December 10, 2008.
Change takes time, change is usually in the air before the actual "event" occurs. I am always shocked when people say you can 'change on a dime' - I don't get what that means. I am more of the 'change is coming - get ready and deal with it!'
I have always been open and honest about what running my business is like. I don't sugar coat it, I don't wrap it up in fluffy happy affirmations and spew it out all over the Internet. I would like to think I pull back the band aid and expose the under belly of what running a wholesale and manufacturing business is like. Which brings me to the quandary I am in at this moment:
For the most part in the last six years I have succeeded by hard work, determination, and the ability to get new products/themes to market quickly. Though, no one does it alone - I have done the best I can with what I know and have been willing to learn. Only a handful of sales reps have helped in my quest to get Jamie's Painting & Design in every child's bedroom and nursery in the United States (did I forget to mention I want to rule the world too?). News flash - I don't know it all, and I never will. I'm at a crossroads with growing my business - Do I stay status quo?, or do I look to blow this out and look towards significant growth?
When I started Jamie's Painting & Design I was had an opportunity to get into Nordstrom and I jumped at the chance. As fate would have it, my products did not end up in their stores. A good friend was baffled at my wish to actually get into a big store, kept asking, "Why do you want to grow? Why not stay small and keep it in your home?" My response was, and it still is, "If I am going to do this, I want to grow it and I want to be big."
What Is Missing for JPD?
I have decided that I want to go big and I need help in doing so - I am actually saying it out loud, here on my blog : I am looking for a business partner to help take Jamie's Painting & Design to that next level. This is something I never thought I would do - I used to want to be in charge of everything, run it all, read used to. My reason is because my area of expertise does not include Sales & Marketing. I always think I should do what I do well and let others do what they do well. I am okay at sales, I am not great - I need someone who is great. I am not good at on line marketing - I need someone who is great (hmmmm, I see a trend here).
My husband claims this is very similar to what Six Apart did when Barak came in as acting CEO to help grow the business. The company Founders still remain the Founders and a large part of the strategy moving forward, but Barak was the key they needed to expand and make TypePad a global brand. Though I have no plans to go overseas at this time (never say never, that would be cool though!), I do need to look ahead and grow my business and brand.
This is a mixed bag for me because any Entrepreneur that starts their own business has this talent. You have to be able to "sell yourself", otherwise how would you survive? I have watched other businesses succeed and fail and I always go back and look at their qualifications and history. Most successful ones seem to have a sales background, or at least the discipline to call daily on sales. For me to do this, it takes me away from the designing, the developing - it is hard to do both well. Sales is not my strength or my passion, and that can make a significant impact on my success.
Internet Marketing & SEO
Where do I begin? If I understood these things I guess I would not be looking for a partner. There are millions of searches each day for terms related to my products, yet, unless people know my brand, they will not know who I am. I want to be a brand that everyone talks about, and when they are shopping somewhere, they are looking for my products. From the exploration phase to the consideration phase to the purchase phase - I want to be top of mind.
I believe the Internet is the only form of marketing that is both "lean-forward" (something my husband keeps telling me) and measurable (off line, and display are suspect to nothing). My potential customers are opening browsers all over the country and telling the world that they are looking for a gift of some sort (they are trying to talk to me), I want to have conversations with those people through my content, messaging, and brand.........wow, that was a mouthful. Kind of lost myself there for a minute.....see I told you it was not what I am good at.
Change Here We Come!
I am actually pretty excited about the future of Jamie's Painting & Design. I am optimistic that this will be a good move for us. This has been in the works for quite sometime, not something I woke up and decided to do yesterday....see how I wrapped that whole 'change' thing up? I think asking for help, or admitting I have a problem is the first step.....wait that sounds like a 12 step program - I think I made some sense though. Anyhoo, change is a comin' and I am ready - I leave you with a favorite quote of mine:
"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result"