What happens if I take my customers to my new business?

I have been working for an IT service organization for 4+ years.  For the past two years I’ve run 90% of the operations, however I am only paid 20% of the revenues.  The CEO has another job as CIO for a major metro city.  I decided to stop working so hard for so little, what are my risks if I try to take the customers with to my new business?  They know me and I know them and their systems, it makes for a simple transition and I am even going to charge them less fees.


  • Happens all the time. Just make sure you don’t have contracts with your existing company that prevent poaching of customers.

    Even if your old company had an anti poaching agreement it might be difficult to enforce and you can just claim they came over by themselves after they realized you left.

  • GO for it…you have to live and work…this is hardly forceable even with non-compete clause.

    They can’t expect you to live on their peanuts.

  • A great deal depends on just how unethical you wish to be.

    If you quit your present company, but let all your customers know that you are now going to be at XX company, that’s perfectly ok. You’ve done nothing wrong and you are perfectly entitled to sell to said customers if they choose to look you up at your new company without you going to them first.

    If, instead, you negotiate with your customers to migrate to this other company even as you are working in your present one – you open yourself up to big time lawsuits, and this WILL come out in discovery. As an apparent COO or actual COO, you have fiduciary duty to your present company and that includes not actively working against it.

    Of course, this assumes the present company doesn’t sue when it discovers all/most of its customers are migrating to somewhere else. This is a pretty safe assumption if in fact you are able to perform the migration.

    There is a range of actions which lie between these extremes as well.

  • It seems that every company believes the customer or client belongs to them. Also every employee or tech believe that if they leave the customer will go with them. I have found that we both serve at the customer’s pleasure. Their loyalty is to themselves.

    If you are unhappy always take the high road. Talk to your employer and see if a new compensation package can be worked out. I say this because in your post your concern was money based. If you are an entrepreneur at heart, money is rarely the motivating force behind breaking away. We move because we dream big. And believe that we can provide a better, faster and more efficient service to the customer. I have heard that most entrepreneurs fail several times before finding that sweet spot. Even large dreams diminish in the light of day.

  • Go for it, if it is the honest truth what you have said there is no reason why you should not try it on your own, I made a similiar decision and I am now five time more rich and choose my own hours of work and holidays

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