Seeking wisdom from those business owners who started out as the EVERYONE in their business. I am trying to grow my business which sells accessories for fishing. As of right now I have 1 product in a few online and retail outlets, one of which keeps me pretty busy and occupies alot of my time.
The manufacturing process is pretty tedious being a hand-built product. I have discovered my true passion is in the product development and design. I also really like doing graphic art stuff; I created all of my logos and website, and am self taught in Photoshop. As for product development though, I love the process of dreaming up an idea and designing it to be better than anything else on the market. I currently have a million ideas running through my head that I want to act on, but I keep finding my time being eat up by the actual manufacturing of the 1 product I already have out on the market.
I understand this is part of growing a business, and am certainly not afraid of hard work, but when it comes to manufacturing I have a hard time staying focused on building product. I find myself drifting off doing other things unrelated to building product. This is most likely due to the fact I have ADD, but I also feel the manufacturing aspect of running this business doesn't fit my passion, and something in my head is telling me I could be doing something more important at the time. Without product on the shelves I don't have a business, so I know how vital it is to get product built and out to my retailers.
I run this business out of my garage right now and am not really comfortable with hiring someone to work here in the house since my wife is home all day with young children. Getting an office/warehouse space is hopefully something I can grow into down the road as my product line increases, but it doesn't make financial sense right now, plus taking on that risk freaks me out. I'm a BIG Dave Ramsey fan and have vowed to make this a debt free venture. If I have to close the doors tomorrow, I don't owe anyone a single penny, and I'm proud of that fact, but sometimes I feel the fear of taking risk is holding me back.
I have thought about trying to find someone to build my product out of their home and pay them per unit as an independent contractor. I think I may try this, but handing it off to someone else is going to be hard. I am insistent on my product being built to the highest quality standards, and right now my hands are on every piece of product that goes out the door. Finding someone that cares as much as I do, and that is willing to do the work, is going to be tough.
So..I'm sorry for being so long winded, but any wisdom from those who have been successful in growing their business, while being the "everyone" in their business, would be much appreciated!
By the way...I am a new member in the community and this is my first post. I really look forward to being a part of this!
I know of a company that sells tied flies. They contract out and the independent contractors get paid for the flies that pass the companies standards. The standards are given to the contractor when they recieve the materials and when they deliver the finished product they are paid for the items that pass the standard. They only use local people who can stop by their office and pick up and drop off the product. They send a detailed description of how to tie the flies also. It is a very workable model that they have been doing for many years now.
I like that idea. With this model I could even do something like a bonus program based on the percentage of units that pass the quality inspection. That way there is even more incentive to keep an eye on quality when building these units.
I'm a very big fan of the EconTalk podcast. (http://www.econtalk.org/)
After listening to many episodes over many months, I've realized more and more the value of one of their main principles, something to the effect of "the more self-sufficient you are or try to be, the poorer you'll be," that it is the division of labor that ends up creating a lot of wealth.
Chris, I'm so excited for you as you start this new adventure. One suggestion I might make is finding a group of people to build the product offsite and setup a couple of set days in a large place where you can build a significant inventory and then store them in your garage. Maybe contact a local church and rent their hall inexpensively. You can oversee the products being built for a day and have a stockpile to ship when orders come through from your garage. Rather than hiring one person to come multiple days to your home, hire several people to come one day at an offsite location. Best of luck!