Wednesday, June 28, 2006

business tomorrow

The Year of the Dog is the year of change, and in my case, so far, it's been positive.

Businesswise, we're looking at setting up a new branch of the pet store, which is quite exciting as the new location means a new market, which permits us the freedom to do thing we couldn't do at our SM Megamall branch.

My business partner and I are also looking at starting one or two new businesses this year, neither of which has anything to do with either intergrated marketing communications or animals. It's too early to say, but I'm rather gung-ho about the first one, which is smack dab in the center of my interests - and, in the long term, will help push my personal writerly agendas (or so I tell myself).

The other potential business is retailed-based and is also close to my heart. This one is slower in coming together because of a variety of factors. My only fears are that the window of opportunity may close unexpectedly or that I will lose interest (and from an entrepreneurial point of view, loss of interest is fatal).

In considering new business ventures, I simplify first before I get to the details. The venture has to be something of interest with room for me to contribute something more than just cash (time, talent, experience, connections, knowledge). The business needs to have the potential for growth. I need to be sure of who I go into business with - who you partner with is vital. And finally, it needs to be something I can afford to invest in since I don't have much money.

I'd rather invest a larger amount of money in a business with a small number of partners than invest a small amount and have ten partners. Apart from the fact that board meetings are easier with fewer partners, the returns - once dividends are paid - are larger. However, if I had more money (and could afford a loss once in a while), I'd consider the opposite model. I can imagine investing in ten businesses with ten partners each at less than 10% shares. At the end of the year, I'd have ten dividend payments, one from each of the businesses, which more or less equals full ownership in one business. The issue there, of course, is control. But I can cede control (and direct involvement) in exchange for regular cash.

My preference though is to be involved. I like being in the midst of things. Or at least I did. Nowadays, I'm feeling a lot older and less enthused about going out and handling clients and projects. I'm getting tired of thinking for other people, but have learned to deal with my fatigue so it doesn't affect my work. Part of me just wants to write or spend time with my wife and daughter, or play games with friends, or eat. Ideally, in a few years I'll have several businesses that do not require my direct involvement on a daily basis, and I get to putter around a smaller business, something I wouldn't mind spending time on like a small bookstore or a cafe.


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