No Shortcuts - Hard Calls

When you run your own business things feel a lot more personal than when you are an employee at someone else's company.  I think a core reason for this is that IT'S YOUR MONEY!  When something bad happens its YOUR MONEY that is getting flushed down the toilet.  

Over the years there have been many situations where I wanted to punch a wall because something happened that caused me to lose money.  It could have been my issue, a vendor issue, a partner issue, a website issue, etc, etc.  I am a pretty mellow person overall.  I rarely get outwardly mad.  For some reason the losses my company took hurt deeply.

When you run a business the metrics for success are very clear.  When you succeed it feels incredible.  You are proud of what you've developed and your hard work seems to be paying off.  When things aren't going well there is no one to blame except you. 

You chose the vendor.  You wrote the email.  You chose the freelancer.  You are why things are falling apart.  It can be a very lonely place and you often don't have a lot of people to talk to.  You just keep grinding. 

For all these bad things that come up with entrepreneurship you are forced to make hard calls.  Fire people.  Change vendors.  Fight for the highest quality.  I have had to change my attitude as I've been running Sloane to not take any BS.  If you let things slide, then it's often hard to get them on track. 

I remember we had a warehousing company in LA who stored and shipped our product.  Over Black Friday they lost $10K in inventory.  Lost.  They said they tracked it to their warehouse, but can't find it.  What the?!?!?!  It was the busiest time of our season and our most popular sizes and colors were lost IN my vendor's warehouse. 

They said they were going to find it.  Days went by.  A week went by.  I was stressing the whole time.  I'd call them everyday.  Were they looking for it?  At one point I told them I would fly to LA and come to the warehouse to track it down.  I was dead serious! 

A week turned into weeks.  By Christmas they still hadn't found the product.  At that point I was livid.  It was ruining my Christmas break.  I was calling everyday.  I refused to give up.  If they couldn't find my product, then I wanted the money for the product. 

I began a crusade to get my money back.  I think we were 2 months post the actual incident and I was still calling them everyday and forcing them to pay me.  They finally caved in and gave me the money for the value of the product.  I fired them the next day and moved to another vendor. 

It literally felt like someone came into my house.  Robbed me of $10,000.  I felt violated.  That's how personal it can be when you run your own business.  I have gotten a lot tougher with how I manage things to make sure I never get taken again.  Hard things come up all the time and you need to make sure you have the mentality to make the hard calls. 

I actually think entrepreneurship molds you to be like this.  I was way more casual before and now I have battle scars all over that have hardened me.  It feels good and I am ready for whatever is next.