Dec 142011

How about a part time small business?

There are strong arguments for and against starting a small business as a part time venture. Here are a few things to ponder:


If you still have a ‘day job’ then the need to make money from the outset with your new venture is lessened. This means that you aren’t panicked into doing things or making decisions for the wrong reasons. It also means that you can slowly transition from one income source to another. On the downside, the chances are that your new business will grow more slowly than if you were 100% dedicated to it; it may seem exciting now to come home from a 10 hour day at the office and work on your new project but a few months down the line, 5 (or 7) days a week and you (and the family) might be flagging a little.

Customer perception

Is your new venture one that requires a lot of customer interaction during the working day? If so, going part time may be difficult as they will want to talk to you while you’re doing the day job. To a customer that might look like you don’t care about them. Being at work all day might also mean lost opportunities when you’re unable to answer phone calls or attend networking events where new customers might be. If your buying a franchise it may be that you’re not allowed (by the franchise agreement) to only run the business part time.


Jumping into a new business full time is a big commitment and, as a result, you’re more likely to be totally dedicated to it. Starting it off part time could lead to complacency as you always have the safety net of the day job to fall back on and people (including your bank manager and customers) may feel that you lack commitment in the venture.


What sort of person are you when it comes to overcoming obstacles? How would you feel if the business failed? If you think that such an event might have a heavy impact on you then starting off part time will probably be the more appropriate way to start as you still have the day job life line to hold on to. Some people get spurred on by failure and just see it as a minor bump in the road to success; if you’re one of those then the chances are that you would prefer the ‘all in’ approach.