Here’s a curveball for you – we have received a different business opportunity this week.
It wasn’t something we were expecting, so as we analyse the pros and cons, it has made us consider what is most important to us right now?
Money or Time?
We want both, but is one more important than the other?
The answer is yes. Time is more important to us. Time with each other away from work. Time with our kidlets. Time with our dogs. Time with our friends and extended family. Time to make our health a priority. Time to travel (one day again soon, hopefully!)
It hasn’t always been that way, though. And that brings me to my main point. Certain stages of life will mean that one will mean more than the other to you.
Here is how we have viewed both as we have moved through our stages of life.
How we answered these questions meant whether we went ahead or not.
As a couple with no kids:
We were starting out, so money was most important here. We offered time to get more money.
We would ask ourselves:
How can we use sweat equity to turn this around, to gain maximum profit out of this?
If we work x hours for x years, our gain will be this – is that worth it?
Are we strong enough and aligned enough as a partnership to spend this time working on getting the result we want, even if it takes from our time as a couple?
Then how we would assess when the kids came along:
*This is when they were little, before starting school*
If we put sweat equity/time into this business, how long do we have to do that to get a gain? (We were no longer willing to consider extended periods, like years, to get a result here.)
Is that too long for our family to have our business be our focus during that time?
Will the kids remember that period of working more, and how do we set up the business to have flexibility if we have to spend more time at home with the kids for some reason?
Are that effort and time away from them worth the gain?
Now that our kids are older and WILL remember the time we would have to invest, we ask:
*Our kids are currently 12-year-old twins and a 9-year-old at the time of writing, so we ask for their opinions on things that impact them. *
Is the effort this business will take to train staff/set up to operate without us worth the time away from the kids, compared to the gain we will make? We can’t get the time back with them, so is the money worth it?
How does that impact our family if we have to spend longer getting it set up because something goes wrong?
What is the likelihood of something going wrong in this deal?
Do they understand why we would consider this and how it can impact our family?
What are their thoughts on this?
With every scenario we also consider –
What is the exit strategy?
What happens to our time and money commitment if:
- It has poor sales
- It is hard to get staff
- It goes gangbusters (a better problem, but still a problem because you have to be able to fill customer orders, or you’ll see a downturn when you begin to disappoint people.)
- We can’t get enough staff to keep up with demand? Is equipment a viable option?
How do we cover the risk of the downside?
Richard Branson has a saying:
When it comes to risk, what is the downside?
Can you live with that downside?
If you can live with the worst-case scenario, go ahead.
Here is how we assessed the risk before in each scenario for our family:
Before kids, we had little money, and we didn’t have any commitments with our time other than each other. We both agreed that we would work hard to get ourselves set up, so the only real risk at this point was time with each other.
With young kids, we were less available to do the hours ourselves, as we weren’t keen to commit too much time away from our kidlets. We could ‘suck it up for a period’ to get a specific result, but if it didn’t look like we could achieve that reasonably quickly, we would pull back from too much time commitment.
With older kids – We are now even less available to do the hours ourselves. It may seem funny that we want to be around more when our kids may need or want us less, but it is very obvious to us now that our time with having them at home is drawing nearer and nearer to a close.
So, we now ask – Is there a certainty that we can get the result we want in a specific time? (A time that we think is acceptable to spend building the business, with less time on the family side?)
Or is that uncertain, leaving the door open to guilt and later regret, that the time was given to the business and not our family because it took longer to get the result? Will we find that the kids will be gone once we have finally reached the result we were after?
Another factor to consider at this juncture is that our parents are getting older.
Is time invested in another business going to give us the short time frame to get the result, or are we risking the time left with them as well?
When we were young and in our first businesses, our parents were in their 50s.
Now, 20 years later, we have lost 2 of the 4 of them, and the remaining 2 are in their 70s.
How much more time are we going to have with them?
Do we want to spend that time only seeing them a couple of times a year, as we are too busy in our business?
Can you live with that choice if something happens?
There is no wrong or correct answer here, as every family is different. Only you know whether this is the right move for your family.
Communication is critical. Your loved ones are the most important people in the world to you, so what does taking on a business mean to you and them at this time?
We still haven’t decided whether this is the right move for us. We are asking all these questions above and doing profit calculators, break evens and budgets, etc.
Time will tell where we land, but we do know this. Time is finite. We don’t know what is coming around the corner, so use these questions to have a conversation with your loved ones about what is most important to you all.
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