Hidey ho mamas! (is it just me, or are my greetings getting weirder?) 😛
To continue in my awesomesauce mompreneur series, this post is for the mompreneur who has an already established but small lifestyle biz, whether you’re a blogger, coach or consultant, it might be time to take this passion of yours and start to think big!
Could Your Small Lifestyle Business Become Something More?
The definition of a lifestyle business, as per whatis.com, is a business that predominantly only serves one person. It is a business that can operate enough to generate an income for the business owner but is unlikely to expand, take on staff, or develop beyond its basic operation. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with lifestyle businesses– they offer millions of people the chance to be their own boss, make the money they need to care for their family and experience a degree of flexibility. Many mompreneurs find themselves drawn to lifestyle businesses in an effort to spend more time with their children as well as pursuing their own career goals.
If you are the owner of a lifestyle business, then you may well feel that that’s all you need from your company. You’re quite happy as you are, and rightfully so– not everyone wants to take over the world and push their business to greater and greater heights.
However, some mompreneurs find themselves wondering if their business could expand beyond the remit of a lifestyle business. They wonder if they have hit on an idea so good, it could be expanded, developed, and grow to a point where it could no longer justifiably be called a lifestyle business? If you have ever found yourself wondering this about your lifestyle business, then this article is for you.
The scale of the challenge
It is important to be realistic in life, so let’s get the bad news out of the way first: expanding a business into a small/medium enterprise is not going to be easy. A lifestyle business does not need to do too much to generate an income for one person. Many mompreneurs run lifestyle businesses as an extension of themselves; some don’t even see the need to separate their finances or incorporate the business as an entity. As a sole trader, it’s well within your rights to do that– but if you want to expand and develop into a small/medium enterprise, then you will have to separate yourself from your business.
This means immersing yourself in a huge amount of paperwork as your business becomes a separate legal entity. It will also change your taxation requirements, which may require the assistance of an accountant to unpick.
There is also the change to your business experience, which some lifestyle business owners find challenging. You have to be sure you’ll be able to handle the input of others into a business that once only needed your opinion. Could you handle employees disagreeing with your ideas, or having to follow directions from an agency you have outsourced to? You probably can, if it’s for the good of your business, but it’s worth asking the question of yourself regardless.
Considering the prospects
It is important to be realistic when assessing your lifestyle business for its potential to grow and expand. While all lifestyle businesses can theoretically expand, that doesn’t mean it is feasible or genuinely workable. Here are a few examples to explain.
Let’s say you sell handmade jewelry online. It is your sole income and does well. You want to expand to selling to retailers and increase your product line. However, the charm for her customers is that her products are all handmade by you; if you bring in employees, your business will lose that authentic touch.
Furthermore, if you were to produce items in large quantities, you would also need to involve herself in a huge supply and distribution network: sourcing more materials, working with factories, handling distributors, and a host of other time-consuming tasks. You could do this, but given these circumstances, it’s liable to be more hassle than it’s worth.
On the flip side…
Let’s say you are a web designer. It is also your sole income and you have plenty of clients. You want to expand your business so that you can offer her service to more customers, as well as expanding the products you are able to offer. You know you will need some outside help for this; you will need to outsource custom software solutions to the likes of Svitla.com so as to expand your product range, and you will likely need to hire more web designers as employees.
This is feasible because your personal touch on each design is not vital, provided the coding and overall production is good. You do not need to construct an entirely new production line to expand your business, nor do you have to pursue numerous outsource measures. This is a business that is viable for expansion.
Essentially, lifestyle businesses that can be expanded fulfill the following criteria:
- You only need to outsource to one or two companies in order to expand.
- The business is not dependent on you and your work personally.
- You do not need to bring in an entirely new production line to expand.
If your business does not meet the criteria above, then it’s worth investigating starting an entirely new business– you can use your successful lifestyle business as a testimony to your business skills when seeking investment.
The potential benefits
While it is important to think about the potential negatives of changing your business’ nature, it’s also worth thinking about the potential benefits– because there are many of them. If your business expands into a small/medium enterprise, then you have the potential to make more money; to increase your security in the industry; even potentially to grow large enough to be of interest to potential buyers. You may even reach a point where the business can operate without much input from you, giving you endless access to a positive work-life balance, and even more time with your kids.
If you have ever wondered whether your lifestyle business could be expanded into something more, you will now hopefully have an idea as to whether or not this is feasible. While the change can be challenging and time-consuming, there is also the potential for wonderful benefits that enrich the lives of you and your family.
I hope you have enjoyed this new take on the journey of my mompreneur series, please share this post and make sure you are subscribed to my mailing list and are following me on social media so you don’t miss the next post in the series!
A collaboration 🙂