Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dream stores.

Here's a theoretical situation I've been mulling over.

Let's imagine that you are a storekeeper with 30 years experience in the business. Let's imagine that you have the chance to create your 'Dream Store.'

Should you?

"Of course!" most people might say. But it isn't that simple.

You have to look at both the financial viability of such a move, as well as the emotional motivations.

For instance, for me, a dream store would have to be about 3 times bigger than my current store, at a minimum. This would probably necessitate at least one more employee, and probably more. If I had a couple of handy right-hand employees around, that would be just fine.

Last time I expanded beyond one store I found I lacked the sufficient managerial skills to pull it off. I'm too much of 'want to do it myself and do it right' kind of boss. I'd like to give my employees leeway, but I haven't found that most employees pick up the slack.

Lacking managerial skills, I could possibly make do with procedural standards; systems in place that would require the employees to follow a pre-set groove.

Again, I lack the technical skills to really pull that off.

Yesterday, as I was feeling the stress of putting my -relatively - smaller weekly shipment, I asked myself why I would voluntarily add to that stress.

I'm pretty sure I could do it -- if I had the perfect location; if I had the time to implement; if I could find a couple of really good long-term employees. It would be fun to see it take form, it would be a challenge to make it work, but I'm pretty sure I could pull of it off and that it would be a store I could be proud of.

Then what?

I'd have a store that I sunk a bunch of money into, but only 10 years in my career left to try to extract that money. Right now, the current store is already worth more for me to operate than what anyone could ever pay me. Improving and expanding would only widen that gulf.

At the same time, I have a store that is working very well right now. It's providing me with a 'better' than minimum wage job. I'm fully engaged in it. I'm constantly finding ways to make the smaller space work.

It comes down to my being 56 years old, I think. If I was ten years younger and had the same impulse and the same experience and the same resources, I'd probably try to do it.

But I have to remind myself that I originally just wanted a small store I could go to and talk to friends and sell the stuff I liked and just make a living. And I've accomplished that.

I'll continue to spin a theoretical construct in my head and on paper, but unless everything were to just about fall into my lap, it's unlikely I'll stretch for it. I hope that isn't 'settling for less' than I can accomplish.

But really, I'd like to actually make money for a few years, and there's nothing wrong with that.

1 comment:

closerOK said...

If you have never found, and had for a time, a certified right-hand employee, then you don't know what you're missing Duncan.

There is no way to dream about the pleasure of easy street business if no context for partnership-quality help has come your way before.

This is a sad state for you and for the underutilized help just waiting to be discovered and picked up. I want to encourage you, earnestly, to look for the employee gem you are missing. Do not give up.