Ask Dr. Karen - October 23
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?
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
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?