Surviving the stages of my business
I haven’t blogged for Practical Ecommerce in months and I apologize for that. Many of you have reached out to me by email, which has been very inspiring for me this year. In April my business partner retired and I’ve been racing like mad trying to keep up with every aspect of the business. I still work from home and although my kids are older now, finding the balance between work and home has always been and still is a daily challenge.
In the early stages of building my business I often felt like it was one of my children. In the beginning it was like an infant, needing constant attention, reaching milestones and growing rapidly. Everything was exciting and new. Soon like a child, my business started to grow. Just like kids after they take their first steps, once they do they never stop. Well, that is exactly what my business did. Every night I was exhausted from trying to keep up.
I look back on that and remember it fondly because now I’m in a new stage and I think I would have to call this stage of the business the “teenage years”. The business and I have our good days and our bad days. New challenges are faced every day. And just like dealing with teenagers it’s like we no longer speak the same language. Algorithm changes, m-commerce, t-commerce, social media, panda and penguin updates, new google shopping rules, the list goes on and on.
I try to keep up but sometimes the business (and Google) seem to just roll their eyes at me and forge ahead on some unknown course that I have no control over and sometimes don’t understand. They say it takes a village to raise a child, I’m finding the same is true for starting, growing and running a business. You can’t do it alone, you have to realize at some point that you need help, and then you have to ask for it. Now that’s the hard part for me. I’ve never been good and asking for help.
I like having control, so it’s hard for me to just hand over control to someone else with the trust that my business, (my child), will be okay in their hands. With all the changes in e-commerce today I really don’t have a choice. Similar to having teenagers, it’s best to look to your peers for support.
So now I forge ahead with a team of experts who are helping to guide me through these teenage years. The results so far are promising, November was one of the best months we’ve had in a very long time.
This stage is also the time you start to wonder when the business (like a teenager) will leave home. Similar to when the kids leave for college, at some point I will sell this business and be left with that empty nest. I’ve been working on this business for seven years so it’s hard to imagine doing anything else. Just like with kids you can’t imagine a time when they are out there in the world on their own.
I have high hopes for 2013 and I wish everyone great success this year!