When to leave your Job to start a business

This post is inspired by a recent question I was asked by Rory Walker (@redrory) via twitter, about how I made the transition from a full-time job (Research & Development Analyst at Guardian Life Ltd.) to working full-time in my own company (Balcostics Ltd.).

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Factors in Making the decision:

  • Clear major debt –after finishing UWI, as with most graduates these days, I had my Student Loan to repay. Repaying this debt was my highest priority; since certain types of debt limit your ability to take risk (even when great opportunities present themselves). Thus, once I got hired most of my income went to debt repayment.
  • Working part-time on the business, while working full-time day job – My day job covered monthly expenses (food, rent etc.) which provided the opportunity to invest & re-invest most income earned from Balcostics back into the company.
  • Start branding and building relationships with potential customers – these days, it’s very easy to get the word out about your business, with continuous access to social media and low cost web development. Initially, we started investing lots of time and fair amount of money to build a website and develop social media presence. Again, testing our ideas to see if a company (any company) would exchange their cash for the value we were offering (Research outsourcing). Remember, you don’t have a business until you have a paying customer! Get your first customer and learn all you can from them (collect feedback & do your research).
  • Too much to handle, time to go! My final decision to leave Guardian Life came when I started having problems balancing full-time work responsibilities with part-time, start-up opportunities. I was frequently doing 16 hour days and as young and energetic as I am, this lifestyle is not sustainable! In addition, Balcostics was starting to get some press attention and we didn’t want any conflict of interest issues once the company went public (in terms of exposure).

Additional Lessons:

  1. Work for the experience – If your ultimate goal in life is to own a restaurant business, then get a full-time or part-time job in a restaurant (whether you have a UWI degree in law or economics). The best way to learn is by doing!
  2. When you’re leaving a company, leave on the best terms possible! The world is a small place; never disrespect those who gave you opportunities (regardless of past disagreements etc.)
  3. Be thankful & appreciative of those who gave a helping hand – I’m extremely thankful for the opportunity Guardian Life gave me and I was blessed to have a manager who played a significant role in my personal & professional growth. Managing my own business & people, I now fully understand all the troubles she had with me :-).

Since going full-time with Balcostics, throughout all the ups and downs, business continues to get better. We’re now in our 2nd official year as an operating company, and I’m thankful to all our customers, friends, families and colleague who continue to show their support in various ways.

What’s your experience? Did you take a similar route in leaving a job to do business? Or, do you have plans to leave your current job, to focus full-time on your own business? Do share in the comments below,


Written by: Luwayne Thomas (Co-Founder @Balcostics)

Financial advice on starting a business in Jamaica

As we work ourselves out of our economic problems, Jamaicans who know how to “tek dem hand and mek fashion” will start new business ventures. Enterprising gardeners will provide services for lawn care on a more structured basis; electronic gurus will ply their trade on a greater structured basis by providing follow up service to the sale of equipment; freelancers from various disciplines will increase  their trade  and other professional persons will put up their shingle.

Open for business Jamaica

This is not to say that these enterprises are not now functioning but the economic climate provides the opportunity for increase activities in the areas of individually controlled businesses. The development of individual enterprises and the competition that go with this explosion will undoubtedly lead to the formalizing of organization structures that in turn will make for growth in the micro, small and medium sized businesses (MSMBs).

Along with this explosion, the need for rudimentary financial information is necessary and to this end we have prepared the basic information below:

Current Assets – Balances  in the main statement of an entity which represent  liquid cash and balance in savings and current account at the date of the statement, accounts receivables which are amounts owing by customers, marketable securities which are instruments like treasury bill and commercial paper, inventory which are the items available for sale, prepaid expenses which are amounts paid in advance such as insurance and deposits  on rent and electricity and all other assets that could be converted to cash easily. These items are called current if they are expected to change in value over the next twelve months.

Current liabilities – A company’s debts or obligations that are due in near future usually within one year, and includes short term debts that must be paid within a year, accounts payable which is what you owe your suppliers of goods and service, accrued liabilities such as telephone bills, electricity, rent and accounting fees that you did not pay by the end of the period but must be paid promptly and other short-term debts.

Working Capital – This is the value that the business has to work with to generate its sales and pay its bills in the short run. The working capital measures both company’s efficiency and its short term financial health. The value of the working capital calculated as Current Assets  – Current Liabilities.


If the current asset is greater than the current liability your working capital is positive and this is good for your business.

From the value point of view, Working Capital can be segregated into Gross Working Capital and Net Working Capital.

  • Gross Working Capital refers to the firm’s investment in current assets
  • Net Working Capital  refers to the difference between current assets and current liabilities

A positive working capital means that the company is able to pay off its short term liabilities, whereas a negative working capital suggests that the company currently is unable to meet its short term liabilities.

From the point of view of time, Working Capital it is referred as permanent or temporary.

  • Permanent – Permanent working capital refers to the minimum level of investment in the current assets by the business at all times to carry out minimum level of activities.
  • Temporary – Temporary working capital also known as variable working capital refers to that part of total working capital, which is required by a business over and above permanent working capital.

Effective Working Capital Management

The individual owner of a business is accountable to determine and ensure the requirements of working capital in such a way that the amount of working capital available is neither too large nor too small for its requirement. Large amount of working capital would mean that the business has ideal funds.  On the other hand if there is inadequate working capital, then the business might run into risk of insolvency, and continued scarceness of adequate working capital can seriously challenge the financial viability and sustainability of the business.

Optimum Working Capital

There is no standard rule for an Optimum Working Capital. The working capital requirements vary from industry to industry. Traditionally, Current Ratio (Current Assets: Current Liabilities) of 1.5 to 3 is considered to be comfortable liquidity position. However, it should be remembered that optimum working capital can be determine only with the reference to a particular circumstances.

For elaborate discussion on your business prospects contact:

Robinson & Associates

Starting a business in Jamaica vs USA, T&T, UK and Brazil

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Additional Information:

Procedures – represents the total number of procedures required to register a firm. A procedure is defined as any interaction of the company founders with external parties (for example, government agencies, lawyers, auditors or notaries).

Time – represents the total number of days required to register a firm. The measure captures the median duration that incorporation lawyers indicate is necessary to complete a procedure with minimum follow-up with government agencies and no extra payments.