Aug
06

My First Try at Buying a Business

This post was written by Kelly Penick, a soon to be Sophmore at Appalachian State, Boone, NC
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I am happy to say that I am more than half-way through my esthetician schooling. It has been one of the best decisions I have made and one of the best uses of my time, especially in the summer. I have been blessed to meet a variety of different people, as well as grow closer to those I love.

As I work toward completing the course, I am still pursuing owning a business this fall. On one of my two days off, a Monday recently, I met with the present owner of a day spa that I have worked at for a few years. The spa is now for sale.

This meeting took a different course than I had anticipated and let’s just say the meeting wasn’t pleasant. I have known this owner for years now and she is quite close with my entire family. I see this close relationship as a negative in terms of my being seriously considered as a buyer for the spa, due to the emotions that we both share because of the family’s long-time relationship.

Yet when we did meet, I asked if she would consider me as a potential buyer. Much to my surprise she said “yes”. I then asked if I may see all records to the business, especially those covering the last 3 years. She answered “yes” to this as well. I found this exciting because we could now talk about the actual business in terms of numbers. What an inspiring thought that I would get to evaluate my very first potential business for purchase.

The next thing that came out of my mouth, however, and the reaction it caused, made me lose all confidence and want to surrender any thoughts of ever wanting to buy this spa.

I mentioned that the records would be in the hands of my parents, our accountant, and my mentors. Immediately the owner of the spa took offense to my having mentors, especially because they are not day spa owners like herself. She was confused and offended that I had not approached her to be one of my mentors.

I tried to explain that I did not approach her because in the past when I had mentioned my goals to her of owning a spa, while still in college, she looked negatively on my wishes to do so because I think she thinks I am too young. I also now in hindsight think she feel threatened on some level by my ambition.

I felt terribly discouraged at this point because whenever I have shared my goals with others, they have always supported me and shown great enthusiasm and excitement for my ideas. Here I have a lady in a business that I am passionately interested in buying, whom I have known for years and who has seen me grow, and instead of supporting me, which is what I had hoped for, she has instead become the first major barrier I have experienced in trying to reach my goals.

In the past I have worked for this owner as well as been a client of hers. I should have realized something was wrong with our relationship because she has always intimidated me. She has the type of personality where she can exhibit extremes of passive and aggressive. So, I have always been very cautious in what I say around her to try and avoid her aggressive behavior whenever possible.

I now realize that this situation makes it impossible for me to really be considered a serious buyer and equally does not make me want to be considered as a buyer. I need to move forward in fulfilling my dreams and I realize that this lady is someone I have to get past as far as facing my fears are concerned. I have allowed her to make me feel so uncomfortable for such a long time, and even though we had been apart for a few months, I still hold some of those feelings of intimidation and fear towards her.

I am learning that not even the people you might expect to support you, some of those closest to you, will. I know I possess the qualities necessary to be an effective esthetician first, now that I am trained, and ultimately a spa owner. Understanding my fears and insecurities around this woman, I now recognize as a source of stress I don’t need and one that will not allow me to perform my best even if we were able to strike a deal.

The reason I am sharing this story with you is to reassure you to not give up on your dreams, even though for each of us, sometimes, our own realities trying to live those dreams can seem harsh. Trust in yourself enough to know that your instincts will help you know what you need to do to make your dreams possible.

This lesson has been a big first step forward for me in understanding my value, strength and ability to overcome a setback along my journey. I hope my story might have been of some help to you too.

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