Well that’s it for Q1. When we set out to plan for the entire year, the first quarter of the year seemed like it offered so much time, and so much opportunity. Now that we’re through the first 3 months of 2022, I can conclude that the opportunity is definitely there, but the time is certainly not. It FLEW by. Unfortunately, we didn’t meet some of the numbers and metrics that we had set for ourselves, but that is not as much of a concern since the projects we have in the works simply didn’t convert in the time we had allotted for them. A miscalculation on how long our sales cycle just means we move some numbers around in our financial projections for the year. These projects we have been working on are B2B sales. The idea is to help round out how and when we make money throughout the year. As a retail, “direct to consumer” business there is a lot of weight at the tail end of the year - when most consumers are spending money. The concentration of spending during the holiday season means a ridiculous fourth quarter for most, but that usually pairs with a fairly dry beginning of the year. Our thinking was that if we could process fewer, but larger quantity orders in the beginning of the year it would fill in the gaps of consumer spending patterns.
It seems as though we were off in our sales lifecycle as the time from first contact to first contract is a bit longer than expected for these larger orders. From prospecting and farming the leads, to nurturing and developing these relationships, scoping the order, then processing and manufacturing the order, it takes a lot of back and forth to get things set in stone. We probably won’t deliver our first B2B order until mid-May. That’s almost 4 months of work before it pays off. I think there are certainly things we can and will learn that will improve our turnaround, but at this stage it is still a work in progress.
Now that it is really the second quarter of 2022, there are some new goals and metrics to sketch up. Just off the bat we expect to continue the processing and farming of these larger B2B orders through the summer. We also expect to see a rise in consumer spending as the summer season approaches. Part of this bump should come from the long anticipated release of our fanny pack! We are still developing a full plan for this new product release, as well as two alternative designs for the duffel bags (think square, not circle). I’m not promising that anything will make its way to full launch, but I imagine we will continue to explore the potential of these different styles and products. The differences stem from the differences between product design, and product design FOR manufacturing. A lot of our current processes have room for efficiency improvements, and these efficiencies will often increase the strength and value of the end product. I hope I don’t need to share with you how it really wouldn’t be like us to sacrifice anything for a cheaper, faster-produced, final product.
There is also some news on the grant/competition side of things. Domi Station, Tallahassee’s finest business incubator, will be hosting an event at 5:30pm on the 28th of this month. We are planning on participating in said pitch (I think we will find out today!), and we will be releasing more information as we get nearer to the event. This pitch competition includes a significant amount of value in its prize purse, and it will also be a great way to earn some more exposure and clout in Tallahassee. The pitch is being put on by Domi Station along with a partnership with Wefunder, a similar platform to kickstarter and indiegogo. The goal of this platform is to democratize the investment space by opening non-accredited investors up to private and smaller scale investments. We will be finalizing certain details about our own terms and conditions, so I don’t really have more info on that, but expect to see more news on that in the coming weeks.
As we move into April, May and June, Will and I have some planning to do. I will be returning to Fire Island where I will be an ocean lifeguard again this summer. This year I am going to be Assistant Chief, so there will be some new responsibilities surrounding that. On this front, one concern that we’ve had and even experienced is how to continue the growth of the business while I am working full-time elsewhere. Last summer this was the first time I had left the business alone for a few months. It was more difficult than I thought it would be, and I made the mistake of overestimating my ability to work on the business during the summer. To be fair, I’m always working. Every second that I exist, one way or another I am always thinking about a solution to one of the many problems we have. However, the amount of measurable “work” that I thought I would get done was overestimated. So this summer, we are looking at possible solutions including bringing on some more hands to help pick up some of the slack. I am also trying to plan out some brand direction for the summer, so my absence isn’t as “absent”. I intend to continue the monthly logs through the summer as well as steering the general direction of our different social media channels.
I’m trying to think about what else… I feel like we have done so much the past few months but upon reflection I also feel like a lot of that work was directed at these B2B projects, and therefore not really as exciting and newsworthy as usual. One thing I have noted about myself and my experience with the business so far is how much hold the success of this business has on my overall mood. I think it’s normal to care so much about something that it consumes you, but I think I can do a better job at permitting myself the time and space to take for myself. I think longevity and sustainability of a venture is directly tied to the team’s ability to effectively manage their emotions over a long period of time. I think I have been OK at that thus far, but I am noticing the slow creep of self-imposed pressure and anxiety. These feelings, again, are probably standard, but I must create and adhere to systems that help me regulate my feelings. The hardest thing I think is recognizing the fact that time away from the business and day to day work is still “work”. If success is dependent upon consistently showing up, and by allotting time on a daily basis to maintain self-care, exercise, creative expression, etc. this consistency can be improved - then it is necessary. It’s hard to see the importance on a micro level maybe, but zooming out and seeing how these things can help create and maintain longevity it’s almost a no brainer.
Thanks for tuning in, I would love to get a better sense of who is reading these and why! Whatever your reason for reading this post, and any others in the past let me know in the comments below. Anything goes. Whatever you have to offer - it is both helpful and motivating.