We recently hired two new amazing people to join our small team and to get to know each other better, we went out for a cup of coffee. It was fun to talk about our shared passion for baking, previous jobs and life goals. So, I decided to start a similar series for our blog, which will appear every month or so where I want to share the intimate stuff: goals, struggles, inspiration, pet peeves. It has been hugely rewarding and challenging to start a business and I thought it might be a good idea to talk about it here. So let’s begin with the unexpected challenges that comes with running a small business.
Last week was a tough one because we woke up one morning to find relentless rains had ruined half our inventory. To say, my partner and I were devastated would not be an exaggeration. We had made a joint decision to invest money in inventory in order to be ready for the gifting season. It is a risky to invest in inventory and there is a lot of discussion on this topic on various business panels but one we thought was necessary because of the last minute orders that tends to crop up during Diwali and we really didn’t want to turn away a single customer. Our storage unit is located in one of the old buildings of the iconic Parsi colony in Dadar and because of a broken window, the water leaked in and ruined around 1000 paper boxes. This is the part where I started hyperventilating and Neha (my partner) started running around trying to inspect the extent of the damage. She is the one who keeps us grounded and while I gathered myself up, it was apparent that we had lost a shit ton of money.
To top it off, we received our new batch of labels printed on the wrong paper, just one week before a massive corporate order and our printer refused to take responsibility for it even after we had very specifically marked the chosen sample. It took two very long days and nights to find a new printer, approve samples and then the actual printing for our labels to be ready on time. Yes, you are right to assume that we solely subsisted on caffeine.
This is the stuff you don’t prepare for: ruined inventory, cheating vendors, cancelled orders. Some days can be a lot tougher than others especially when you are starting out because you are already under tremendous pressure to meet your goals and an unexpected loss can be a huge setback. And it can feel like such a personal failure that it gets difficult to talk about it. We are trying to keep our chin up and power through even though we feel pretty bummed. To deal with the blues, we went out for a drink and talked stuff over. It’s an important lesson to not take stuff like this personally and view it as part of running a business. We have boarded up the windows, double checked the storage unit, ordered new inventory (we are keeping our fingers crossed that we are on point with our target sales) and feel comfortable working with the new printer.
Now, here’s hoping that the rest of the year goes off without too much of a hitch. Or am I being too optimistic?