One of the greatest challenges I face as an entrepreneur, is one that many business owners have when getting established; you wind up doing everything. After three years of running my business, I’m still responsible for not only day-to-day operations, but my growth strategy as well. Managing the finances, filing system, computers, technology, and communications are all tasks I still perform. I only have a part-time employee working for me, so I’m still very much working in the business while also trying to be about the business. Fortunately, many of the various skills I use today to manage my business, I gained while working in the corporate world.
My company, CINE Enterprises LLC, started as an extension of the work I performed at Wells Fargo, where I served as a branch manager. In that corporate role, I served small businesses and individuals to help them gain access to capital, as well as, develop their marketing strategy. So when we opened our doors at CINE Enterprises LLC, in June 2014, we started the company with the mission to help small businesses and non-profit’s realize their vision. We operate in the financial services industry, but also provide strategic business and marketing planning.
After graduating from college, I entered a manager’s training program at a retail bank. I had a first hand look at the various departments of the bank, such as Operations and Mortgage, Marketing, Human Resources, Commercial Lending – everywhere! I did a lot of marketing work in the mortgage department focusing on the African-American segment. In order for the bank to promote their services to the African-American community, they had to understand the needs of our market. So, much of the work I performed required that I reach out and connect with people about their needs. I started off in the Business and Retail side of banking and ended up in Compliance and Community Development. Ultimately by working in retail banking and corporate banking, I learned many of the necessary skills to help my current and future clientele.
Having now successfully transitioned from an intrapreneur to an entrepreneur, I’d advise any aspiring entrepreneur to get a solid foundation in your field of interest. For millennials who are uncertain about their next move, or for professionals that are thinking about running your own ship, consider working in corporate America. Working in an intrapreneur role in the corporate segment (for at least 3 to 5 years) before you become an entrepreneur can help you understand how things work. For instance, learning how to put together an infrastructure that will help you become successful. But don’t get too comfortable working in the same department or role for too long. Continue to look for different opportunities to learn and find people that will advocate on your behalf.
By giving yourself time in the corporate space, you can plan ahead for your next move and be sure about what’s important to you. If you’ve got real passion in a field, you need to equip yourself with the skills to become successful. But make your passion work for you, so you can gain a sense of how to monetize the work you do, and what it takes to be happy and fulfilled in your field.