This might be a little bit of a rant…
New years day is quickly approaching and I’m taking time to review the business. For those of you whom have met me, you know there are a couple different sides to me. One that is completely oblivious to absolutely obvious situations, and one that is so hyper focused in a situation that your own thoughts are known to me before you have them. Reviewing company performance and metrics takes on the hyper focused side of that dichotomy.
Looking back at the business a lot of shit happened. We launched, we brought on a couple wholesale accounts, we did A LOT of farmers markets… its been interesting to say the least. In the end, I realized that there has been a lot of investment into growth. A lot of investment into marketing, but overall some great successes and losses.
One thing is for sure, this deal has been a ton of work and it was the furthest thing from easy that I’ve ever experienced in my life. Having been a professional chef, and in the military, I’m well versed in difficult jobs. Being a small business owner in a cash based (0 company debt) business is the most difficult way to approach staring a company. You become reliant on driving any and most profits back into the business. You begin to ration things in your own personal life in order to divert funds to the business… Thoughts like, “do we really need a new tie to go to the wedding…do we need to go to the wedding at all?” It all counts, every penny.
Being tired is just the beginning. This whole journey started, I had a full-time job. Now I don’t… Is it a measure of success? Its terrifying to say the least. Doing 3 farmers markets a week, working 60 hours a week for someone else…attempting to grow social media for the company, and a million other tasks that you know you need to do, but just don’t have the time…sleeping 3 hours a night for weeks on end… this shit is not easy.
Relying on sheer hustle and talent (perceived?). That is the hardest part. Being a small-business owner you realize that it’s all on you. You only have 1 at-bat. Is there room for error? Only a little. The real question is how hard you are on yourself. Do you see the opportunities that you miss in a day? A week? A month? Then to notice how quickly time passes by… reflecting on that time I’ve come to realize not only growth but also the opportunities missed. That is the hardest part, second only to the art of making a decision (I could write a book on that).
But what I’ve come to realize most about this short journey (yes, it is still under a year) is that the reward is only what you seek. Which metric of review do you, as the business owner, value most? Sales dollars? Amount of pounds or cups of coffee sold? Social media growth? I can’t answer that question. But what I can say, I’ve taken great joy this year in putting the effort into doing this deal. Working harder than ever. And more and more, It’s looking like this is a game that I’m playing against myself.