I am once again moving in a forward direction.
It wasn’t that I was stagnant or out of ideas or anything of that sort, it was just trying to make the decision as to which idea I would develop and which direction I needed to move in next was causing some apprehension. After all, choosing more than one direction can be counter-productive if not carefully considered, and I didn’t want to make my decisions lightly.
There are so many ideas, details and opportunities in front of us. Something tells me that this is a crucial time in the life of our business. In a time where small businesses are struggling and dying, we find that we are still inching ahead in a positive direction. And that is a good thing. I realize that this is the result of the hard work that both Keith and I have put into the company. It was (and is!) our goal to grow and expand the business.
In the past couple of years, we have cast out multiple lines in the water in hopes of advancing the company a bit further. Now it seems that several of those lines are tugging at us all at once, yet we aren’t quite sure which ones we need to focus our attention on to continue growing, and sometimes that can leave us frustrated.
If we head in one direction, are we going to forfeit opportunity elsewhere? Probably so. We can’t be in two places at once, and as I have said on previous occasions – there is only so much each of us can do in a day. So there are times when we get ‘stuck’ and are afraid to move in any direction, fearing we will choose the wrong one.
But staying in a holding pattern isn’t the answer either. By doing that we realize that we have little chance to grow and advance at all. So instead of allowing things to pile up, we have a meeting and talk things through and decide together where our attention needs to go first, and work together to get ready to sail.
Once that decision is made, we find it easy to once again move ahead. For with purpose and direction, we are better able to focus on one idea at a time, and put our best effort forward. It actually feels quite good, and it is then when I feel the excitement and drive once again return. The spark is once again ignited and my energy is put into a place that I know will be of benefit, and progress is once again made.
Yesterday was one of those days that I call a ‘regrouping day.’ After finishing my patterns, both Keith and I were in a place in our designing times where we were in between projects and figuring out what to do next. It was the perfect time to have an informal meeting about the company and what we wanted to do next. There are deadlines from several different places in our immediate future, and although we are on top of things now, we are responsible enough to know that even with several weeks ahead of us before the next hard and fast deadline was due, if we didn’t work on some things now, everything would fall upon us all at once, and it would be like trying to control an avalanche.
We talked things over and discussing the opportunities at hand, weighing the positives with the negatives of each one carefully and making some decisions as to what we would pursue both collectively and individually in the next several weeks. It helped tremendously in alleviating the building anxiety that I was experiencing. Now not only did we have a plan, but we had a plan that we both agreed on and we were clear on our collective directions. That is a big issue when you have a business partner. Leaving things unsaid or to chance only tends to heighten then stress.
With that being said, we both spent the majority of the day working with renewed purpose. I began working on my next project for the magazine, which seemed to be at the top of my list, and Keith worked on updating our catalog by adding two pages of new products that were created since the Spring 2012 edition was released. Since we recently have had a large inflow of new customers, we felt that it was important to update the catalog so that all of our best and most recent work would be represented. This is no small task.
The new edition of the catalog will be ‘live’ on the site later on today and ready for download. The majority of it is finished, and it only needs to be cross-linked throughout the site. It will look much like the original catalog, but it will say “Update Aug. 2012 with two full pages of new patterns” on the front of it. I hope you go check it out.
From there on, we will continue to sail ahead. There are some new things on the horizon for us that I will talk about as they come to be. I have seen many others who are working in building their own small businesses go through the same dilemmas that we do here. There are many directions beckoning to them, and they aren’t sure which way to head. From my own experience, I can attest to how much it can stifle you, or cause you to try to do everything at once and make a mess of things. I am finding that by stepping back and evaluating the situation, you are then able to make the best decision as to which direction to head. And once you do that, you are well on your way to growth.
I wish you all the best.
The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving. To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it, but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor” – Oliver Wendell Holmes
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"