I received an email from a frantic newbie entrepreneur using Wicked Start. Let’s call her Christine and she was scared to death about taking the leap – I could hear it in her email. With so many challenges, should Christine quit her day job to follow her dream of starting an online retail bakery? (BTW, I’ve actually tried her products and they’re super delicious so I know that she’s on to something.) Given the fact that she has a child to support, besides herself, she couldn’t afford NOT to take a salary. After running the numbers of starting up full-time – renting a commercial kitchen, building out the website & e-commerce functionality, hiring, marketing, and a salary for herself – the numbers just don’t add up to taking the proverbial ‘leap’ right now. She’s identified a great business model but she’s not in a position to execute. So, what does this mean to Christine, or anyone else like her?
The good news is that you can take some time to develop the business experience that you’ll need if and when you are ready to take the business to the next level. Fortunately, Christine’s business is an online retail that is still in its infancy so she can continue to manage it part-time. She will need to prioritize what she’s doing with her time and make sure that she allocates time to developing her culinary skills, learning about the industry, finding mentors to help her grow, and potentially foster investors for down the road. Put a 6-12 month action plan in place with these concrete action items. At that time, you can determine your comfort level in the business. For Christine, time management will be critical given the other demands on her time. If she loses sight of this, the business will never go anywhere and she’ll never be able to make the full transition to entrepreneurship.
In short, no matter how good the product is – or tastes! – you’ve got to understand what it takes to start and grow a business. You have to assess where you are in your life and think honestly about your ability to manage the uncertainty of starting up. If the timing isn’t right, then don’t force it.