Apr 12, 2016

    Set deadline to decide whether to go on or quit

    DEAR Troubleshooter,

    I am a man in my 40s. I run my own business but I cannot decide whether to continue running it.

    I may not be suited for this work. Annual sales have not been in the black for more than half of the past 13 years. I have depended on my wife's savings and my parents and borrowed at least a total of 5 million yen (S$62,500) from them. I also work part-time on my days off.

    I was initially too optimistic about my work. So I've made efforts to improve myself by doing whatever I can.

    For example, I study business management, ask people who have produced good business results for advice and attend various events to meet and exchange with other people. But my efforts have yet to bear fruit.

    I like my work and I have enthusiasm for it. I also have ideas in the planning stage. Nevertheless, thinking that this situation may continue, I can't help but feel anxious about the life of my wife and three children and also about my old age.

    Do I have to prioritise earning a steady income by doing even more part-time work?

    Dear Mr R,

    You receive a lot of financial support from your wife and parents but you say "I run my own business" without any sign of hesitation.

    That in itself is a problem.

    You have been able to maintain your business only because of the kindness from your family members who want to help you do what you want to do. You can only get that type of support from your family.

    Usually, a business can only be realised when its operator succeeds in making many people, other than their families, feel like being involved in it.

    To be successful with a business, you need people who buy its products and support it.

    You say you have enthusiasm and ideas for your business. I do not know what kind of business you run; however, you seem to lack a sense of responsibility for and belief in your business.

    Have you ever pushed yourself to the absolute limit? You have to raise three children and it is not easy. But I would say that it is not too late.

    Get into action by setting yourself a deadline or limit - "if it isn't successful at that point, I'll give up on it resolutely".

    You should do that first, rather than do more part-time work. This way, you can pour all your energy to try and get your business off the ground.

    If you do that, as well as display a sense of responsibility and self-belief that earns other people's trust, some of those people may want to join your venture too.