Lessons Learned from my boys and their bunny business (Part 2):

April 27th, 2015 by Patricia Jehle Leave a reply »

The past few years have seen ups and downs in the Jehle Bunny Business (JBB), but the boys have faithfully continued on their course. However, like a normal business, things will change. My eldest son has a year left in gymnasium (Swiss high school), and his life will change drastically. Negotiations are going on at the moment, so the outcome of the JBB is still unknown. It may be that the angels offer a friendly takeover and return to the “bunnies as pet” model. It may be that the younger son buys out the elder. No matter what the outcome, we have all learned some valuable lessons from this (ad)venture.


1. Be prepared for big success


The first year was much more successful than expected for everyone involved. As I wrote in the last blog, we had 50 rabbits to care for and find buyers for. The boys and their parents were just a wee bit overwhelmed. The lesson here is: be prepared to be a big success and make sure you know what you are able to do if the BIG CHANCE comes your way. Make sure you are prepared with a “what if” plan. Make a few of those kinds of plans, because there will be surprises. Try and be prepared with – and for- various scenarios.


2. But you won’t be able to foresee everything


No matter what, something you haven’t thought of will happen. The bunnies escaped from their cages and “got together” and, voila, you had eight more babies. Be prepared to change in the middle of things, because you will have to change your plan, and maybe often. If you don’t change, you will not survive. Period.


3. But there will be losses


Even if you are flexible and change, there will be losses. The fox or cat comes; the bunnies catch an illness that even antibiotics don’t fight; the mother dies or get sick and you have lots of young ones to take care of; and not all of them survive.


You need to plan your business so that the losses, especially in the first few years, are covered financially before you even start. Therefore, you must know if you are able to cover those possible losses. Many people say that if you quit your job to start up a business, you should be able to cover six to twelve months of working before making any income. But in fact, with some ventures, it may take years to break even. Losses are part of start-ups. That’s why so many of us start up our business while still working at another job, or have spouses (or other family) who can be our “angels”, or have substantial personal savings invested in the business.  In the end, though, there are no profits if you don’t market your product.


4. Marketing is key, even if it‘s not “you”


The boys continue to be weak in the marketing area. This is why we, the venture capitalists and parents, have stepped in to sell the products. An entrepreneur friend of mine said the other day, “I am going to ride a strange bus to a strange part of town to meet someone I do not know.” This concept of doing the unfamiliar is so important for marketing a start-up. If you are unable to stretch yourself and do the unfamiliar, you might want to reconsider your start-up plan. Everything will be new, but especially the marketing part, and even if you aren’t a marketer-type, you will constantly have to put yourself into unfamiliar situations and be willing and able to initiate.


So, if you are a great planner, are prepared like a Scout, are able to cover losses for some time, and are willing to, like the proverbial Trekkie, go where no one has gone before, then get ready to start-up!


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