You Can’t Be Half Pregnant
I’m sure many of you are wondering what on earth being pregnant has to do with business or legal issues. Surprisingly, quite a bit! Before I dive in, a caveat: I do not have any children of my own at this time, although I am the proud mother of six (yes, 6!) fur children.
But more importantly, I am the “mother” of a business. And while my business was not conceived the “traditional” way (i.e. the birds and the bees), it is my baby, my almost six-year-old child. And I love it as such. I have poured my heart, soul, sweat, blood, tears, and finances into this business. Anyone who has ever owned a business knows exactly what I am talking about. You spend all your time with your business, and, when you are not spending time in your business, you are still working on your business.
And yet, through my practice I have seen time and time again many entrepreneurs trying to start their business while still working for someone else. And the truth is you can’t be a part time entrepreneur, like you can’t be half pregnant.
So before you go getting pregnant, literally or figuratively, let’s talk through what to consider.
- Do you really want a baby?
This is the most important question you will ever answer! “Am I really ready?” Well, the truth is you will never be totally ready but you can take the steps to get best prepared.
A business is a BIG commitment, and for many, a big change. For most, the financial change is the most significant. I won’t sugar coat it, businesses will cost you money, lots of money. But with some prudent planning, most entrepreneurs can create a forecasted budget of expenses. After the sticker shock and constant empty pockets you have an exhaustive list of questions constantly swirling through your head like “do I need a website?”, “how will I get customers?”, “what should I charge?”, and so much more. Your brain will always be thinking of your business so the question is, “are you ready for the next however many years to be hands on, exhausted, tired, while experiencing your greatest joy?” If you cringed and shook your head, you may not be ready.
- What to expect while you are expecting.
So just like when you are pregnant and expecting a child, you have to be prepared for the onslaught of uncomfortable and overwhelming questions. When are you due? Will you be working part time at another job? How will you be funded? Do you have a location for your hospitality business? Do you have an accounting system? What legal structure will you be under? How will you find your first employees? And the list goes on. But there will come a point when you must anticipate and be prepared to answer these questions, and so many more.
It is my belief that an entrepreneurial venture, once “born” is so much like a newborn baby that in order to ensure that it grows up right, it requires the parent to dedicate as much time and energy as possible to its growth.
- How do you raise a child?
Congratulations on your new baby! Now how do you raise said child? How do you help it grow up, mature, and exceed expectations? I’m certain all new parents lie awake at night pondering these very questions. The same goes for business owners. How do you continue to innovate your products and services? How do you differentiate from your competition? What milestones do you hope to achieve? How do you continue to grow your bottom line year after year? Continuing to stay ahead of the trends in the hospitality industry is key to growing a successful business. Being sure to make time for continuing education, networking events in your field and even seeking out opportunities to show your expertise in your field will ensure that your business grows up the right way.
While you may never be “ready” to have a baby or a business, it begs the question “are you ready to fully commit?” If you are willing to put in the work and diligence to be as prepared as possible, jumping in won’t seem as scary as it could be without a plan. After all, you can’t be half pregnant (or half an entrepreneur).
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