Perhaps no family dynamic is more complex than the one between a mother and daughter — an emotional cocktail that mixes love with equal parts defiance, devotion and respect.
Placing the same two people in business together might seem like one way to set the stage for explosive results.
But, in fact, when today’s new generation of moms and daughters join entrepreneurial forces, both reap personal as well as financial reward.
Diane Salvatore, editor-in-chief of Ladies’ Home Journal, offers five start-your-own-business tips, whether you’re thinking about going into business with Mom, a friend or on your own.
- Know the business you're getting in to: Just because you like to drink good wine, doesn't mean you know a thing about selling it. Many successful entrepreneurs say you need to work in the business of your choice first. For example, you may want to make working in a wine store your first goal, even if it means a cut in salary. There are also companies like VocationVacations that let you test drive a new career so you can try on the work before you quit your current job. That way you will understand the downsides and frustrations of the business before taking the plunge – whether it's problems with vendors, the importance of the right location, or retaining good sales help.
- Immerse yourself in the small business community: There are many excellent organizations you can find within your state that hold seminars and conferences and offer consulting services. You can search through the Small Business Administration web site (sba.gov), a government organization committed to helping people start and grow small businesses. This will not only begin to familiarize you with the new business strategies but it is also a great networking opportunity.
- Create a business plan: A compelling – and convincing – business plan discusses not only the mission of the business, the marketplace in which you'll be competing and the reason why you uniquely can make it a success, but also includes a profit and loss analysis. The SBA offers detailed explanations and sample business plans.
- Show me the money: The SBA can also help you find local lenders who have an excellent track record in giving loans to small businesses, and doing so quickly. Also a great resource in terms of explaining different kinds of loans and effective ways to talk to your banker is womanowned.com. You may want to hire a financial planner to set up your cash flow situation to make sure you can pay your everyday bills while you are launching a business. For a good primer on this, go to the National Association of Women Business Owners.
- Pick a perfect partner: It's always good to have a right arm, but don't choose just because someone is your best friend, mother or daughter. Lots of business partnerships fail over this, plus you've wrecked a relationship in the process. You need someone who brings a skill set you don't have. So, be honest with yourself: If your strength is the creative or the marketing or selling side, but the idea of doing "break-even analysis" makes you sick to your stomach, consider either partnering long term with someone who has this strength, or hiring someone like this short term to help you get off the ground.
For more tips on starting your own business and the Ladies’ Home Journal story featuring five successful Mother/Daughter partnerships visit www.lhj.com.