Planning on TTC #2 but need to borrow and take on risk

(6 Posts)
Saffra Wed 09-Oct-13 11:58:23

I posted when I was pregnant and also more recently, and was hoping to get more good advice.

I run an online business from home with 1 employee, currently work about 30 hours per week. It's been perfect in many ways as it's granted lots of flexibility to work around my DD, whilst also generating a good income.

DD is now 2 and I feel I'm at crossroads. DH and I are talking about trying for #2 next year. I'm 36 now. I have also had some complications previously when TTC DD.

The problem is, over the past year, the website's been hit by Google updates and sales have dropped significantly. I've looked at various ways to cut costs - and I'm close to the bone now and it's stressful. But, in truth, I think I need to go the other way, i.e. invest, in order to support the growth of the business. So, that would mean a loan (of around £15k, which would cover around 6 months work) - which means some risk.

If the investment doesn't pay off, then it could mean more stress - whilst going through the potential stress of TTC/pregnancy/newborn stage, etc.

One way or another, I need to make it all work - and pretty quick. It's essential that I keep my employee (as can't do this part-time, otherwise) - at this rate, I will need to let her go soon.

WWYD?

Should I delay TTC?

Should I take the (calculated) risk and do it ASAP so that the business is in a better place once #2 arrives?

Any advice/thoughts would be much appreciated.

MrsMargoLeadbetter Fri 11-Oct-13 10:35:52

Hello

Sorry to hear the last year has been tough. Have 'watched' your story across the years on this board and have always been impressed at how you have made it work.

I think if I was you I'd look to reverse your fortunes now rather than later. You have worked hard and increasing sales from where you are will be easier (with some help) than trying in another 1/1.5/2 years when things could be worse.

I think the main questions are:

- Does it have to be £15K? Have you got a few quotes for whatever it is you plan to do? I ask as sometimes I just get one quote and get fixed on that being the cost of x. Are there different scenarios of what help you need? Eg SEO work, versus a telesales campaign, versus a direct mail campaign etc?

- Have you done the sums? If you were to take x months mat leave at x point can you carry on trading and pay back the loan etc? Have you looked at various lenders/senarios. There might be Government backed schemes that have better terms than the bank? If you cannot pay it back what is the worst case senario, is your house safe?

Assuming you can make the sums work I'd also not hold off TTC. Whilst you aren't 45, you might need a year of trying and better to start that now than later?

I really feel for you. If you want to improve things I'd act sooner than later.

Good luck.

MrsMargoLeadbetter Fri 11-Oct-13 10:36:35

Naturally I mean "scenarios"!

Saffra Fri 11-Oct-13 14:35:54

Thanks for posting MrsMargoLeadbetter. My lone voice was starting to echo around the tumbleweed...!

- It doesn't need to be £15k. Quotes and my estimates so far total £10k, excluding contingencies. Probably £12-13k would cover it. I'm still getting quotes and having discussions with various people (from SEO to PR, and everything else) at this stage, and exploring as many options and scenarios as possible.

- I admit that I've not done any sums at all yet for our personal finances. I've been totally absorbed in trying to put together a plan for the business. The plan was to take out an unsecured personal loan and use that as a directors loan. (It's a ltd co). We would take it out over 4 or 5 years, to keep the payments manageable. If the company is profitable, I can continue to take dividends. If not, then we would struggle. And that's where it could potentially be exceedingly stressful.

Worse case scenario: I would need to make employee redundant and it would then become totally impossible to manage.

Even worser than worse case scenario: I take out loan, it doesn't work, need to make employee redundant, I delay TTC, then realise I need to TTC, can't conceive. No business, no baby.

:-(

MrsMargoLeadbetter Fri 11-Oct-13 15:13:41

I'd look at the figures as soon as you can. From a quick calculation repayments would be c£300 a month (£15K, 5 years @ 6%). It isn't an insignificant amount but depending on your circumstances it could potentially be squeezed out of your personal income (eg DH's income/you get a 'normal' job) if you have to close and it is left behind? I suppose what I mean it isn't £100K which could require the selling of property to clear it if you own etc.

I think business grants are probably a thing of the past but have you searched to see if there is any Government/enterprise support? David Cameron et al love an entrepreneur!

What is your gut-instinct? Do you think you can return to the higher sales?

And when you think of yourself in 5 years what does your life look like? What will be the most important aspects of life then.

Have you also posted on Uk Business Forums? There might be business owners on there that have done similar etc.

I wish I had the answer for you. Such a tricky one.

Saffra Fri 11-Oct-13 16:09:11

Thank you... you have asked some very thought provoking questions.

My gut feeling says that I can make it work - but only if I can invest more into it. But, obviously I can't escape the fact that the risk is there. I'm seeking advice from all quarters at the moment, including a forum where some talented SEOs hang out. Yes, I have also posted on UK Business Forums, which generated a couple of ideas, but mainly low level type stuff or ideas that I know just won't work for my specific niche. Ultimately, as with most ecommerce businesses, organic traffic will always provide the main source of income, and it's this that I need to tackle.

Five years from now? More of the same, I think, albeit on a bigger scale:

2 children, both at school, working from home still probably (but bigger house!), more support in the business, further industry recognition, freedom and flexibility, opportunity to be creative and work on interesting projects.

Maybe having a second business too. You know, to cause more stress...

I guess there's no right answer on how to tackle things, but I see that I need to take action very soon as I need to have everything flying by the end of next year.

Re: grants, I had a mentor that gave me a load of info about grants but there wasn't anything for my area, sadly.

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