My family has supported me soooo much during this business-owning venture. I can’t thank them all enough for all of the support they have given me over the past 3 1/2 years. I have very little formal education in running a self-owned business. My expertise is science, personel management and medicine. I have always been fashion conscious and when the opportunity arose to purchase a family friend’s boutique, I was ready – I thought. I have a computer wiz brother, a dad who has done lots of maintenance, a mom who covers for me when I need time off, one sister that buys my clothes (free advertising) and the other sister is a CFO for a local business. This is the sister who has kept my head above water for more than a year past what I would have been able to do alone. She calls me every day to check in. Here are 1o things I have learned about my business from her:
1. Don’t get on the bus. When that nasty bus full of sorry unfortunate circumstances stops in front of you, don’t get on, you don’t have to. Just ’cause other people don’t like it or couldn’t do whatever, doesn’t mean it applies to you. You’re in charge of YOU!
2. Take your time. You don’t have to have an immediate response. You can think about it and get back to whomever. Take the time to research the issue and feel good about your response.
4. Have a plan (for everything you do) and a plan B. Do your best to know what you are getting into and how you are going to deal with it – best or worst case scenario. Think about it.
5. Do what makes you happy. If it’s not fun anymore, it’s probably time to look for something else. Chances are that if you don’t like doing it, you won’t do it well.
6. The standard rules don’t always apply. It’s not always black and white. Ask. Tell them what you want and see if they will change or at least bend for you. All they can say is “no”.
7. Live in a “bubble”. This is a place where everything is good and everything goes your way. If you think positively and believe in the happy ending, it will probably go your way. (It’s all about princes and ponies, right?) Don’t underestimate the power of positive thinking.
8. If you just can’t do it, communicate. Identify the problem and call the person in charge to see if you can come up with an agreeable solution to your dilemma. Chances are, just hearing from you, will give you a great deal of credibility and if you are genuine about wanting to solve the problem, they may be willing to help you.
9. It’s okay to close. It doesn’t mean you are a loser! Many things can contribute to the reasons for closing a business. They aren’t all bad. Most are out of your control like the current economy, construction in front of your store, health reasons, cost of doing business, or a change in your personal life. If you did the best you possibly could and learned something in the process, then you are definitely not a failure. Think, what shall I do next?!
10. Don’t look at all of the money you put into the business as a loss of your “personal” money. Look at it as an investment into the business for your education. I think of all of the money I could have invested in business school. There is plenty to be said for on-the-job training. (I have learned so much this past 3 years, real life things, things that I don’t think they teach in any school.)
Well, I’m still here and I am grateful for each week that goes by that I am able to stay open. I love the boutique business and I love to help women with their style choices. I go to all kinds of seminars, read books, network and ask lots of questions, but the sister factor is one of the big keys to my success so far. The big bonus is that she listens to other stuff too – who needs a therapist when you’ve got a sister?