Tuesday, June 9, 2015

When Is It Time To Close A Business?

Starting a business is exciting...Closing that business isn't so much fun.

The hardest part is usually deciding when to call it a day. I got a request from someone (who shall remain anonymous) to address this, so I asked her to write a letter detailing her concerns. Here it is:

Dear Kara,

I am writing you because I have a dilemma that I cannot resolve.  I started a small home-based cake business several years ago, mostly because I just wanted to, and have built it into a profitable business that could be expanded if desired.  Here’s my problem… do I stick with this business or go back to the corporate world?

If I didn’t have orders and/or wasn’t making money, it would be a no-brainer, but that’s not the case.  
I have raised my prices and minimums, and while I am getting fewer orders, the orders I get are better for my bottom line.  I also love the fact that I have control over my business.  I can take off weeks at a time if I want, or take twice as many orders as I normally do if unexpected family expenses arise.  

Plus there is the flexibility I have with my kids as well.  Doctor appointments, registering them for this or that, etc isn’t an issue since I don’t answer to anyone but me.  I built this business from nothing, and am proud of it.  On the other hand, I am constantly working on something for the business.  Emails are always coming in, FB statuses need to be updated, dishes need to be washed, etc.  Of course, there is all the advanced planning involved and no weekend fun for me as well.

In my corporate career, I considered myself successful as well.  It pays very well, has benefits, and a retirement plan.  I would typically have nights and weekends off, and have paid vacation/sick time.  

Of course, that flexibility goes out the window the day I start back.

I have spoken to my husband about it and he just sees the increase in income if I go back to my corporate job. If I spoke to my family about it, they would “feel bad” about me throwing away something I worked so hard to build.  

I feel like no matter what choice I make, the grass will always be greener on the other side.  Help?

The Crazy Caker

So that's the problem. I spoke with the author and clarified a few things. Her husband is in favor of her going back to her corporate job because he sees it as an increase in income, benefits, paid vacation time, etc. She feels like her extended family would be upset if she gave up something that she'd built on her own. She's not "in love" with doing cakes but it's profitable, but not as profitable as a steady corporate job would be.

And she said the worst part is that she doesn't have anyone neutral to talk to about this. Sound familiar?

I'll respond tomorrow, but add your thoughts in the comments section here in the meantime. There are a lot of angles to this kind of situation and not all of them are full of rainbows and unicorns.

Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC,  online cake supplies at  www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com


Everett Edibles said...

I too was just in this postion this past January. My choice came down to what path with create a more happy me. More money? More freedom? Less responsibility? Less stress?
In the end I did not go back to the "work force" nor did I keep my custom cake shop open. I transitioned. I moved into selling my custom deocrations, selling online guides on how I did cake things, and so far 6 months in, I am happier then I ever have been. I still have my freedom, yet not the stress pushing custom cakes out every weekend entailed. I still have less money then the "work force" offered, but I save more money by not having to place my 4 kids in child care while I work.
In the end the choice was about my happiness. A very strange thing to measure when as a mom and wife, I had always measured my happiness by how happy my kids were, or my husband, or my bank account. It was a hard thing to do, putting my wants in 1st place. But for now, I enjoy what I do again. I am happier. AND my family is happier too!

Kara Buntin said...

Very astute...And when you read tomorrow's post you'll be nodding your head through the whole thing, I'll bet! Your solution is very close to what I think about the situation.