When deciding to take a risk, considering the failure or negative consequences of that action is typically everyone’s least favorite part. I know that was the case for Dan and me. That’s not to say we hadn’t hashed out the data, statistics and odds of our eventual failure. I don’t mind that word…failure. But Dan hates it. The weeks leading up to and after the closing of our children’s boutique, I said that word…a lot. It rolled off my tongue easier than most other ways to describe the demise of our dream. Every time it slipped out in conversation, Dan’s disdain for it was visible and usually audible with a sigh or grunt. While Data Dan (as I call him) is a man of science, metrics and all things measurable; he is also an eternal optimist. Not so much in the day dreamy way, but in a “I won’t stop until it’s a success” way. While it was hard to accept, the data had spoken. It had actually shouted. The first time, we ignored it as all good dreamers must. There were midnight speeches and lots of soap boxes. We filled our conversations with powerful sentiments from world leaders, successful business people and others who inspire us. Time passed and our passion seemed to subdue our insecurities for a bit. Then the moment came when we realized it was time to store the soap boxes in the quiet basement corner. It was time to look past the clouds of “what this could be” and realize what it was…or wasn’t. We had vowed to maintain some financial separation from the business [insert chuckle from fellow small business owners]. This vow had become blurred, but as many partners and parents do, we drew the line at family. We had placed a little protective bubble around our crew of 4. As the pin threatened to burst our bubble, it was time to blow away.
I once read that small business ownership is not for the faint of heart. There isn’t a truer sentiment. You anticipate the sacrifice of a lot of life’s pleasures. Aimless weekends with no plans, flexible calendars, a clear division of work/home life (small biz isn’t the only realm that denies this division). All of these things are expected. What you don’t prepare for, as no one really can, is lost friendships, scrambled priorities, exhaustion and the constant looming fog of what is just barely financially out of reach. I could go on and list all the hardships, but my objective is not to dissuade my fellow entrepreneurs. This is simply an ode to all those out there doing the grind. Dan and I did it for less than two years. We skipped birthday parties, lazy summer weekends, vacations, phone calls, hobbies, quiet time. My objective in pointing this out (while it sounds like self pitty as I type it) is to remind you of all those long lasting small businesses out there. The next time you grab a coffee at the town cafe, shop for a gift at your favorite decade old boutique or eat at everyone’s go-to restaurant that you can’t imagine Friday nights without…give the owner, manager, employee a HIGH FIVE. Or better yet, tell them they’re doing a kick ass job and you appreciate them giving a darn about your community. Because I can tell you based on personal experience that no matter how busy or slow business is, a genuine sentiment from the people you aim to serve in the community you love is just what every hard working business owner needs. And Dan and I are thankful that you all gave that to us right up until the very last day. THIS my friends is why we started the next journey. You inspired us to keep moving, keep dreaming. Where are we? I have honestly no idea. While dissolving a business, embracing a burst of free time, soaking in every smile, tantrum and milestone of these kids…we are of course busily plotting our next move. For now the theme appears to be a hybrid of community advocacy, social media management, data crunching and lifestyle blogging. So keep your eyes peeled and don’t blink! We can’t wait to reveal what’s next.