurately if you have a solid background in finance.
You’ll be able to review past performance to gain insights or react more quickly to change.
A successful entrepreneur calculates the risk in every investment. Understanding finance also improves your ability to spot profitable opportunities that may lie outside your normal operations.
3. Sales and HR Jobs
While sales and human resources may seem like entirely different functions, they have important similarities. Mainly, both are about communication and building relationships and they help you improve communication and interpersonal skills.
This is crucial for gaining the confidence of employees and customers.
You can’t afford to alienate. You depend on your employees to be productive, and that means motivating them and resolving personal problems. On the customer side, you want your company to be a sales machine where promising leads are quickly turned into paying clients.
Personnel in HR act as intermediaries that keep employees happy yet get the best results for the company. This is a challenging role, but your ability to do it effectively is essential for future growth.
If you have aspirations of running your own business, you should lay foundations for it while you’re still in college. College is a time when you learn a lot of new responsibilities, like financing and organizing your day.
While a job might be an additional strain while you are learning for exams, you can benefit from having real-world experience and learn to shuffle between different roles, which is something that you will need when you start your own business. That will help you land more responsible positions leading you to your own startup.
4. Customer Service Agent
Understanding how to satisfy your customers is what keeps them coming back. Dealing with the challenges they present helps you learn more about them and the public perception of your company.
Employment as a customer service rep will help future entrepreneurs work effectively with customers.
Agents get a broad experience and handle different things:
- Dealing with billing questions
- Resolving damage claims
- Upselling or cross-selling services.
Customers may be extremely agitated or just idly curious but dealing with them in a positive way is an important long-term asset.
Even if you intend to hire agents or employ a third-party service, first-hand customer contact helps to appreciate what your buyers experience. Identifying common issues and putting procedures in place to resolve them will boost customer satisfaction and ease the burden on you. It also provides an excellent opportunity to get honest feedback.
Business is competitive, no matter how original your product or how good your service. The ability to deal expertly with a great variety and volume of problems will enrich the customer experience. It helps to build consumer confidence and perceptions of value that drive new growth.
5. Managerial Roles
Managing people as well as processes is imperative. A good manager is not only adept at building relationships and communicating but in organizing the activities and talents of others. One of the most useful skills you’ll learn in managerial role is how to efficiently delegate responsibility.
As your company grows, delegating tasks is unavoidable. Nobody can do everything well, every day. If you don’t want to be overwhelmed by the demand, you must designate the right people to take on the right type of tasks, even if it means taking the time to train them.
Management is also about developing the best processes. Streamlining workflows is the first step in maximizing output and cutting costs. As the leader, you have to be constantly monitoring and improving capacity, quality, safety, new development to ensure your productivity is at its peak.
Working as a manager will give you the talents to keep things organized.
You’ll learn how to:
- Assign tasks
- Develop teamwork
- Allocate resources
Management experience with real people and challenges prepares you to run a company better than any other role.
A background in one or more of these roles can be a springboard to entrepreneurial success.
Experience in real-world solutions and consequences will open your mind and sharpen your instincts in ways that a book or lecture could never do. But ultimately, you want a style that’s all your own. What job experiences have prepared you to succeed on your own?