Image by: VICTOR VIC
By Judy Willard
You’ve been working on your passion project for a few years now. You’ve accumulated a decent-sized customer base, and it is great work for a little extra money. However, you have been thinking recently that it might be time to take your small business to the next level. This, of course, means that you are at a point where you are willing to put your all into your business.
At this crossroads, you want to put it all into your business, but you are concerned that it could be a financial disaster. Well, don’t get your spirits down too quickly ladies. There have been so many who have taken this chance and succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. On the other hand, there have been many who have taken this chance, and ended up moving toward a new career.
If you are passionate about what you do, and you want to focus all of your time on it, ask yourself these four questions to decide for sure if you are ready.
#1) Do You Have Customers?
If you answered yes to this question, you are in a good position. Next, it is time to consider what kinds of customers you have. While it is absolutely wonderful to begin with customers who are family and friends, it is also prudent to see how well your business has grown beyond family and friends.
Beginning with people you know is essential, because they spread the word about your company to everyone they know. This word-of-mouth advertising is a great start to any business.
If you have already surpassed having only family and friends as customers, you may find yourself in a better position to go all in than those who have not.
This, of course, is not to say that if you haven’t begun your business yet, you will not do well without a customer base. As long as you have a strong advertising plan, and you know how you attract customers, you could be in a strong position.
#2) What Are the Risks?
Of course, the risks are everything that you put into the business. Before you go all in, you should really define “all” for yourself. Is it all of your money? All of your credit? All of your worldly possessions? Or is it just all of the income you will lose by quitting your full time job?
Consider just how much “all” is, then consider when you will get all of it back and when you will begin making profits.
When you consider the risk of going into business for yourself, it is important to consider your entire business plan.
Think about everything that could possibly go wrong. While you should always keep a positive attitude about change and your business, it is essential to consider all of the things that could change the way your business functions.
In your business plan, it is important to figure out what you would do in situations that could end your business complete. You may want to create a section that has a template that looks like this: “If X happens, I will Y.” Or “In order to avoid X, I will Y when I see it coming.”
This is a great way to prepare yourself for the worst when it comes to going all in for your small business.
It is up to you to decide if the risks are worth everything that you put into your business.
#3) What Are the Rewards?
Clearly, not all small businesses produce millions of dollars in revenue. Although, yours technically could do so, it is important to predict smaller rewards for your business. Keep your goals realistic as you analyze what your rewards will be.
A great place to start is to consider where you currently are with your business. How much money are you putting into it when you are working part time? What are the changes that will be made to create a situation that is more beneficial when you focus on your small business full time?
Once you have decided the different risks and rewards, it is time for you to weigh your information.
For example, you may have some great smaller rewards which include: focusing on your passion full time, creating a stronger and larger customer base, or more money and more opportunity. On the other hand, you may have one large risk that could be holding you back: you could lose your house if all goes south.
Well, ladies, this is where your drive, ambition, and business savvy come into play. You have to make the decision concerning the risks and the rewards based on your intuition, past experiences, and expectations of the market (keep them realistic). In the end, you make the decision, but do make sure you have a strong support system to help you when you lose your mental edge.
#4) Have Others Invested in You?
This question can be taken even a step further. If you don’t require a whole lot of startup capital, you might not need to seek out other investors. However, it is always good to consider whether or not other investors would invest in you, your idea, and your company.
Consider how you would pitch the idea to a group of investors. How would they react? Is your product marketable? Can it be massed produced? Most importantly: can your product be sold to the audience you intend to attract?
It could be helpful to present your business plan to an investor you may know or a business savvy friend. That person could help you work out the kinks he or she finds, which can really strengthen your business.
In the end, if you truly believe that your business can be profitable, you can create it. However, it is up to you if you wish to go all in.
Sometimes, going all in for your small business is necessary for success and your peace of mind. Of course there are risks and rewards to doing this. It is up to you to weigh the risks and rewards and decide whether or not you should take the chance. Don’t forget about your support system, and the people who love and care about you. Have you considered going all in for your small business? Share with us in the comments below!