My Next Job 2

Return of the Porpoise

Recovering a Dream Job

Reviewing from our first hub, we discussed just what a "porpoise" is - that person or group of people who have their dream job. That is, they have come into a job in which they are happy with the their income - it is not an issue, nor are hours, benefits, location, required travel, personnel, or those pesky customers they have to deal with. Keep in mind, in the sea the porpoise is fairly close the top of the food chain. They live in family groups and work as teams and - if needed - can kick a sharks butt. They also breathe air - since they are mammals not fish - so they see things a bit differently than others they share the ocean with.

How do our porpoise friends handle the loss of their job? What do they do to get back in their groove? The first thing to do is access the situation for what it is. Depending on why the old job went away determines, to a large extent, how the new job will be created.

As we discussed in the earlier hub, the loss of this job may have involved the death or loss of the leader of the company. In companies large and small, there is usually a close group of executive support people - often executives themselves - who are very knowledgeable of the product, service, customer base, market, and opportunity they have been serving. It is these among these people you can find a nucleus to start the recovery. There is another big reason these people are key to a faster recovery - money or access to capital to get things rolling. Your BMW (or Geo) isn't going far without fuel - your new venture won't go far without capital. How much capital will be required comes right out of that business plan we discussed briefly in "My Next Job 1."

Where that capital comes from is another thing that must be explored. If the plan it to mimic the previous company and the old banking relationships have been maintained, even under the new banking regulations it is likely similar funding will be made available over time. Pooling personal funds as partners, accepting investment from relatives or even raiding retirement accounts can make sense only if the plan is sound and complete.

Partners can be problems. Remember that dream job was a dream job partly because everyone knew their place, their responsibilities, essentially their space. There was someone else who was the overseer who kept the peace - even if it was behind the scenes. Now everyone is working through the pecking order re-establishing ownership of responsibility. It is best that this be an open, frank and ongoing discussion among the partners. This can be a real difficult time; very radical change can occur. If it can't be - the partner that cannot deal with the conversation needs to find their own space. Hard to do.

Let's go to the first step. The business plan is the first step and the most onerous. If you have a team, find a good place to meet and bring all the parts together. Review what you know and answer all the questions about the market, the product or service being offered including all of the when, where, how and who questions. Dig in to the numbers - or find someone in the group who can. Be realistic using previous experience or numbers applied to the new situation. Once the numbers are worked through it will become more obvious how to move forward. Delegation of responsibility may work from committee initially; in fact in some companies it is acceptable to operate in this fashion although not all organizations can prosper doing so.

Where do you find a template for a business plan? Depending on where you are, many government entities offer some kind of service such as a "Small Business Development Center" or some similar office. By utilizing a government sponsored program you will be more likely to stay within the local laws and requirements - always a demand on any new start-up or existing business. See link for "Writing a Business Plan" below.

That is all well and good for the porpoise, right? What if you aren't a porpoise but you are any of the others on down the food chain? What is your next move? You go to work one day and something happened - you find out you don't have a job. Is it different for the others than it is for the porpoise? If so, what is the difference and how is it overcome?

Expectations are the key to understanding success. In our previous discussion we identified several other fishes of the sea. The climbers who have a good job but are moving up the ladder - and have the teeth to do it, (bluefish); job jumpers from company to company, (mullet), the complacent, don't rock the boat, happy they get a check and not moving (coral) and the aged or possibly close to being laid off (carp) as well as those who want to completely get away from what they are doing and do something completely different - while they can. (walking catfish). Finally, those who slash through the ranks, are entitled or feel as though they are and tear away at all the structure to get their own goals achieved regardless of others. (sharks).

Let's say we were not talking about starting a business but actually just finding a replacement job instead. What would be different from starting the business for any of the different personalities discussed? Each individual has his own expectations. The bluefish was chewing on the competition to move up the ladder. Bluefish have skills, energy, perform well and fight for the opportunity to move up. They generally stay with the company they are with - and look for whatever means they need to move to the next level. Similar in aspiration but different in action is the mullet or flutterfish. Jumping jobs for a move up in salary, title, responsibility, or even visibility moves the mullet. Unlike the bluefish, the mullet is a vegetarian and is less likely to confront others but will jump to find the next chance.

Carp and coral aren't all bad to have around - but neither are going to have the drive to move a business forward. Bluefish are innately ambitious and more loyal than mullet. The odds of the carp or coral finding work are much less in trying times than the opportunity for bluefish or even mullet. Mullet tend to be very adaptable, more so than bluefish. Then there are the sharks - few jobs really call for sharks; but the jobs that require that kind of aggressive single mindedness often pay well and there is a place for sharks.

But building a team for a new company requires a lot of teamwork. Think about 3rd grade and putting together the now politically incorrect kickball team or softball team. Who did you want on your team? All mullet or all bluefish or any carp? The best team had some of each - and the key to a good coach is knowing what the mix needs to be to win the game. Looking over that business plan we put together earlier will identify how many of each we need too.

We know what we want, how do we do it? Ok, I'll leave the fish alone and we can get started on that new business - as soon as you find a business plan you like and we figure out what kind of business you want to build. Service, distribution, franchise, manufacturing, or logistics? What industry will you be serving? We'll take that on in the next hub. Until then!

The Inventurist.


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