For some who are jobless, a great option could be to become a business owner.Â
On radio, on TV, in spam email – there are tons of advertisements that promote working at home or being in business for oneself.Â I heard this one radio constantly that talk about finally being free.Â Plus, you get a chance at winning a thousand bucks just for registering, or something like that – how cool is that, sweet.
I understand the the lure of owning a business about as well as anyone.Â In the past 31 years of working, I have owned a small wine shop and been an independent contractor for several wine distributors, among other things like being unemployed.Â
I would never try to talk anyone out of starting their own business – or for that matter, into starting their own business.Â That’s not my place.Â But I would like to offer some insights I’ve gleamed over the years.
Owning a small business
It’s a lot of fun.Â You are lord (or lady) of all that you survey.Â But the fine line that you must walk is this and the question to be answer is whether you own the business or the business owns you.Â
It’s great that you can set your own hours for your store.Â But what if it turns out that all your customers come in between 6pm and 9pm.Â And you wanted your hours of operation to be 10am to 7pm.Â You thought 9 months in; you could start hiring help and take more time off.Â It’s 7 months in and cash flow is barely positive and p&l is negative.Â And business isn’t picking up.
You become the slave to the business.
An independent contractor is anyone generating an income, with or without a business tax license.Â At the end of the year, all the companies that paid you issues a 1099 to you and you file that in lieu of w2.
I was a sales IC.Â Essentially I was a 100% commission salesman without the luxury of a company behind.Â For example, a traveling salesman for pool company could be working on 100% commission, but he would still have that pool company’s brand name behind him.Â As a sales IC, you have only you.
Every day is job hunt.Â Every waking minute is a job hunt. If being unemployed and looking for a job is wearing you down, do not go this route.
The challenge to being your own bossÂ comes from the fact that we have glamorized the notion of being our own boss.Â It is a sweet feeling when you no longer need to answer to anyone.Â But somewhere in all the glitter and sexiness, the reality gets a bit lost.
This is the reality
Most small businesses fail.Â Most small businesses become a grind.Â Most small businesses take a 24/7 mentality and commitment.Â Most small businesses require a passion and fire that many do not have.Â
You become the business.
But there are tremendous upside to it.Â It is in many ways, the quintessential endgoal of the American Dream. That’s worth pursuing.
But if you are going to pursue this fundamentally American Dream, I offer this suggestion.
Write your busines plan…
Convert your business plan into your operation plan…
Business plans have two functions:
- Generate start-up
- Become the operation blueprint for your business once you start
The first aspect is easy.Â Write a plan; present it to friends, angels, bankers, whoever has money; and roll in the dough (sure…right…keep dreaming…)
The second aspect is not so easy.Â In fact, I suspect a lot of would be entrepreneur toss their plan as soon as the money part is over.Â Who hasn’t heard the story of some guy pitching concept to a moneybagger and writing out the plan on cocktail napkin as they talked.Â Don’t plan on that happening often.
I think you basically need 2 plans (kind of like my 2 resume approach).Â The first aspect is an executive summary of say 2 or 3 pages that provide enough concrete information for the money guys to say, “I understand.”Â The other is the in depth plan that could run up to 100 pages and is done in excruciating detail for competitive SWOT, marketing,sales, operations, logistics, and the financials.Â
The second portion also serves 2 purposes.Â It is theÂ supporting document to the executive summary.Â And it is your operational plan.Â It is your best guess as to how the business will shake out.Â
It also serves as your roadmap.
Too many small business owners wing it.Â Too many independent contractor think they don’t need it.Â But anyone looking to get into business needs to do the hard work of understanding and formulating answers to all potential obstacles, issues, and detours.Â And you do all that with your business plan.
Over the next few months, I am going to offer more of my thoughts on how to write a business and use my past efforts as a guide.
Also, business plans come in many names based on the structure and complexity of the organization writing.Â It could be a product introduction strategie, a sales and marketing plan, a joint venture proposal, or a takeover.
That all said…
The focus of this little blog will always be helping you find a job while holding onto your sanity.
I will only offer my thoughts on being into business as a supplement or option to working for someone else.
Along the way, I’ll also discuss in more detail:
- Franchising (why?)
- MLM or Networking Marketing (Me…I’d pass on it)
- Online Businesses (probably need to get someone else to do it…I know zip on ebay, etc.)
And so on…
Still rather working for someone else (anyone but you)….Â