What a year. Am I right?
As if these times aren’t hard enough on a personal level, it seems like the world as we know it is slowly falling apart. To me, it seemed, the effects of the pandemic on small businesses wasn’t something in demand for discussion. But, I was surprised when curiosity began to peak in people around me that weren’t directly affected by the challenges.
Over the last few months, I have been approached with many questions people have regarding what it is like to have to go through this pandemic and keep myself and my business alive and healthy.
Well, let me start by saying, I hear you.
Though everyone is experiencing this time in life differently, I hope that taking a moment to discuss the matter might help some gain perspective on a different side to the story. As a small business owner, I can admit it is a game changer for my day to day operations.
One of the biggest questions revolves around fear of losing Green Theory.
For me, that fear hasn’t been overwhelming because I don’t depend on my income from my business. At this point, It’s necessary for me to work part time and keep Green Theory going, and I am lucky enough to have an opportunity to do so.
On the other hand, there is the fear of losing my creation and the chance at an opportunity I worked hard to earn.
What makes the fear of loss more real comes from the initial effects that this pandemic had on my suppliers. Like many natural brands, I use bulk suppliers to accomplish my inventory needs.
This pandemic has caused inflation in prices because there is less impulse buying.
At least, on everything but toilet paper that is.
At one point, I almost went completely out of stock on many different scents because of where I get my probiotics. In addition, if things weren’t discontinued, companies were selling less and had to charge more. Prices went up while my income was going down.
What made this more difficult to swallow, was the fear of losing my customers. Any good business owner cares about their people, and I didn’t want these hardships to affect mine.
It’s been asked how I cope through financial hardship, and even how much hardship I am having to face.
I’ll tell you this. It’s difficult to navigate balance when finances change.
I know eventually I will be able to rebuild my inventory and production, but at what cost to my customer and at what cost to me?
Take for example how my suppliers have started to charge more.
Finding the balance in that is difficult because the foundation I once stood strong on, now seems to be made of sand.
If my costs increase, but my prices don’t then how can I continue to profit?
On the other hand, if my prices increase, how many people might end up switching to something different?
There is no guidebook to the right answers.
There has been uplifting support though!
When asked how I’ve found support through covid, it seems to be easy to find.
Financially, I found support through the disaster loan that was available through the federal government. Without this, I don’t think Green Theory would have continued functioning at a high level and there would have needed to be significant cuts in my costs.
But, money isn’t everything.
Greater than financial stability, I have found support in the people closest to me, and in my customer base. People have shared their stories of how they have searched for deodorant that would meet their needs, and thought they were going to live in stink until they tried mine.
Those are the types of things that keep you going.
Motivation comes more natural knowing that Green Theory is an asset to its consumers and it pushes me to stay focused on what I want my business to become, despite the circumstances.
This year, I am projected to be about 30% lower in sales than I was last year. Which is something that makes my fears more of a reality.
Knowing that I have lost customers brings answers to the questions that people are asking. It shows clearly the effects that this pandemic has taken on our economy and the way we now buy and sell things.
Green Theory is not lost though, and I know that things will come full circle in the end. When asked what I have learned from my experiences, it was easy to answer.
Before we entered into our new reality, I expected to always be able to get what I needed, when I needed it.
There is a huge lesson in realizing that all things change, and so must we.
Even as a small business owner, this experience has helped me gain more appreciation for all types of small and local businesses. Leading Green Theory through this challenge has shaped my view on what being a good business owner really means.
Being alongside other small businesses, the experience of this pandemic has brought me the realization that creating a business is more than just an entrepreneurship. It’s shown that the attributes of a successful business owner require emotional stability and the ability to think quickly with a positive mindset. Above all, it shows that resilience is a requirement and brings forth the people that persevere and understand that this too shall pass. Being an opportunist, brings success to figuring things out.
All that being said, the biggest reason why I felt pulled to bring this discussion more public is because of the importance that is placed on the people that support small businesses. Without my customers, my business wouldn’t be a business. Something that should be discussed more is how much growth comes when you shop local and support smaller businesses.
For those of you that have expressed your interest in my business, I hope that you will encourage others to help small businesses that are important to them too. Like all difficulties in life, it is important that we stick together and support each other. I think that this pandemic is even more of a reason to embrace that moral.
After all, stress does make you sweat and there is always peace of mind with fresh pits.
This year has been filled with such a wide range of emotions and experiences, most of them negative but just because that was the truth doesn't mean that we can transform those negatives into good. Much can be gained from hardship and even failure no matter the cause. I think we have a btter idea of what we value in life because of this years experiences and thus, what we support and I hope that this brings support to all the little things that matter equally this year and beyond - business or otherwise.
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