I grew up working in my parent’s mom & pop convenience store. It was open from 7 am until 11 pm seven days a week. Both of my parents and my two siblings worked in the store. It wasn’t a business; it was a way of life. Working in the family business taught me a lot. It gave me valuable life lessons, tutored me in basic business, marketing, and people skills. And it convinced me never to own a business.

Who Am I to Write This?

I’m someone from the outside looking in as far as owning a business. I offer an unbiased opinion based on my observations. I’ve done freelance work most of my life, but that doesn’t count. I’ve never had to worry about meeting the payroll, paying the bills, or repairing the walk-in cooler (I’ve watched my father do this more than once). Here’s what I know.

Something Will Go Wrong

It’s inevitable, unpredictable, and will more than likely come at the least opportune time (or so it will seem). The wheels are going to fall off. You can count on it. Have backup plans and  contingencies for contingencies. Develop resources, mentors, advisors, as well as lines of credit, and stay calm. Losing your composure will only make things worse.

You’re Going to Lose Sleep

When you think about it, how could you not lose sleep? You’ve taken on a lot of risk. People are counting on you. The pressure will keep you up at night. So before you open your doors get your sleeping habits in order. Mayo Clinic: 7 Steps to Better Sleep.

Money Will be Tight

And not only business finances but personal as well. You and your family need to go into a new operation with eyes wide open to the financial challenges, sacrifices, and exposure you will face.

Success Seldom Happens Overnight

Opening a new business isn’t a sprint it’s a marathon. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking not me because I have a great idea, I know the business, I’m bringing customers with me, or I’ve found a niche. Regardless of how prepared you are, you can’t know every nuance of owning and operating a business. You can learn, but it will take a minute.

Details and More Details

A friend who owns a very successful construction company shared a story with me. In the 1980’s he was a flooring subcontractor. His supplier offered to sell him the wholesale business and finance him. Two years later he’d lost more than $50,000 (remember that’s 1980 dollars) because he’d taken on the companies liabilities as well as its assets. Previous warranty work nearly put him under. Read the fine print, hire an attorney, retain an accountant, and then do your homework.

There Aren’t Enough Hours in the Day

A friend lamented that when business was good, he was too busy doing the work (He’s a photographer) and didn’t have time to market. And when he didn’t have time to market he had no new business, therefore, he’d be slow until he caught up. It can be a vicious cycle.

Just Because You Build it Doesn’t Mean They’ll Come

Your product or service isn’t going to fly off the shelf all on its own. You’ll have to have a marketing plan. Advertising, social media, phone calls, and knocking doors—you’ll need to be prepared to do whatever it takes to sell your wares.

Are You Ready to Put up a Sign?

If owning and operating a business is the thing for you then go for it, but be prepared. Be ready to lose sleep, worry over money, knock doors, and be available 24/7. Does that sound like your kind of thing? If so, I wish you nothing but the best.

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