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If you are considering a business that is heavily dependent on any firm, two of the questions to consider are these:

  • Will this dependency allow the firm to squeeze my profits?

  • What happens if the firm I am relying on goes out of business or chooses to stop doing business with me?

If these risks exist and you decide to go forward with your business, take the time to think through a detailed contingency plan, and formalize it in writing. You may never use it, but by writing it down, you force yourself to really think the issues through and you have it for immediate reference should you ever need it.


The “Can It Survive Without Me?” Test addresses an upside potential of the business you are considering: Are you building a terrific go-it-alone business that will have the potential to be sold?

It is, of course, terrific if you can create a business that will have a value without you. Remember, this may be only an added benefit. If you create a successful, substantial, go-it-alone business that allows you to pursue your own passions, provides the freedom of being your own boss, and returns a substantial income—all with a minimal capital risk—then you should certainly feel good!

Over time, you will be able to systematize more and more of your business. At some point, it may well be that you have captured all of the specialized knowledge you used—via your core competence—in procedures and systems. At that point, the business can exist without you and has a market value as an independent asset. The appropriate method for determining the value of your business is beyond the scope of this book. One word of caution, however:

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GO IT ALONE! Copyright 2004 by Bruce Judson. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.