So, we’re now less than two months away from The Creamery’s first birthday, and it’s making me reflect on our first year in business. Now, there’s generally very little time for reflection or seeing the bigger picture in the first year of any business (I’ve heard this period pretty accurately described as ‘a year of putting out fires’). I feel like I’ve spent the last year running around like a crazy chicken with its head cut off, but for a brainless chicken, I’ve learnt an exponentially huge amount. Here are just ten of those things I’ve learnt in my first year of being The Boss.
1.Working twelve hour days feel a lot less painful when you’re working for yourself.
2. Idiot proof something (ice cream containers, webshops – you name it) and they will design a better idiot. Best to stay humble and patient though, because sometimes you are that idiot.
3. Almost no one in this country understands or offers good customer service. The upside is, when you treat your own customers with respect (even those in #3, above), they are immensely surprised and appreciative.
4. There are direct parallels between having a new business and having a new baby. Namely, you cannot finish a sentence, sleep well at night, and you always end up drinking your tea cold.
5. Turnover is vanity, profit is nice – cashflow is king.
6. The two most important things, after the item above, is having a fantastic product and a fantastic team. No one really cares about the font on the business card.
7. There is a difference between being busy and being productive, and the two are often confused.
8. Lying on a business plan or projected turnover, costing or any kind of spreadsheet is stupid. You are lying to yourself, and reality will bite you in the end. Or worse, the taxman will.
9. Running a business is about learning to handle, and live with, fear. Daily.
10. That said, the business won’t fall apart if you pop out for an hour to grab lunch or go to pilates.