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Turning the Tables

You worked for them, and now you want them to "work" for you. Find out what you need to know to land your former employer as your startup's first client.

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This story appears in the December 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Starting a business has been your goal for the past year, and now it's time to make this dream a reality. You've researched your market and the viability of your product or service; you even have some startup capital and savings put away until you can turn a profit. You're also leaving your company on excellent terms after years of being a dedicated, conscientious worker. In fact, your skills in your new venture will still be useful to your employer. So it's natural to want to bring your employer along as that all-important first client to get you off and running.

But approaching your boss and persuading top brass to approve such an arrangement requires finesse and careful planning on your part. You have to show how contracting with you will save the company time and money, and why you will do a better job of completing certain tasks compared to how they're currently being handled. It'll take more than just a quick conversation and a firm handshake to strike such a deal.

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