The Chocolate Life

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The adventures of starting Brownie Shotz continues

One thing I’ve learned about a start up business is that there is a disconnect between production and sales. You either have too much product and can’t sell it or you have too many sales and can’t fill them. It can be very nerve racking but I think it’s fairly par for the course. Especially when you’re manufacturing a brand new product like I am with Brownie Shotz. If you’re buying your product, the same thing holds true. How much do you buy so that your not left with too much or too little inventory. Service companies are a little easier because you obviously don't have to contend with product.

I just hired a new sales rep who is really good. He’s been keeping me hopping trying to fill orders. But now I have cash flow issues. It’s usual for items to be sold at net 10 or 15 or some similar time period. When you’re on a real shoestring like I am, it can be very difficult to keep all operations running smoothly. So you have to take it one day at a time and sometimes, one hour at a time. But we’ve all lived long enough to know that things change. That’s the only constant; change. So you have to keep at it. No matter what. If you keep honestly working at it, it usually changes for the better.

By the way, Brownie Shotz are now available at:
Camas Fresh Produce in Camas WA
Cin-Sational Memories in Aberdeen WA
Bonnie's Wine and Gifts in Prosser WA
Lloyd Athletic Club in Portland OR (it's my gym and where my Brownie Shotz taste testers are)
J Cafe in Portland OR
The Chart House in Portland OR (catering)
Flossie and Maude's in Lake Oswego OR

I do a lot of design work for people (logos, etc) who want to start businesses and some of them say, “But what if I fail?” I don’t think that if you start a business, there’s any way for you to fail if you keep plugging at it. You might not have the right formula for success yet so you have to try different things, sometimes starting over from scratch. But even if you start over from scratch, you learned some important lessons from the previous attempt (or attempts) so it’s really a continuation of the old business. I think it goes to the heart of being an entrepreneur. No matter what new business you start, you carry some of the old business lessons with you. After all, we’re really all entrepreneurs, (at least if you’ve ever earned a paycheck). The busboy sells his services to a restaurant to get money to live on. (I don’t mean to say that being a busboy is the lowest job but name 2 famous busboys.) The only difference between him and the CEO of the top Fortune 5 company (is there a Fortune Five, I wonder?) is magnitude and attitude. If the busboy decides to learn from his work situation and grow, he may start his own restaurant. That’s the neat thing about this country. You can only be kept down if you keep yourself down. No one can tell you that you can’t start a business, no matter how many times you’ve “failed” before.

Think of the importance of starting a business. It’s very hard to start a business totally by yourself. Oh, you might have to start alone at the beginning, but even then, you probably have to use some materials or services offered by some other businesses. That creates jobs even if not in your company yet. And then, before you know it, you need outside help to deliver your products to market. So you hire the kid next door who’s going to school. As long as you keep plugging away at your business, it’s going to grow. If it doesn’t, then you rework your business plan until it does. Soon, you’re creating significant jobs.

Right now there’s a lot of concern about recession. Lot’s of people are getting laid off. People need jobs. Where do most of the jobs come from in this country? According to labor statistics, from small business. Where do small businesses come from? From entrepreneurs.

The other important thing about starting a business is the very uncertainty of it. You can perfect you’re business plan until the cows come home but until you actually mix it up with other people, (your customers, your employees) you never really know what might happen. Mysterious forces seem to take over and connections are made that wouldn’t have happened if you hadn’t started your business. You make new discoveries, learn new things, meet new people and there you have the butterfly effect. And none of it would have happened if you hadn’t started your business. So quit pussy-footing around and start you’re damn business! And if you’ve started a business and find it tough, suck it up and make it work! What else are you going to do with your life?

The time is good to start a business. Even if the economy is bad, even if you don’t think you have the resources, even if your not sure of what you’re doing, start. I received this article the other day. Seems relavent.

This blog entry is dedicated to Carol, my number 1 (and only, I might add) fan.

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Tags: entrepreneurship, jobs


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Comment by chocolateschool on April 4, 2008 at 3:21am
Hi, very inspiring & well-written post. I needed to read it, especially the 'creating significant jobs' & 'suck it up & make it work' parts - thank you =)

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