Hi Aunty B,
I have been reading your column for a long time, almost since you started writing in SmartCompany. Thank you for all your insight and very direct approach. I like it!
I want to start a business in the food industry but my background is in financial planning. I have recently met people who are already successful in the food industry willing to be my mentor.
However, I have just started a new job and everything seems to be nicer as all things are new…..
Should I stay employed or should I start my own business?
Look, I would love to tell you to go for it. Honestly. But I can’t.
In my view a business founder needs one of two things.
One, an indepth knowledge of the industry within which they are starting the business. That way you can spend every hour of every day understanding your industry to make sure you are better than your competitors.
Or two, you need to be a highly experienced business builder who can take these skills from one industry to the other. That way you know how to hire a team and inspire people to spend every hour of every day understanding your industry to make sure you are better than your competitors.
You want to leap from one industry to a completely new one. Even with mentors you are still starting with zero knowledge of your industry. The food industry in particular is very difficult and highly competitive. To pull it off you would need to be an extremely experienced business person.
My feeling is you would end up regretting the move, especially as the current economic climate is difficult.
If you are happy at the moment, stay put; develop your contacts, increase your capital and study your opportunity. Most successful entrepreneurs jumped because they spied a niche, the environment was right, they had the experience and networks, and they had the correct backing.
But never give up on your dream. Entrepreneurs start businesses at all ages. Some of the most inspiring entrepreneurs I have interviewed started businesses in their 50s, 60s and 70s.
So be patient.
Your Aunty B.