Every week there is usually an event or a catastrophe that gets me all riled up and ready to write a blog post. Then, depending on how much time I have, it may or may not get written. These past few weeks have been different. They’ve not been free of crises, but some big changes in my life are once again allowing me to look at things from a different perspective.
My husband has temporarily relocated to Hyderabad for a one-year business school program, and in an attempt to busy up my life I’ve been trying to keep a disciplined schedule during the week. The early mornings and the kalari classes have been helping me gain some of the positive energy that I had lost along the way, and lose some of the cynicism that I have acquired in the last year. And then last week I re-realized something that I need to keep reminding myself of: I have so much support and help in running my business, and I’m really not alone in this. I just need to ask for help and when I do that, help always comes to me. Sounds like The Secret I know, but this is a little different.
When I set up my production unit, help in the form of a competent production manager, a talented pattern maker and a hardworking tailor came to me very easily. I must have subconsciously set those initial and easy steps as my benchmark for how long it takes to get something done because every little hurdle after that has left me feeling frustrated, stressed and sometimes really low. That’s no fun and it’s not a very practical way to go about things either. Those low moments leave me feeling that my world is unfair, that I’m left with all the work, and that no one understands my situation. But it doesn’t have to be that way- I often find that when I ask for help and ask people to take some of the load off me, my life does get a little easier.
A few weeks ago my staff situation at the store reached a point where I felt I couldn’t go forward unless I had a store manager, or better yet, someone who would own the store as a franchise of Brass Tacks (so I can be freed from all administrative and HR issues related to the store). Now after doing some homework I’m not convinced that I’m ready to open a franchise, but just asking around for a potential store manager or franchise owner sent some interesting people my way- people who are good to know regardless of whether or not they come on board.
Then I started asking around for sales staff. I need more assistants in the store anyway to keep it open every day of the week. I made a few phone calls to people in my customer database, and within a week I had phone numbers of candidates. Hopefully in a couple of weeks my store will go back to being open every day of the week.
This is an exciting time for Brass Tacks. I just bought a button holing machine so we don’t have to outsource that anymore (a real waste of time and petrol for the minuscule quantities we produce every week), I’m exploring an opportunity to outsource some of my production for when I start retailing in more locations, I’m working on a limited and inexpensive line of knitwear that will be produced at another factory, and I’m going to focus more on marketing and incorporating customer feedback into my design process this year. I need all the help I can get, and then some more.
*Thank you to all of you who sent me phone numbers of candidates and recruitment agencies- that was a huge help.