What? Run the business?

I'm 100% in my CPG (consumer packaged good) business. 

My two year old side hustle is now my 100% hustle hustle and I wouldn't have it any other way. I left my full time job at the end of the summer of 2018 to give myself the time and dedication to grow Flying Hound, an organic dog treat company. 

When I made the leap I honestly thought I would have more bandwidth - aka time -  to work on parts of the business which kept getting added to a list that was growing exponentially.

The summer of 2018 saw a 65% growth in sales and it was a summer of strictly reacting. Reacting to everything from producing product, to shipping frozen products, to reacting to an issue a retail store may have encountered, to our venison farmer not butchering his stock in the summer, to improvising in-store advertising, and to barcodes not being readable by our biggest reseller. The summer also meant there was no retailer relationship building. There was very little connecting with retailers either in person or by email newsletters. I would repost a store's Instagram post with our products, but that was really on reacting to what they posted. Ugh. However, I think we did a touch better with our consumer-relationships with the summer dog events, but then I didn't have complete lists available to share of where the consumer could buy our products! For real.  In retrospect, there was no running the business.

Don't get me wrong, the summer was amazingly fun keeping up with store orders which kept pouring in and all the summer dog related events. However, I didn't understand when my brother would say to me "you have to run the business and get your inventory in order". In my headspace last summer I was running the business because business kept coming, right? 

Once the dust settled (kinda) in September, I made the leap to invest 100% in running the business. I left my full-time job and started to run the business because I will now have all the extra time, at least that was what I thought. I actually laugh thinking how did I even think that! The last four months I have learned a lot about what I don't know.  

Around this same time, my business advisor invited me to his Food & Beverage Peer Small Business group. You're probably thinking, why didn't she talk to him about the 'reactive' cycle? Well, I did. He would always chuckle a little when I asked him over the summer how do I get ahead of the reactive cycle, and now I know it is because it is an integral step in what running a business is all about. (As a side note, he has been invaluable into growing my business.)  Within my Food & Beverage group there is a craft beer company, vegan ice cream company, gluten-free bagel company and a sunflower oil company, and they have all been running their businesses for longer than me and I LOVE this.   

The group has been amazing and they are a huge influence on my thinking about how to run a business and how to think outside of the "orders are coming in".  It's February now, four months after I left my full time job and my list is growing of tasks I need to run the business and of what I need to do to set it up for success and future growth.  The list is long and it will get longer and I'm still reacting.

I'll let you know what is on my list in the next blog post.


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