My wife doesn't believe in my start-up idea but I want to do it anyway

I want to open an organic food shop but my wife's worried we'll go broke. What's your advice?

by Jeremy Bullmore
Last Updated: 01 Apr 2016

Q. I've always wanted to run my own organic food store and, having slogged it out in financial services for 25 years, I've decided it's now or never. I've got a decent amount of cash in the bank, tons of contacts and a couple of leads on premises. The one thing holding me back is my wife. She's nervous about how it will affect our lifestyle (big house, kids in private school, regular holidays) and doesn't want me to quit my job. Should I take the leap without her support?

Jeremy says: I'd be pretty certain that your wife's lack of support for this venture has made you even more enthusiastic about going for it and that's dangerous. If she was urging you on, pressing you to chuck in your job and generally speed things up, your natural instinct would be to become more and more circumspect. In saying this, I'm not suggesting that you're being perverse; it's just that, when a difficult decision has to be made – when there are good arguments on either side – people quite naturally find themselves making the opposing case.

You say that the only thing holding you back is your wife. In fact, there are a great many other things that should be holding you back; it's only her opposition that may be preventing you from giving them proper consideration. Have you done a proper business plan? Have you found out what a successful organic food store could turn over in a year? At what sort of margins? Do you know what sort of waste levels you can expect? And what is your staff requirement and your likely costs?

If you've researched all this and much, much more; if you've paid a professional to check your numbers; and if your instinctive enthusiasm for this venture has been pleasingly bolstered by hard-headed financial analysis then do your best to reassure your wife and go for it. But without such discipline, you're running a truly fearsome risk.

Jeremy Bullmore is a former creative director and chairman of J Walter Thompson London. Email him your problems at editorial@managementtoday.com. Regrettably, no correspondence can be entered into.

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