This weekend the Homeskoolie World Headquarters (my basement, that is), Jeff & I will be doing inventory. Can I tell you how excited we are about that? Since we launched last month, we’ve spent most of our time focused on the fun stuff: designing shirts, developing our website and trying a number on on-line technologies trying to figure out what we like best and what will scale with us as we continue to grow, marketing avenues to get the word out that we exist. We’ve been working with suppliers & printers, looking at new designs and new products (we love hats & backpacks!). We’ve been dabbling in social networking and have a couple great concepts for our first YouTube video. And that’s all been a blast, but at the end of the day we need to take stock of where we are and pay attention to the details. What does our inventory look like? What sizes & colors are selling, do all the links on our site work, have we tracked all our expenses so far?
It’s really easy to get caught up in the flow of creating something tangible from an idea. But as energizing and exciting as the creative process is (and it is!), style without substance does not a successful company make. In fact, it is the details that have to get done to turn a fun time into a profitable business. And when you’re in startup mode, there’s no delegating the tasks that aren’t so glamorous. Lots of great ideas start out strong but burn out like a sparkler on the 4th of July because there wasn’t a sound business plan and the details got neglected.
Think of it as taking time to connect with reality. Yes, it’s critical in the formation of a new business to keep one eye in the clouds. Without a a sense of doing something to change the world and a vision for what could be, your great idea will turn into just another job (and one with a lot more headaches than you had as that corporate cog). But one eye also has to be firmly planted in the minutiae of running a profitable business, especially when you don’t have the luxury of hiring people to do that for you! Great insights are gained as much from counting what’s selling and what’s not as they are from being out there at conferences and talking to directly to customers. Spending time on your website to make sure all the buttons work has a direct impact on the customer’s experience. Call it what you like… a pain in the neck or gaining a new perspective, but don’t for a second sacrifice doing the mundane!