Dear Aunty B,
I have always got on very well with my business partners. We have built a very strong company and there is strong demand for our niche product. We balance this with a good lifestyle. The problem is that my business partners want to expand overseas.
I think this is totally the wrong decision especially given current economic conditions.
For a start we don’t have the resources to sell and support an overseas push. It will distract us from our local operations at a time we should be very focused.
But I feel like they will go ahead without me and would value some support on this. I also feel we should start in NZ, but they want to start in the UK!
Sorry. But you’re on your own. I agree with your partners. If you have built a strong base here and you have a niche product and can identify demand in other markets, then you are on a winner. I think you are scared. You have worked very hard to balance the stress of the business with a good lifestyle and you don’t want to lose that.
But Richard, you don’t have to. Expanding overseas is difficult – but incredibly rewarding. There is no one way to do it, but developing strategic partnerships could be your answer.
As for going to New Zealand first… why?
As for it being risky – all business is risky. Taking a calculated risk on an overseas market can be risk mitigation – you are not so exposed to things going wrong in your own economy.
If I were you I would sit down with your partners, express your reservations and then discuss the pros and cons. Let them share their vision with you. Make sure that you tell them how much you value your lifestyle and work out ways you can protect that.
Richard, if you have read this far and don’t agree, then my last piece of advice to you is this. The time has come for you to move on. You will hold the business back if you stay.
Your Aunty B
This piece was first published on July 15, 2008