Any success stories from business owners who have scaled back their business - temporarily or permanently?

(6 Posts)
Saffra Tue 11-Feb-14 12:12:35

I posted previously about my online business (an online shop) and am struggling with things at the moment. Am considering scaling things back as an option to reduce overheads (wages and marketing are the two biggest areas of spend), but worried about how I might manage.

I took on an employee when pregnant (DD is 2.5 now), and things were great to begin with. I was able to work PT, it was profitable and I was drawing a decent income. It was all manageable.

Over the past year, sales have dropped due to Google algorithm changes. Currently, I’m working 30+ hours per week (includes weekends and evenings) and my employee works PT. Several months ago, we took out a loan – part of it to invest in the business (to overcome the Google stuff) and part of it as our own living expenses. This money will have run out in 4 months time.

To scale back, I would need to fundamentally change how I run things with the business. With no employee, I would need to do everything, working every single day – probably no holidays at all etc. But on the up side, I would reduce some of my £18k marketing spend and wages bill. I couldn’t do it forever like this, obviously, but it’s an option.

To throw in a curve ball, DH and I would want another DC soonish (I also posted about this previously!). This was one of the drivers for taking out the loan, as we needed to give it our best shot as time’s fairly limited. But, if I scale back, it’s going to be very hard to bring in another employee as the business won’t be able to afford it.

Anyway, I’m really torn about it - especially as I feel that I want to spend more time with DD and together as a family, not less. I would love to hear any success stories if anyone else has been in a similar position of any kind. Or can offer any words of support!!

Thank you in advance.

ajandjjmum Tue 11-Feb-14 12:23:12

We did. Went from employing 20 or so people to just a handful - and that was pre-recession. The reason for doing so was that I was spending most of my time sorting out staff problems (mainly girls in their 20s and lots of on-going bitchiness), and we weren't any better off financially than we are with fewer people. It's worked for us, but there are obviously downsides - like I can't just decide to have a day off etc. etc.

However, if you're really thinking about a new DC I would try and find another way through it, otherwise you could really have problems if you want to keep the business going.

Saffra Tue 11-Feb-14 12:43:05

Thanks ajandjjmum. You are happier now?

Realistically, I think we will start trying for another DC next year when DD is in preschool. Perhaps I need to stick with 'Plan A' for this year (grow sales) and see what happens. At least I've given it our best shot.

I guess even though it's stressful now, it'll just be either more stressful or a different kind of stress without any support.

ajandjjmum Tue 11-Feb-14 21:22:24

Very much so. The last 3/4 years has been hard, but things are definitely picking up again big time. I can't see us taking on lots of additional staff though, I think we would both prefer to work harder and maybe accept that we'll have to pass by on some work because we simply can't cope with it.

Our business is 26 years old though, so we've seen a few ups and downs! smile The stress never goes when you're running your own show though.

Saffra Tue 11-Feb-14 22:17:47

Good on you. Glad it was the right decision for you.

It's also comforting to be reminded that businesses go through ups and downs. Hopefully there will be an up very soon to go with this down!

hi ! I had to scale back and reinvent my business - was previously 'face to face' - and because of a brain blip -( I can't speak anymore) - now it's all email based and via a web page ... it was a decision that was out of my hands obviously - I still needed an income - so just had to adapt !! it's all going well - so just goes to show - even in adversity a bit of determination gets you through !!
( I'm a freelance concept planner - designing kitchens, bedroom, bathrooms etc ! all on CAD )

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