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Ask Dr. Karen - October 23

Dr. Karen,

Thank you for taking the time to speak to me briefly this morning. As I mentioned I have a small business. It is a niche market. I have a retail store as well as a web site since 1991. I am thinking of closing my retail store and outsourcing the production with the company that now freeze dries our flowers. I have contacted a florist and they are interested in being the drop off and pick up location (order taking) for my customers. I will continue to focus on driving business through the web site. Our web site has increased 400% in visitors since last yr. My web person is very good at marketing. I am also going to start offering fresh flowers along with the floral preservation on our web site. There are hundreds of sites offering fresh flowers, our uniqueness will be offering a keepsake rose along with the fresh flowers. I am also working on offering a voice message card to replace the common enclosure card hand written by the florist. My strength has always been in marketing and creativity. I am a true entrepreneur. I started this business from a hobby in 1982. My question is, would it be a good idea at this time to take on a business partner/investor in order to grow the business and take it to the next level?

Gayle

Dear Gayle,

Re: Timing, taste and tolerance in a start-up business

Thanks for contacting Ask Dr. Karen. Since we talked Iíve consulted with my global leadership network about your dilemma. With the information youíve provided here is a way to look at your situation.

You are absolutely right that your strength is in marketing and creativity. I am impressed and moved by your commitment to

stopping human trafficking which is on your website. I am guessing about you but would guess that you are idealistic and caring about others. You have a wonderfully creative site.

There can be a temptation to take on a partner who balances your skills. Taking on a partner can bring out interpersonal issues. The biggest issues in entrepreneurial companies come from partners vs the entrepreneur. As a warm and caring person you are vulnerable in a partnership if someone else wants to do things differently or at a different pace.

What about an investor who is behind the scenes? Ironically, there are few really ďsilentĒ partners. What kind of an investor were you thinking of? This is a wonderful idea if it works perfectly. If it doesnít you can have someone interfering. Your website is golden for you. Is the website enough of a personal payback for you? Have you thought about what you want from your business and when? It probably makes sense to let go of the retail to free up your time though.

Is this the moment when you want to focus commercially? Then an investor can work. What my colleagues say is that outsourcing can work with oversight. Do you want to go for a buyout in the future? Then an investor(s) can work. If you want to hold onto your business for years weight the lack of control.

As you can see, there isnít a simple answer to your question which is a classic dilemma. Itís a matter of timing, taste and tolerance. When do you want or need to do what? What can you tolerate in terms of loss of control?


Kind regards,
Dr. Karen

 

 

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