Industry has a cycle
An entrepreneur was very keen to partner with him in a new training venture. The retail industry had taken off and they required trained personnel. He saw an opportunity to enter the market as a service provider; providing education and skills training required for securing jobs in this fast-moving industry.
He had done his homework and had a game plan. He planned to take a franchise of a company he had researched. He had worked his figures and expected to breakeven in 2-3 years. He had premises that were lying vacant. He would do it up as required with his expertise and contacts and at a lower than expected cost.
I had 2 issues troubling me – one of which I voiced to him immediately. Every industry has a cycle. The Retail Industry too will have a cycle. Every boom is followed by a bust. He thought the bust would be a long time coming and he could then put his premises to alternative use.
The other issue was he wanting me to be an active partner and expecting me to sit there and run day-to-day operations. There were two issues with this. (1) My heart was definitely not in this business/idea (2) I was a strategic thinker and pioneer; not a practical operator. I am excellent at launching/starting something; not staying back and running it. My DNA ensured I exited the venture within a week/10 days of launch.
Over 3 years later, I got a surprise call from him. He had just broken even the previous day he said. The franchise did not work out he said. He had in fact lost a lot of money, because most of it had been paid up upfront. Realizing he was not able to make any profits; he exited the business with a huge loss.
Co-incidentally, he was approached for use of his premises for a similar purpose. His premises were a perfect fit for their requirement. He leased out his furnished premises. It was through these rentals; that he had made up his accumulated losses, and had broken even.
After this experience, I was cautious not to raise hopes; and take on operational responsibilities.