I’m the Mom of an entrepreneur…
Last month, my son informed me that he quit his job. Even though he has formal education in the field, was the only staffer under 40 with his own office, and was good at doing what he was hired to do, working in the accounting department of a company is not his passion. He was doing it because it paid the bills but it is not the thing he wants to do in his life. The security of a job was not enough to keep the entrepreneurial yearnings at bay.
As a Mom, my heart skipped a beat when he told me his decision. “Don’t worry, Mom,” he said. So as a Mom, I am trying to do just that: NOT WORRY. I am also trying very hard not to create fear and doubt in him; he will have enough stress trying to build his vision into a business without his mother, the business advisor, providing him with warnings and sage advice. I have to remind myself that what he needs from his Mom is support, encouragement and faith in him to handle the challenges and make good decisions.
As a business advisor, I have huge admiration for people who take on the challenge of building a business from a passion. If you are like my son, and have a passion that you want to turn into a business, as your business advisor (not your Mom), here are seven critical tools to have in your entrepreneurial tool box:
- Money you’ve saved: Having some money saved that you can use for unanticipated business expenses as well as covering the costs of paying household bills and putting food in your belly is critical. Does my son have that? Not sure. I do know that over the last two years, he has minimized his cost of living and is very aware of how much money he needs for living expenses every month.
- Access to financing: Identify how much you are willing to invest in your business to give it a good go. Outline for yourself how much of your savings and/or borrowed financing you are willing to commit to and how you plan to use the funds. Has my son done this? He’s verbally told me how much he has to invest and where the money will be coming from. Keep in mind borrowed money has to be paid back, usually with interest.
- Revenues that generate cash flow while keeping business expenses to a minimum. Nothing kills a business faster than no cash flow. Plan your start-up and your business growth from a financial perspective.
- Time: How much time you are prepared to commit to starting and building your business? What are your measures of success? Write down what you want to have accomplished in 3 months, 6 months and 1 year from now. My son has told me some of the things he needs to do; not sure if he’s actually written them down but he’s a writer and a strategist so there’s a good chance he has. I encourage all entrepreneurs to write down their goals because when we write something down, we are more apt to achieve it. You can start by completing these statements:
- By March 31, 2018, I will have accomplished…
- By September 30, 2018, my business will be…
- By December 2018, my business will be doing $….in revenues.
NOTE: this is not a detailed business plan. These are just some questions to get you started thinking about tangible goals and how to achieve them. The business advisor in me says “Write a business plan”, which is a much more detailed plan.
- Positive attitude: Starting a business is tough. You will get a lots of “no” before you get “yes”. There can be a lot of ups and downs. When you’re down, remind yourself to be grateful that you have provided yourself with this opportunity to learn. Most entrepreneurs I know say that entrepreneurship is the hardest thing they’ve ever done, but it’s so worth it; not necessarily because they’ve achieved huge financial successes (that is certainly part of it) but because of everything they have learned.
- Appreciate the naysayers. Reflect on the words you receive from others. Part of learning is also opening your mind to what people say. You will come across a lot of sceptical people (sometimes they can be your mother!) The naysayers are often sharing valuable information with you; take the time to reflect on what people say even if it sounds negative; their opinions and statements may help you improve your business.
- Surround yourself with people who have your back: Entrepreneurship is often a much lonelier journey that one appreciates; I recall when I was free-lance writing, loneliness was the worst part of the work. Surround yourself with family and friends who can cheer you on, and business advisors/mentors that you can talk with about your business challenges. Take part in networking opportunities to meet other entrepreneurs.
Although I am a business advisor by training, I am Mom first and foremost to my son. As a business advisor, I would challenge him to explain: what he will sell, who he will sell to and who will he compete with. I would also want to know about his sales goals, marketing plan, and if he has written a detailed business plan?
But as a Mom, I need to be there to pat him on the back and tell him how much I believe in him. Perhaps he has thought all the elements through and discussed them with his business advisor… and he just hasn’t told his Mom yet.
So what’s my son’s business, you ask? Well, I’m not quite sure how to answer that. He continues to work on it and I will keep you posted!
Written by Nancy Brommell, Business Advisor at Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba