Holly Howard runs Ask Holly How, a small business consulting company based out of Williamsburg, Brooklyn that works with a wide variety of businesses from restaurants to retail to art studios and pretty much everything in between. Her clients report increased income and profit, decreased expenses and a significantly better quality of life. Holly heads up the Small Business Book Club at McNally Jackson Books.
Want valuable insight into how to grow your business? Holly hosts FREE 30 minute strategy sessions at The Yard in Williamsburg. Email her to set up a time firstname.lastname@example.org or to ask a question for the next Ask Holly How.
I currently work a full-time job as a teacher. I also run a small baking company on the side. Everyone loves my cakes, and I’m considering making a career transition. I dream about owning my own bakery, but I’m not quite sure if I should take the leap. Do you have any advice on how to know if I’m cut out to own my own business?
Chalkboard or Chocolate Cake?
This is such a smart question. Most new business owners make the mistake of thinking that owning their own business will allow them to pursue their passion full-time. It’s a mistake I see in about 80 percent of new businesses. It’s not that you won’t have time to pursue your passion of baking, but once you take the leap, your priority will become running the business. This means embracing leadership, learning how to do financial planning, marketing your business, and achieving set goals.
The good news is that even if these skills aren’t your strong suit, you can learn them. The key is to be willing to change the way you see yourself in your business and invest in learning. You’re no longer the head baker. You are the human resources director, the head of finance, and the operations manager all rolled into one. If all of those roles don’t excite you, reconsider if owning a small business is right for you.
Think about how much time you are willing to invest in the development of yourself as a business owner and most importantly, be honest with yourself about what your long term goals are. Often times, we get wrapped up in the excitement of the short term idea without really considering what our needs will be in the future. If you want to run a successful business, you must be able to think both short term and long term.
Good luck either way! You’re being smart by really considering what owning a business actually means rather than leaping blindly into your future. The more time you take to prepare now, and the more questions you ask, the more likely you’ll be to increase your chance of success when the right time comes.