When Spring Calls for Change, Start a New Business

Work-Life Balance on 03.06.12
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Photo: Laura St. John

Do you dread getting up each morning to go work for someone else? Then I think this year, you should turn your spring cleaning inside -- and start with yourself.

Spring Is a Time for Rebirth

As winter comes to a close, the season of spring represents more than just a time that you get the itch to fly somewhere to dip your newly painted toes in warm sand: Spring represents a rebirth, a new beginning. So it's the perfect opportunity to reinvent yourself, take a deep look at who you want to be, and plan for a career change.

Find a Proven Model

The quickest way to spring into something new is to look for a proven model -- like a local, established business that may be for sale, or a unique franchise or license that is turnkey and ready to go. There are plenty of people who already paved the way. Believe me - we've already made lots of mistakes and learned the hard way -- so you don't have to. Check your local papers and online listings for potential businesses for sale, or search for franchises or licenses in categories that pique your interest.

Whether you purchase an existing local business or buy into a new turnkey concept, you should always get a good idea of what you're paying for. With an established business, ask for a report on any inventory, local trends, numbers, customer data, and anything that the seller perceives as a value that's part of the asking price. With a new business startup, like a franchise or license, you should be paying for operating and procedures guides, marketing materials, branding, training, and ongoing support.

In either case, do some digging: Ask to see as much as you can before you make the purchase, and get references so you can talk to people who have experience with the seller and the business concept. You should find relief once you talk to references, so ask them if you can continue to ask them questions as you move forward in your startup process. I can assure you that a little bit of mentoring goes a very long way to both ease your tension and affect your bottom line.

Spring, Sprang, Sprung

To start planning, create an ideal launch timeline, and work backwards from there. Many entrepreneurs I talk to this time of year are thinking ahead now for a fall opening, when kids are entering a new school year schedule and you may have more time open up. It happens to be a perfect fit in our education business because it gives people time to get their feet wet with training, organizing, and marketing -- then prep an exciting Back-to-School launch.

Although some times of the year may be better than others, there will never be a perfect time, so stop waiting. Life is always busy and you should expect to go through a range of emotions -- from thrilling excitement to heart-pounding "Am I nuts?" jitters. It wouldn't be called 'diving' in, or taking a 'plunge' or a career 'leap' if it wasn't just a bit scary.

Now stop looking for another closet to clean out this season. In the long run, when you look back at the spring cleaning you did back in the year 2012, you will be happy you started tackling the most important job -- yourself.

Laura St. John oversees the fast-growing network of entrepreneurs -- who get to work with kids, make a difference, and create a flexible work schedule -- by offering Discovery Kids Puterbugs technology classes in their local market. Interested in learning more? Join Laura's free webinar on Tuesday, March 6 at 1:30pm EST or register for an online packet of information.

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