This article first appeared on January 21, 2011.
Hi Aunty B,
I have a very new business (only three months old) and I’m looking to sell. Do you have any experience with new businesses looking for a new owner?
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The first three months have done below anticipated, however the area is new, with an expected population increase of 11% over the next 10 years, which is good for a services-based business (beauty therapy).
If you were to ask why I’m selling, well, I’m simply not sleeping at night. I’ve discovered I don’t have it in me to be an entrepreneur!
Can I sell?
Dear Can I sell?,
Look, you are shell-shocked. Honestly. Starting a business feels like you have been lowered into a war zone without a gun.
I remember the first three months of business I couldn’t even swallow from shock. I spent many nights awake thinking what the hell have I done? Am I nuts? I could only sip soup. I remember going to visit the dentist with what I thought was a toothache. He told me that I had lockjaw from stress. When I refused his kind offer of valium, which he pointed out worked just fine for another entrepreneur that he treated, he taught me how to whack myself in the jaw so it unlocked. Worked a treat.
So here is what I did. I did lots of exercise to tire myself out and if I woke in the night, I would simply refuse to think about business, because it did absolutely no good. A business thought floats into your head? Recognise it, let it go and go back to doing relaxation exercises until you fall back to sleep.
Everyone finds it extremely tough, especially in the first few years. The fact that you have even started the business means you have guts! What you now need are skills. You have found that while you are good at beauty therapy, you don’t know how to run a business.
Find someone around you that does. A family member, a cousin, a neighbour – and go and beg for help. Meanwhile, get your kids or the neighbour’s kids out doing a letter box drop, offering a great deal to get those customers coming in.
The bad news is that you don’t have anything to sell. The population increase of 11% is way too broad a figure to attach any importance to. You could go around the larger beauty therapy chains in your area and ask them if they are interested in buying you and the business. But if I were you I would keep going.
You obviously started over Christmas. The trade may be different now we are emerging from the Christmas break, so stick with it.
Your Aunty B
Aunty B is kicking back on holiday, but her advice is timeless, as evidenced by this Aunty B classic from January 2011. To read more Aunty B advice, click here.
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