Just before Christmas, I got to catch up with an old friend and colleague I worked with back in my Fire Department and Emergency Management Days. We had fun reminiscing about our days training the public in disaster preparedness and response, working with Homeland Security agencies and talking about who is doing what and where. There was a little sliver of regret in my brain about having given up that career path…just a little one. Because, when I left that job it was to take on the task of mothering full time. But, secretly I think I’ve hoped that I might have an opportunity to go back.
Just a few days after that meeting I was digging through my drawers looking for a thumb drive. Buried in the back of my desk, I found an old one that was full. When I was going through it to delete files and make room, every disaster preparedness training program that I ever developed was on it. I sat there, at my desk conflicted. Do I delete these files? These were the last remnants of that career. Deleting them felt like I was cutting that string…for good.
I’ve spent a lot of time over the years thinking about what I gave up versus what I’ve gained. Since I ultimately left that career to be a stay-at-home mom, I’ve been very intentional about ensuring that any of my endeavors since then don’t conflict with that. So, I spent my first few years of store ownership with my kids at my side. Now that they are in school, I typically work only while they are in school. The mathematical problem in that is that as knot too shabby has grown, I am running a two-fronted business that operates 86 hours per week and I’m only here for about 24 of those hours. Right now, all I’m doing is surviving with virtually NO time to develop growth initiatives.
2016 is the year for Change, Focus and Accountability!
I spent three months developing a business strategy before the year start, and during the first weekend of January, I took my management team to the Grand Californian for a 24 hour planning retreat.
I drew my inspiration for our business plans from a really profound statement made by Steve Jobs. He wrote, “People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”
Going into the year, I’m saying No more often than I’m saying Yes. It means saying no to furniture pick-ups…even if it is free because my time is too limited. It means cutting out some of our business initiatives to focus and grow the even more awesome ones. It means when we brainstorm and have 35 amazing ideas for a particular marketing program or workshop, we are only going to pick the top one or two and develop the crap of them and make them better than ever!
I’m also harnessing the talents of our team so that rather than having my hands in every developmental pot, so to speak, I’m only focusing on one main initiative this year…what we call our WIG*, or Wildly Important Goal! And, each team member is focusing on only one main initiative as well…their Team WIG. Collectively, we should be a powerhouse!
But, that also means that we are narrowing our focus and there will be some changes headin’ down the road this year so that we can achieve our WIG. Changes like reducing or eliminating some amazing product lines that don’t do as well so that we can focus our resources on growing the products that are successful.
And, while some products will go away or be minimized, others will be taking their place…strategically, though! The scariest, but also most exciting endeavor will be to focus our efforts on knot too shabby MONROVIA and pass the reigns over to a new, aspiring business owner in Glendora.
While this may seem shocking to some of our customers, my long-term strategic plan was to only have the shop for three to five years and then sell it. Now is that time and we’re in a great position to sell because we can be judicious about selecting a new owner to ensure that they will not only be a great fit for our customer base, but also add value to the Glendora Village and greater community.
As we move toward some pretty big transitions, I ask myself again, what have I gained by leaving a successful, well-paid career all those years ago? How many people can say that they started and built a business from scratch…all while getting the benefit of being a stay-at-home mom? If there is one underlying theme of virtually every job that I’ve ever had, it’s that I came into a place of business and built something from virtually nothing. Whether it was an events program, a marketing plan, a volunteer organization, training curriculum, or in this case a BUSINESS. I love to develop things from scratch and leave a foundation for someone else to grow it. knot too shabby GLENDORA is ready for someone new! Someone fresh! Someone to take the business to its next level. And, we couldn’t be more excited about what’s in store for 2016!
In the meantime, I am pulling my head out of the clouds this year and focusing more time on business development and less time just loafing around the house everyday after school! I’m excited to have a concrete plan; to be focused in one direction; to re-enforce and strength our existing foundation at both locations; and to have a talented team who can help not only support these initiatives, but participate in implementing them!
*Our 2016 Business Strategy is implementing concepts based on The Four Disciplines of Execution, or 4DX. I highly recommend this book for any business minded person as they are developing strategy and growth initiatives!