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    10 Replies Latest reply on Jul 8, 2010 3:58 PM by amspcs

    Scared stiff!

    ihaterisk Newbie
      My husband wants to use the inheritance my parents left me to start his own floor covering business. He has 25 years experience in the trade including over 15 years as general manager of a shop. I am terrified of the risk and would rather we both go out and try to get regular jobs. After all we are both in our 50's and that inheritance was suppose to take care of our old age. Any advice?
        • Re: Scared stiff!
          financestar Newbie
          My advice would be to be absolutely sure he has thought this all the way through. Make sure he writes a business plan that details the market, the unique benefit he can provide the consumer, a sales and marketing and which forecasts revenues and costs. Try to get an advisor, for example SCORE will usually provide some guidance for free, to read it and review it. There is a lot more to be a running a sucessful business than just being good at what you do.

          Also you both have to agree on how will this business fit into your lifestyle. Does his success depend on his working twelve hours a day seven days a week, fifty two weeks a year managing the business? Is he willing to do this?

          None of this is meant necessarily to dissuade you and he from going ahead with this if it is his dream and if he has the ability to be successful but it still needs to work for both of you and provide the income, life style and financial security you both need.

          I am actually in a similar situation having recently started an Accounting Services company to provide financial management to small companies on a part-time basis. My weakness is that while I can provide the service for the client, I have had great difficulty in finding new clients. I am still working on my sales and marketing plan.

          I hope this helps.
          • Re: Scared stiff!
            Barky Dog Tracker
            I would definitely second financestar's advice. It is very solid.

            I thought I'd share a first-hand experience. My wife runs a photography business. Her business next-door-neighbor is a flooring business. Or, should I say- was. Because after 20+ years in business he recently shut his doors. He said this economy is the worst he has ever encountered. His sales simply dried up. No matter what he tried (promotions, discounts, advertising) customers were not signing orders.

            He explained the problem as- homebuilders aren't building many new homes, and consumers aren't spending money to improve the flooring in their homes. Everyone is waiting to see if the economy will turn around. Meanwhile, his bills kept rolling in- month after month.

            Remember, even in a good economy most new businesses fail within five years. Many within one or two years. When that happens, a business typically files bankruptcy. Since you will be using your retirement funds- you may not have that protection.

            Here's the best advice I can give you. Even though your husband's first instinct is to jump into this new business with both feet, he should really reconsider. It would be best if he could work on building his business on the side. Yes, that means he'll be working his butt off at two jobs. However, you'll both have the security of a steady paycheck while he finds out if owning a business is right for him.

            Remember, even the best small business owners are really struggling in this economy. I would really hate for you to lose your retirement savings.

            • Re: Scared stiff!
              KathleenF Scout
              Sorry to hear of your loss! I think you've received some wise advise from both the other members.

              Good luck and please let us know what happens!
              • Re: Scared stiff!
                amspcs Ranger
                I've been in the business-to-business sector for many decades, and while I've seen many small businesses succeed, I've also witnessed many of them fail.
                #1 reason for failure: lack of proper funding. #2 reason: lack of business know-how---they just didn't have the knowledge or mentality to run a business. Many people have found out the
                hard way that working in a business and running a business are two very different things.

                What I'm suggesting is: IF you decide to go into business, make sure you hire a very smart and experienced BUSINESS man to mentor you and run the business side. Yuor husband may
                know about flooring, but that doesn't necessarily mean he knows how to run a flooring BUSINESS. Otherwise, put your money in the hands of a good financial manager and let him prepare
                you or your retirement years, and play it safe and forget about going into business. I hate to be a party pooper,but these are very unforgiving times, and my inclination would be to
                play it safe.

                  • Re: Scared stiff!
                    amspcs Ranger
                    If your husband ilnsists on going the business route, then YOU need to insist that he hire a professional business person to run the business end, as I advised in my previous post.
                    Again, your husband may know all about flooring, but that doesn't necessarily mean he knows how to run a business.
                    In this tough economy, there IS no trial-and-error leeway anymore. A few mistakes on the business end, and you'll lose everything in no time. I've seen it time and again.

                  • Re: Scared stiff!
                    ihaterisk Newbie
                    Thank you so much for the replies to my question. Unfortunately it basically comes down to my husband or the business and in spite of all the wisdom, warnings and flat out condition of the economy he wants to take the risk. I just have to hope I don't have a nervous breakdown and have to kiss goodbye my parents' legacy. All I can ask for at this point is faith and prayers on my behalf that, against all odds, this thing will work. Thank you again.
                      • Re: Scared stiff!
                        Barky Dog Tracker

                        "Unfortunately it basically comes down to my husband or the business" It's really sad to hear that is the situation you are faced with. :-(

                        A marriage is ideally a 50-50 partnership. It's not good when there is not complete agreement on such a major decision. I would hope your husband would treat you as a partner (with equal say) in this decision. Remember, it's your retirement future at risk.

