Dear Aunty B,
I read the Aunty B column about selling a business with interest because I find myself in a similar position.
My business is not online, though I have a decent website in terms of professional quality.
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The thing is that I offer a marketing service and yet lack of cashflow or investment capital means I can’t even invest in my own “product” to come across more convincingly.
I don’t make money from the business, there is a market for the services provided, but my lack of credibility and lack of confidence are taking their toll.
Worse, just like in the article, I have totally lost the interest and the passion for it.
I wanted to set it up so that I was sort of “franchising” but not franchising, i.e. owning the business and having sub-contracted consultants doing the consulting, with me just taking a small percentage.
As in the article, I blog for a professional organisation under my business name, and I write articles that are published in business magazines.
I attend networking events and have attracted interest that I’ve failed to convert into paying customers – even though I have given great ideas to the business owners I meet with.
I have no doubt they seriously consider or even implement some of the ideas without my assistance and that’s fine.
Except, they’re clearly missing the point OR I am failing to make the point of why they need to hire me to do the work.
Honestly, I just want to sell it, but as you indicated in the article, there really is nothing to sell. No goodwill, no client list, nothing.
But the business is based on an excellent system that I have purchased the licence to use and there is a strong degree of exclusivity involved.
What do I do?
Seriously, I just want to offload it but I’d be happy to consider some kind of proper JV with an interested party.
Really, I am just so deflated and lost. I have to work up to 36 hours a week in a tough physical job just to make ends meet and that bugs me, knowing I could be making in a week from the business what I earn in a month from my job.
Let’s unpack this.
You are working 36 hours a week at a tough physical job in order to set up a business where other people do the work and from which you take a percentage? Where did you get such an idea? And why are you persisting in thinking it will work when all the evidence is to the contrary?
It doesn’t make any sense. For a start, while there might be demand for your service, will people pay for it? And will they pay enough for the service for you to make a profit? You need to revisit your business plan and rework it with what you know of the market now you have been in it. And be honest. There is no use clinging to a belief that the business SHOULD work and killing yourself trying to prove it.
Second, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that because people need the service and you have good ideas that there is a financial transaction between the two things. Lots of people are prepared to listen to good ideas and adapt them, but it doesn’t mean they pay for them. To buy a service, a company needs a compelling reason to buy, especially when times are tough.
Third, you said you have a licence to an excellent system. But think about it. The person that has sold it to you has done what you should do. Made their service into a product they can sell.
If I was you, I would give up your tough physical job and try to land a marketing job in a company. From there you start working on your business plan from inside the industry. There is no use clinging to an idea that doesn’t work when you are obviously entrepreneurial, talented and determined.
Learn from this and move on!
Your Aunty B
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