Here’s a question sent to the SERDEF Media Bureau by an anonymous housewife who seems to have a promising small-scale business which she does halfheartedly. The business apparently has potentials to grow and opportunities to expand are knocking on her door. She is reluctant to take advantage of these opportunities, afraid she might lose her sense of priorities. She is adamant her family takes ascendancy. We gave her some options and compromises she could consider.
After quitting my office job soon as I gave birth to my first child, I put up a small organic handmade soap business. My customers initially were my circle of friends, and friends of friends. Lately, I have begun to supply to a few drug and grocery stores in my city..
A sales agent got in touch with me recently, saying he would like to sell my products in Manila and even abroad using his own brand name. He asked me if I could produce in volume of about 1000 bars a week.
My husband is excited for me. But I am not. I like the business the way it is going now. It’s earning good money … enough to supplement what my husband brings home. I don’t want additional stress. I have small children who need to be closely monitored, tutored, guided.
“Sayang, tsk, sayang” my husband has since then repeatedly telling me, to the point of heckling.
It’s my own business. It’s my own life. It’s my own choice.
Don’t you think I am right?
In our interviews and encounters with entrepreneurs, we would sometimes, not too frequently, stumble on some who would insist: “I don’t want to grow.”
And yes, most of them are women like you.
Prodded to elaborate, some of them would confide they are afraid of growth. More accurately, they are afraid of the time and the energy and perhaps the additional money they need to expend and risk if their business grows any bigger.
Mom-preneurs like you are easily prone to this. They are afraid growing their business would reduce the time they spend with their family. The more successful in business they become, the bigger failure as wives and moms they are afraid they would tend to be. That is a legitimate fear especially among women with like you with growing children. Family over everything else is commendable, after all.
There are women, on the other hand, who don’t want to grow because they are scared-stiff to fail. “I can’t. “I’m too dumb for this. I will never make it!” – are their negative self-talk. And like a self-fulfilling prophecy, they eventually … what else … fail.
Sad, they never live up to their potential.
You can of course keep the status quo, even if your business seems to have good potentials to flourish. You can stay small and modest and avoid taking innovations and other initiatives for growth. As you say, it is your business, it is your choice.
But you should be aware of the consequences.
With today’s fast-changing technology and market conditions, it is risky for a businessman not to innovate and grow. Needs, tastes and preferences constantly change. Advances in R & D create additional needs or reinforce existing ones. Consumers and industrial users alike want and expect new and improved products and even variants of products. Indifference to these dynamics will doom the lukewarm entrepreneur.
A company that is inert may well as be dead. Or soon will be. It will be overwhelmed by changes and will be waylaid by competition who are more responsive to these changes. One who is indifferent to the dynamics of the market is doomed.
What are the options for such as you who feel unable or unwilling to cope with the demands of growth?
An obvious option is to stay as is and wait for the winds of change to blow over the business. When that happens, you can go back to employment (if that is less stressful for you) or you can be a full time stay-at-home wife and mother.
You have also the option to partner with someone you trust – who would be willing to share with you the expenses of time, money and effort you might feel unable to risk by your lonesome.
Of if your husband is willing – and he seems sympathetic to the business and convinced of its prospects for growth — he can be the partner of choice.
A husband and wife tandem – who have chemistry to begin with, as well as shared family goals – can be unbeatable.