Tane furniture design

Running a small business can be confusing at best! It can also be nerve wracking, exciting, stimulating, exasperating, exhausting and any adjectives in between.

In this post I wanted to touch on the time/money problem but from a whole new angle to me. I am experiencing this for the first time this week… I’m suddenly faced with time but no money, aaaaarrrrrrrrrggggghhhhhhhhhhhhh panic stations! “No, stop, calm, relax, breath it will all be ok,” I keep telling myself.
Small business panic button
Basically for the past two years I have been trying to get in a position to free up some time in my schedule of ‘doing stuff’ within the business to actually work on growing my portfolio of furniture by sitting down and designing new pieces. The time has arrived and I am struck with fear, paralysed, how could I sit (or stand) for hours at a time with the meter running but not clocking up any cash flow. I’m not sure if it is because I have become hardened to business in my four years as a small business owner, fighting for survival on a daily basis, or whether I have lost the ability to do what I love to do, design and create, or have I just tied myself into complete knots thinking about the ‘what-ifs’ instead of just getting on with it!
I’m sure this is common place amongst the small business community and especially amongst the creative small business owners. I’m sure I could have made life easier for myself… My EX-accountant told me I should start importing shoes, “Why” I asked, “Because you find new product, at a low price then you sell it at a higher price” said my accountant. “WTF” I said to my accountant shortly before telling him we would never speak again! But he had a point maybe my life would be easier if I only had to source the product and not sit in-front of a blank sheet of paper, conjure up an original design, then spend time and money to prototype, develop and put into manufacture, never truly knowing how well it will sell.

fancy business shoes
So maybe he did have a point, but the point for me is, I have a passion for creativity, I love it, the feeling of knowing you are on the right track. But I dis-like the feeling of not being able to commit time to it, especially when I have the time to commit. Especially when the reason is fear created by money. We now have other creatives working in our small business and need to ensure there is constant work to keep them employed. Yes small business is tricky, you hire someone to help, so that it frees up your time to work on other aspects of the business but then your time is spent trying to get new work to keep the new people employed…tricky! And I know I am not alone in this predicament, there are millions of small business’s out there all with exactly the same issues with time, money, work/life balance, employees you name it, we are all in the same boat.
So after all that ‘mental dump’ what have I decided? Here is the kicker… “Just do it” yes I know that is the Nike slogan, but my dad also developed it a long time ago! I started off my business venture in 2012 all guns blazing, designing, developing, and creating, but not really a great deal of cash flow or business strategy going on! Since that initial creative burst I have been swallowed up in the running of a business, generating cash flow and learning how to survive. It’s now time to go back to the start but with the business knowledge I’ve accumulated and find a balance.
Yes running a small business is nerve wracking, exciting, stimulating, exasperating, exhausting and any adjectives in between but I would not change it for the world!

Gary Pennington

Small Business Owner & Part Time Designer!

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