Friday, January 25, 2008

Starting Out Small

We all have a vision of how it's going to be. As we're setting up our new business, we can see it at its peak, all shiny and healthy and full of good things.

It's good to have this vision. It's important to know what direction you're heading.

But it's also important to know how to prioritize, to know what's essential and what can wait. Let me give you a couple of examples from my own experience.

When Alan and I were setting up our second B&B, we wanted four bedrooms with ensuite baths. We also wanted a nice bedroom with ensuite for orselves in the attic. Well.

Due to needing a bigger down-payment than we'd originally been told, we weren't able to do all of those things at the start. After a bit of head-scratching and consultation with the plumber, we decided on TWO rooms with ensuites. The other two rooms shared a bath. After two years, we'd done enough business that we were able to do the conversion and have all ensuites.

And our space? Well, it had walls.... and a sink and toilet. But no tub or shower (we used the one in the basement) and no flooring, just the subfloor.

It wasn't exactly the way we wanted it, but waiting allowed us to maintain a decent cashflow. And as I said, the customers (in the form of revenue) paid for the expansion.

A few years later, we opened a food shop. We wanted to feature all-Canadian food products. Organic, locally produced. Truly wonderful stuff.

But we needed to get open and get some money coming in before we could source and pay for all this lovely stuff. So on opening day, we had... Six jars of locally made red pepper jelly. Six pounds of coffee beans from a local supplier and Alan's yummy bread. We added to the product line bit by bit.

Perfection can be a trap. Sometimes you have to jump in with what you have and make the adjustments as you go.

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