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Learnings as a small business owner

Do understand that as I write this, I'm only 4 months and 6 days into being a small business owner and my learnings are not to be set in stone yet. In short, please do not take these as advice ; but if it makes sense to you, I am glad :)




Indecisiveness is good


During my initial months while I was procuring raw materials and speaking to vendors there were times when I would put off something because it "just didn't feel right" ,"too expensive", "too complicated" and so on. I would beat myself up thinking I'm being lazy, unmotivated and indecisive instead of "powering through". The truth would come to me in various forms later(until my head was clear enough to see it) That indecisiveness is simply lack of knowledge, at least for me. When I know what my product should be like precisely, every decision is simply a yes or no. Its when I haven't done my groundwork or didn't work on my skills enough that I'm stuck. Now every time I cannot make a decision, instead of panicking and bashing myself, I look into it, do my research or simply sleep on it. Bottom-line is I have undoubtedly learned something new with every decision that I couldn't make.



Admitting that I do not know it all makes the process easier


I do not have an in-house team yet. The only people I work with are a team of carpenters. I consider myself immensely lucky to have these people working with me. What I love best is they know what they are doing and do not hold back from giving sustainable solutions to my design issues. Or sometimes, even point out an issue that I cannot recognize because I'm still a novice with wood as a medium. It helps that I am open to taking their suggestions and while I still design my products, they are the experts in the craft. Few years ago I would have said "But I'm the designer and I decide how its done!" While it stands true that I design my products and decide what it should ultimately be like, I am no longer fixated on the how.




I work with people ultimately


Sometimes it seems like a customer or client is being difficult and I almost feel like lashing out (not very proud of admitting this). While its a good thing I have never actually lashed out at any customer till now, the urge does feel real with some people. Same is the case with a vendor where I am the customer. There were times in the beginning when a product or sample didn't come out the way I pictured it to be or the finish wasn't up-to the mark. Normally these would annoy me and want me to look for another person to do it but turned out I simply had to communicate better. During one of these instances is when I had my simple realization- that when I am a customer myself I happen to be anxious and sometimes confusing with my requirements - basically everything that I define as a "difficult client". Bottom line is, I am working with people in the end- not their work or their product. So every time when I feel the urge to snap at someone this truth comes to my mind and that feeling dissolves.





Things will more often seem out of control and that's OKAY


I admit that there are a lot of days where things feel so out of control and I overwhelm myself. Having just started a business I accepted a range of roles from owner, accountant, sales manager, customer support, technical support and many other tasks that go without a title. I enjoy most of these and some not so much. And one of these or all of them may go haywire at a given time - payments wouldn't come through from the website, an order gets stuck, the bank won't get back to me on time, my tool breaks in between an important project and I don't have backup, and many more-these are events that happened and somehow I did manage to navigate them all (with lots of anxiety). I wonder if I will ever stop worrying too much. Because these are still small, manageable disruptions and there are probably bigger ones in store as I grow my business. And to be honest, with every resolved issue I become more confident even though I worry deep down. So maybe its okay that I worry and maybe its just an indication that I care about what I do contrary to having done jobs that I didn't give a shit about.


These are my humble learnings so far but I am absolutely sure that I will add on to this list very soon.