Which Corporate Job Skills Helped Launch Your Business?

Author: L. Schlereth Date: October 07, 2011

Going from the corporate world to being a small business owner is a major transition, but you’re hardly starting over. There are many skills you can take with you to make you a successful small business owner—but there are also some you can leave behind.

Here’s a look at three small business owners who used certain corporate job skills to launch their businesses.

1. Business Owner: Anahid Lisa Derbabian, Integrity Communications, Birmingham, Mich.

Anahid Lisa DerbabianTransition: After being laid off from her corporate marketing job, Derbabian started her own virtual marketing and public relations firm.

Skills she took: Considering the layoff an opportunity, Derhabian brought her confidence in working with high-end clients. “The maturity that I acquired in the corporate world also has enabled me to bring our clients a steadiness, confidence, and trustworthiness that they seem to greatly appreciate,” she says.

Skills she ditched: Derbabian says she doesn’t spend as much time debating the validity of her ideas now that they don’t have to go through multiple layers of approval. She thinks this has given her a greater sense of autonomy and empowerment —important skills for small business owners.

2. Business Owner: Debi Melzer, Family Nurturing Tree, San Jose, Calif.

Debi MelzerTransition: After from being laid off from her corporate quality-engineering job, Melzer started a holistic health practice.

Skills she took: Melzer says her collaboration skills from working with various assemblers, technicians and managers with different personalities and education levels taught her how to be flexible and build relationships in her new business.

Skills she left behind: Melzer says her old position involved focusing on past mistakes to solve problems, but being a small business owner allowed her to focus on the more proactive process of creative visualization.

3. Business Owner: Yoshi Komada, PingPigeon, San Francisco, Calif. and Santiago, Chile

Yoshi KomadaTransition: Komada is a former investment banker who now owns Internet startup PingPigeon, a CRM software company.

Skills he took: “I've taken my financial forecasting and negotiation skills to help me raise money,” he says. Being able to “bang out metrics” and show actual numbers on the financial level helped him sell his mission and gain investors for his seed-funded start-up.

Skills he ditched: “I learned to ditch the hyper-aggressive [and] abrasive style of some financial professionals, and [replaced that] with a more laid-back Silicon Valley approach,” says Komada. “The general environment of a start-up is so much different than Wall Street.”

Related Resource: Startup: What Lenders Look for in a Business Plan

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