Stay employed in a shop or start your own?

The thumbnail version:

  • Employment or business ownership?
  • Go forth with a plan and eyes wide open

The full version:

Thanks to COVID-19 and the ripple effect it has had on most aspects of our lives, we’re living in strange times. Your job in a sign shop has probably been affected in one way or another to the extent that you’re wondering if you might be better off controlling your own destiny.

You may be wondering if now is the time to do what you’ve maybe been thinking about for some time—open your own sign shop. If this is the case, just know that you’re thinking about more than opening your own sign shop; you’re thinking about becoming a business owner. There’s a difference.

Venture forth with eyes open, wits about you, and a plan.

You may know all you need to know about producing great signs. But what do you know about raising money, accounting, business planning, budgeting, hiring, firing, marketing, selling, leases, legal agreements, and a host of other non-technical issues that will confront you as a business owner?

I ask, not to scare you off, but to encourage you to explore business ownership thoroughly before leaping in at the deep end. Do a lot of something you probably don’t currently do much of—reading. Read (books, blogs, magazines), talk to business owners, and don’t venture out alone without one or more of a mentor, a lawyer, an accountant, and a financial planner to consult when your understanding, experience, or knowledge is deficient.

The dreams of business ownership tend to be all fun and games. The reality, not so much. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t own your own business, it just means that you must venture forth into business as you would into a jungle, with your eyes open, your wits about you, and with a plan.