                        It's really sad, but I know a 72 year-old neighbor of mine who still has to work a full-time job. In fact, he often has to work 50-60 hours a week just to make ends meet. No-one should have to work that hard at 72! But, he worked for a company that did not provide retirement benefits. He always thought things would work out and he'd make enough money for retirement. Obviously he didn't.

                        I hope your husband will take a step back and really get the advice and business guidance he needs before putting your retirement futures on the line.
                      • Re: Scared stiff!



                        Sounds like you are in between a rock and a hard place ... or your aversion to risk and your husband's desire to take a risk with your parents' inheritance.


                        I obviously don't know all the details of your situation (how much money you received from your parents, how much money your husband hopes to use to launch the new business and the depth of his business acumen), but is it possible to find a compromise? I hear you fearfully wanting to support your husband, but does it mean you have to go all in?


                        One key trait of a successful entrepreneur is resourcefulness. If your husband wants to use all of the inheritance to start the new business, can he get something started with half? Why risk the marriage AND the money?


                        Not that I am wishing ill will on either of you or your husband's hopes of starting a new business, but if he were to use all of the inheritance and fail at the business, does that put you in a situation of a troubled marriage and no money?


                        If so, don't go for broke. If you are willing to help fund the business, see if he can develop a plan that only uses a portion of the inheritance and once he uses up that money, you sell the business or close the doors.


                        Just a thought. I wish you well.


                        Doug Dolan


                        Small Biz Break (


                        The Solopreneur's Guide (
                        • Re: Scared stiff!
                          ihaterisk Newbie
                          I am liking the suggestions here for having a business professional involved here. My husband has indicated he will have an accountant involved but I'm thinking that's different from what is being suggested. My husband has an uncle who is a very successful contractor and I have asked him to call his uncle for advice but even though he said he would I think his pride is standing in the way. He doesn't want to appear in the least bit unsure about what he's doing. So I'm wondering if I could find out want is meant by hiring a "business" man to run the business. I'm just not sure what that means or where you would go to find one. I hate to confess it now but my husband already had a flooring business in the early 90's(before we were married) which failed with some pretty significant debt after operating for just a few years. So like some here have said, there is a difference between knowing floors and knowing business. I personally am completely confident in his estimating, selling and managing abilities. The business end? I just don't know . . .
                            • Re: Scared stiff!
                              amspcs Ranger
                              Hoo-boy, don't know where to start. Hope you don't mind a little frankness and brutal honesty.

                              First of all I'm not just talking about an accountant, which is something every business should have. I'm talking about someone who knows how to make business decisions to run and operate the business on a day-to-day basis, possibly as a paratner
                              if that's what it takes--in other words, the 'brains' of the operation, with your husband relegated to the role of what HE does best, which is basically the labor end. I'm guessing your husband knows all about everything ' floors'., which no doubt is a necessary element of your proposed business. But the person I'm talking about knows everything about _running a business_---how to handle money, how to negotiate with vendors, how to manage costs and expenses, how to properly figure overhead factors and pricing, how to
                              negotiate funding and loans, how to handle the books from a business standpoint instead of just a tax standpoint, how to negotiate leases and contracts--in short, how to properly manage a business entity. And please don't say you can't afford such a person---if that's the case, then you can't afford to open this business, period end of discussion.. Particularly with the track record of having already failed in this business in the past. If one couldn't make a go of this business type in the best of times back in the 90's, why in the world would one even consider trying the same thing again in these terrible economic conditions??

                              I also need to play a little "Ann Landers" with you (oops I'm dating myself--Ann Landers used to publish a very famous advise column in daily newspapers). You stated in your initial post that the inheritance to be used for this proposed business was from YOUR parents, did you not? So it seems only fair that YOU should have at least some say-so in this matter. OK, if you're husband and wife, how about 50/50 at the very least? Yet, the gist of your explanation seems to be you are faced with the choice of either giving in or risking your marriage. Do you see where I'm going here? I : What I'm saying is, it takes TWO to tango. If you BOTH don't agree,then you need to find a compromise you can both live with. If, on the other hand, you give in and the resulting business venture is less than successful, then YOU as the enabler have a much blood on your hands as the other party. So if you have any input into this matter whatsoever, nows the time to step forward and either put up or shut up.