However attractive this concept, it doesn't come trouble-free. The major disadvantages to working this way are:
- Becoming overwhelmed. It's possible that you might lose focus trying to do more than one thing at a time. Some people like having several projects going on at once; others don't. The key to successfully running more than one enterprise is organization. You may decide to devote Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday to one endeavor, and Tuesdays and Thursdays to another. Having separate, color-coded file folders for each profit center also helps.
- Juggling. Let's say your main business is a mobile auto-detailing service and you decide to start a car-alarm installation business as a second profit center. Detailing is a client-intensive business, and your clients may not like the fact that you have to juggle your time between enterprises. Or you may get so busy detailing that your alarm business drops. You certainly don't want to alienate clients. The way to avoid that is to learn to juggle your time and resources well. Be professional, make appointments you can honor, and keep that Palm Pilot handy at all times. Organization will be key to successfully creating multiple profit centers.
The best thing about multiple profit centers is not only are they good business sense, they can be fun as well. And it need not be difficult. If other entrepreneurs have figured out how to create multiple profit centers, you can, too. And you'll be glad you did.
Steven D. Strauss, Entrepreneur.com's Ideas & Inspiration Expert, is a nationally recognized lawyer, author and commentator. He is the author of the Ask a Lawyer series of legal advice books geared toward the layman, as well as the author of The Unofficial Guide to Home-Based Businesses. Steven is also a business columnist for USA Today.com.
Steve Strauss is a lawyer, author and speaker who specializes in small business and entrepreneurship. He also writes a weekly column for USA Today.