Friday, June 25, 2010

Going into business? Better talk to the family!

For the second time this week I’ve heard about couples in business going out of business.  The stories are similar – young couples, with young children running retail operations and working 90 plus hours a week.  Business was ok but not good enough to justify the hours and the time away from their families. 
This serves as a strong reminder that one must take into account how running a small business will impact your life and ask yourself, “is the timing right”? Having been a business owner I can tell you that working 9 to 5 for someone else is a walk in the park compared to working for yourself.  When it’s your business you will work way more than 40 hours a week and time off is a rarity.   It takes that kind of commitment to be successful and it’s often necessary just to make ends meet.  It’s hard enough when you work for someone else to strike a balance between your work life and your personal and family life and much more difficult when you work for yourself. 

But when you love what you’re doing – when it’s all yours - you are not watching the clock.  You are in it fully and completely and it will take over your life.   That can be a good thing but it can also be really challenging.  None of us live in a vacuum.  We have families, friends and other responsibilities besides our businesses.    So before you decide to take the leap and venture into your own business you need to be really honest with yourself about the impact it will have on the other areas of your life.  If you have a significant other and children they have to be fully on board with you.  They have to agree to be part of it and to understand and support the sacrifices that will be necessary if you are to achieve success. 

Like anything in life – timing is everything.  You may have a business idea or venture that is timed just right but if the timing for you or your family isn’t right – it will likely not work or create additional stress and challenges that may just not be worth it.  Be honest with yourself and take the time to really think through and understand the impact a business venture will have on your personal life so you don’t have to make a tough decision later on and choose between your family and your business.  The couples that closed their businesses made the right choice and chose their children over their business but I’m sure that closing their doors was not an easy decision to make.  You can to avoid having to make that decision if you really think it through before you open your doors.

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