There isn't a secret formula. But there are some things that just hold true no matter what day it is. Little life lessons that prop you up and propel you forward. This I have learned:
Be grateful, someone else is struggling harder than you
Gratitude is hard some days. The phone isn't ringing, the bills are due or you're busy and understaffed. But TODAY the weather is nice, the door is propped open, there is enough money to pay the bills and busy is good! I'm grateful that I have a place of my own that needs vacuuming. I'm grateful I can serve my patients in ways that NO OTHER Optical in town can.
Do I deserve your business more than those big corporations do? No.
Do I appreciate it more than they do? You BET I DO! I'm grateful.
There's only one direction to go. UP.
Two years ago the economy was bad. Business capital was almost impossible to come by. People thought I was crazy to go into business for myself. It takes a long time to build a business. Wouldn't my business increase as the economy improved? Might as well ride the wave up together. Hurry up and wait!
Expect the unexpected
Close your eyes. Picture your ideal....whatever it is. Everyone has a vision of how that should look. How it should feel. How it should taste. I pictured birch wood and stainless steel for my Optical Boutique. I knew I would have all the best frames in my inventory. I would have modern furniture and chandeliers. I would have huge windows and minimalist decor. Lighted wall niches, exposed brick etc. etc.
Now look at the reality. It's a living room. Call a spade a spade. What I built, what evolved is comfy. It's cozy. It's a gathering place. It's a little nerdy and frumpy some days. It's not at all modern. I DO have all the best frames. Are they the modern collections I envisioned? No. They are vintage, colorful and eclectic. Just like the shop that I built. Its everything it SHOULD be. I love it here.
Keep your knees flexed
I had a friend and a mentor who used to tell me this ALL the time. He knew something I didn't understand until much later. In order to survive the ups and downs of a small business, you have to be flexible. Does this mean you are subject to reacting to the squeakiest wheel? Absolutely not. But it does mean that you shouldn't get your undies in a bunch over things that you can't change. Just find a new way to deal with it. You will grow, you will stretch and you will save your energy for the next thing that comes up.
Be careful what you pray for, you just might get it
Those that know me, know I pray. Heck I might have prayed for YOU!
But I have learned that God is good to me. I don't always get what I want. I don't always receive what I expected. But that's the "KEEP YOUR KNEES FLEXED" part. While the rewards of being a small business owner aren't always financial, they are far more lucrative in other ways. If there is a magic bullet for success. This is it.
Thank you friends for all your support. For your patronage. For all your prayer. Here's to many more wonderful years wearing really GREAT glasses!