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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.

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

Starting a business has been your goal for the past year, andnow it's time to make this dream a reality. You'veresearched your market and the viability of your product orservice; you even have some startup capital and savings put awayuntil you can turn a profit. You're also leaving your companyon excellent terms after years of being a dedicated, conscientiousworker. In fact, your skills in your new venture will still beuseful to your employer. So it's natural to want to bring youremployer along as that all-important first client to get you offand running.

But approaching your boss and persuading top brass to approvesuch an arrangement requires finesse and careful planning on yourpart. You have to show how contracting with you will save thecompany time and money, and why you will do a better job ofcompleting certain tasks compared to how they're currentlybeing handled. It'll take more than just a quick conversationand a firm handshake to strike such a deal.

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