I can see you now… thinking of all those millions you will be swimming in when you sell your business. The jets, the cars, the travel, the toy dogs that come free with expensive handbags, the shopping…
Pity that you have more chance being sent to Mars to change the flat tire on Curiosity.
Now, if you are one of those new-age hippy types that I see on Facebook who believe any mention of non-postive comments is a government conspiracy then please leave this site and head over to Disneyland. If you are the type that believes running your own business is not always a bed of roses then please continue reading.
If you are starting out in the life and death game of running your own business you need to prepare yourself for the fact that most businesses will fail in the first 2 years of their existence – (research from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
That’s a well known fact so you can full up your Facebook profile with positive quotes and banners all you like but the fact remains that you have a slim chance of making it through the first 2 critical years.
Many people come into this game for the wrong reasons:
1) Thinking its easy to run your own business.
2) Believing your product will sell in any market conditions.
3) Thinking you don’t need to research.
4) Believing your staff will love you so much they will dedicate their lives to you.
5) Thinking that people will be clamouring over each other to buy your business.
Its not hard to believe and expect that people will want to buy your business when you are ready to sell. The media is full of success stories covering children not yet fully out of puberty worth millions/billions holding a product that earns no profit. We all know this is not the norm in business – they are freaks of nature.
But for everyone one of those miracle kids there are thousands of hard working people failing at business.
I think many people make the mistake of starting their own business with the sole intention of selling it. This sets your mind in the wrong gear which means you start missing out key considerations such as how much to invest in your business for the long term (budgeting), learning to crawl before you walk, treating clients as long term partnerships not part of the profit/loss statement. Its also not hard for a client to spot that they are not number one – they can see it in your product and customer service.
Sure you need to think about having an exit strategy if your business is a sinking ship but if its heading on a good course then ‘don’t rock the boat’ with visions of selling – you will lose course and end up on a reef.
My opinion is that people who sell their business for millions are the ones that started out with a passion to do something they love and to share that love with others. That makes a truly great business which everyone wants to own.
This post is part of a series on ‘How do I leave my day job?’.
P.s Curiosity does not have tires – it looks like its running around on hair curlers.