Personal Challenges in business

Discussion in 'Growing and Managing a Business' started by greenflag, Sep 19, 2013.

  1. greenflag

    greenflag
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    Hi all,

    I'm at a crossroad in life and I need some advice. I don't know if many people will be able to relate to this but I've been seeking advice from other relevant boards, however this is the first time that I'm seeking advice on a business advice board. Pls read and drop a thought if you can.

    For many years I ran my business from home* despite job offers from local companies, and I was buying products in bulk and distributing to wholesellers. This ran well but of recent it has been struggling and it has been causing me a lot of worry.

    As luck would have it, I just got offered the opportunity to represent a foreign company's business activities. I have no experience in the industry they work in, however they claim that my greatest value would be in meeting the buyers on a day-to-day basis, that it would involve a lot of socializing, that I would be on the road constantly, that it would be stressful, and that I would learn on the job and eventually build my own customer base. The reason I got offered this is because the person who offered it to me knew that I was struggling in my current business, but has also said that there are no hard feelings if I decline the offer as he has spoken to others as well. However it is not a job, it is an opportunity to work on a self-employed basis representing them.

    Now read this:
    * Important to know: I ran my business from home due to a challenging medical condition that causes frequent difficulties in walking and embarassing difficulties when it comes to lavatory (yes, loo) usage. I know that I'm not being very clear on my challenging circumstance but the embarassing side of it is that you may wonder where I've been for the last 20 minutes, not knowing that I only went to pee ;) ...and this happens every two hours and no treatments have worked. For the difficulties in walking, treatments are there but unhealthy circumstances and stressful situations can make it worse.

    I do not want to reveal to the company that I have a medical condition (as the company is not employing me, plus they have other ready candidates to represent them) but also I do not want to accept something that will be more than I can handle. I know other people in this business and I see the distances they travel, the lengths they sit in peoples' offices, the socializing they do, the stress they talk about, and I've always felt that this is a lifestyle that doesn't suit me.

    What would you do or what advice can you offer?
    Thanks very much in advance.
     
  2. amwarner

    amwarner
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    Hi Green Flag,

    Wow, that situation presents an issue indeed. First things first, you said it's not a job it's an opportunity to work for yourself. Does this mean that the company will be compensating you based on commission (how many buyers you meet with, etc.) or would you still get a regular salary? And do you have to give them a percentage of their sales from deals you make with buyers?

    Second thing is sorry to hear about your challenging medical condition but why would you consider it if (1) they said that you'll be on the road constantly (2) it's very stressful (3) you know your limitations and have heard what other people go through with the distances traveled and the lengths they sit. To me, that sounds like getting involved in a situation that would be even more detrimental to your health.

    I know you said that you've been running your own business for a while but has been struggling lately, what are those struggles that you're experiencing? Because honestly, based on what you said and with your medical condition you described, that "opportunity" doesn't sound like it would be a good thing for you. If I knew of a position that I was told that it would be a very stressful environment and would take me away from my family for day on end, I wouldn't do it.

    But that's just me. Like I said, what struggles are going on in the business you currently have?
     
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  3. greenflag

    greenflag
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    Hi amwarner,

    Thanks for your response. You seem to be coming from a place of genuine concern.

    I'll reply to your three paragraphs first. For the first para, so far they have mentioned that its commission-based. I can work from home but I'll be managing an existing customer-base and also building my own. I'd be required to meet with customers in the same way I would if I was working FOR them. If I was to approach them for the 'job', I would ask for a salary and attractive commission since at the outset I would be more busy with their existing customers. Deals with buyers - we haven't reached that far in our discussion.

    Yes you are absolutely right, why would someone in the position that I am in consider something like this which could be detrimental to health? I mentioned earlier that I'm afraid of taking on more than I can handle, and I still feel the same way. But then again this is an opportunity that I didn't go out and look for - it landed on my lap. And it's such a toss-up between a) should I be safe, practical and find something that suits me, though I might struggle for a while......or b) take a chance, if I feel worse I can quit, but then I might be at a stage where I can't work at all or you never know I might actually pull it off.

    The struggles I am facing are largely financial on a personal level though I'm keeping my head above water. Business-wise though its tough because I have to start competing on much larger volumes and this is difficult for me to do. I have been reluctant to take financing (bank, personal, etc) because if the misfortune of medicals fall upon me, I would have dug my own grave if I was in debt to anyone. I can continue on the small scale that I am operating on, but I may end up just covering my costs and not really saving anything beyond that.
     
  4. Changed Creation

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    Hi Greenflag. If you read your post again, you'll see that you've in fact answered your own question, by saying you think it will be more than you can handle from health/medical perspective, but not only that, you also said you don't want that kind of lifestyle.
    So what I think is this: you're at a cross roads because your business is struggling and this is something anyone with a business can relate to. You however didn't explain why it is struggling. I think you should rather be addressing this problem and forget about the opportunity that doesn't really sound like a great opportunity for you. But then again I may be mistaken!
     
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