Looking back over the 15-year course of our business to its current successful form, several things pop up as pivotal issues.
Strategic design toward an end
Financial planning and management
In our experience the strategic design and financial planning have been key to achieving our goal. By strategic design, I mean asking yourself the question "What do I want my business to look like in ten and twenty years?" And the financial planning element is the tool you will use to decide how to invest your income for the future of your business. For example: It sure would be nice to have the latest full frame hot body from Canon and a big bag of their lenses, but I'll continue shooting the old stuff while using the same funds to pay off the mortgage early and contribute to retirement.
When you fold your business in 20 years, do you want it to be a box of leftover prints and another of outdated camera gear in a storeroom? Or does your ambition run more toward owning and selling a brick and steel storefront with an established name in a building you own?
Our ambition ran to the latter, which helped us partition each dollar of income between mortgage, equipment, operating costs, travel and savings. We now have a studio/gallery with an established name in a building we own outright, with appropriate savings and pension funds nicely endowed. When we decide it's time to quit, we can sell the real estate, established clientelle and name for considrably more than the boxes of unsold prints and old gear our business would comprise without the design and planning. For 15 years of work we have an asset of substancial value in addition to our accrued retirement funds. Sell the business and retirement is even nicer, even as we are free to continue with our boxes of old gear and prints as a sideline to retirement.
In short, where are you going with this idea? Now is the time to decide, because that clears a lot of muddle out of the process.