Hello Auburn Family!
This month marks the 1 year anniversary of Auburn Vintage Clothiers. Where has the time gone?!
As I was opening up today, I was thinking of how extremely thankful I am to have taken this 'plunge' into being a small business owner. While at times it has not been easy (like those pesky 3am worries that creep in), the past year has been very rewarding and eye-opening on many levels.
Here is a small list of things I have learned on this journey:
1- The experts are right- a Business Plan is a very good idea- but that doesn't mean it has to be filled with a ton of business lingo. I decided to look at it in a somewhat different light for myself: I created a 'Mission Statement' of sorts- something I could look back on when faced with various challenges, questions or even just a morale boost on a particularly frustrating day (yes- even in 'Vintage-Land' we have not-so-great days).
2- Be present. Looking your clients in the eye and giving them your utmost attention is amazingly refreshing for both parties. A present host makes a present visitor. Recognizing things that aren't said are sometimes just as important (sometimes more so) as those said. A smile and kind word goes a LONG way.
3- Be gracious with all the advice that comes your way. Much like a new parent who has many 'experts' giving opinions on childcare- YOU are the parent. Ultimately, the choice is yours when given the advice of others. Having said that, many people give very helpful tips and mean well. You'd never want to be too stubborn not to bend and flow with new ideas. Be firm in your decisions though-waffling doesn't help (and take it from me- some of those 3am worry sessions is what happens. Once I make the decision, sleep inevitably comes).
4-Know when to go home at the end of the day. My daughter and I still have breakfast and dinner together. Those times together are precious. It's a good reality check for me after burying myself in work all day. We often do 'check-ins' through the day too- just to make sure we are ok. Family is what grounds us- and just like your business needs to be maintained- so do your loved ones. Besides, your children grow up too quickly to begin with!
5- Don't give up! I have learned the value of the term "Patience is a virtue" this year. Retail is fickle and sometimes you feel like you have made the wrong choice. I recognized early on that even just having people walk through my doors was a good day- as it is not just about the buying- it's about building relationships, creating an inviting atmosphere and passing on the passion that ignited you to open your business in the first place. Don't misunderstand- I am a single mom on a very tight budget, so every dollar counts- but I certainly won't give up after a few bad days.
6- Hire a great accountant. This speaks for itself- but I needed to mention it. Bar none- it was the best decision I could have made, as it has allowed me to focus on the store instead of agonizing over spreadsheets and numbers. Believe me, it would not have been pretty if I had!
The list truly goes on and on- but the above is a great start. If someone had told me 10 years ago that I would be a small business owner today, I would never have believed them. There were simply too many obstacles (in my mind, at least) in my path. Trust me- if I can do this- anyone can.
I am a lucky woman- and I have you all to thank. So-thank you so very much for being with me on this journey. I hope to work with you all for many years to come.