Our Business Plan Should Be About More Than Just Making Money.

Making money will always be part of our business plan!  Why else would we be in business?  But if you’ve read any of our blog posts on Stopandchatwithus.com, you have probably noticed that Haley and I both have full-time jobs in addition to running A Simple Cookie.  Of course, we’d love for A Simple Cookie to be both of our full-time positions, and hopefully, in the not-too-distant future, it will be (coffee shop included).  At the moment though, juggling both is an exercise in communication skills while honing our business acumen, not to mention our mother-daughter relationship.   Business 101 in a nutshell.

Just recently, an opportunity presented itself to daughter-dear, and it made me realize how poorly prepared we are for a change!  While I’ve always known that Haley would move away from Tucson in order to pursue her dream career of being a diplomat or Foreign Service officer, I really hadn’t put much thought into what might happen if something came up for her – basically, tomorrow.  Emotionally, I will never be prepared, but that’s a story for another time.  Business-wise, I felt blind-sided and selfishly distraught.  What about this business?  Isn’t it important?  Look what we’ve invested and now you’ve decided to make a change and move?

Then I realized two things:  we are not communicating very well and we also have not planned properly for the future.  Ultimately, these two things go hand and hand.  Change is inevitable, but it shouldn’t be catastrophic if protocols or scenarios have been put in place.  I mean, what if we had employees, and one got sick, or quit; what’s the plan?  How about if one of us got really sick and had to step aside for a while, what’s the interim plan?  Or in a more long-term scenario, if this is a family business, what happens when one of us either wants to quit or just does not wish to continue the business?  And lastly, and quite simply, as it is happening now, one moves out of state to pursue a new job?  Yes, we need a plan.

First, communication must always be a priority one.  I don’t need to know Haley’s every step in life with her husband, after all, she should be deserving of some privacy! My time is pretty valuable as well, and I need to learn to use it and protect it religiously. Yet when it comes to the business, we both should respect the fact that the business is important and anything that will have a direct impact on it should definitely warrant communication.  Ignoring or sidelining the issue for too long only makes for bigger problems; animosity, lack of trust and respect…. no different from any other job, employer, or personal relationship.  Each is dependent upon the other, and all can have long-lasting and even devastating implications if not cared for properly.

Secondly, while we do divide up duties and responsibilities for normal daily work-flows, we don’t really have a strategic idea or even a more long-term plan in place to address any of the before mentioned issues. While I am more the baker and set-up /seller at the regular weekly events, Haley handles the administrative duties such as bookkeeping in addition to the majority of our social media. So, naturally, we should be talking about what duties, if any, can be done long-distance.   

To just start the conversation and action plan, we need to attack the following:

  1. What are realistic expectations for long distance responsibilities?
  2. What duties can be feasibly managed long-distance?
  3. How often should we re-evaluate?
  4. What happens when someone feels overwhelmed?
  5. Should we continue this business – or when should we plan on re-evaluating and how regularly?

Stay tuned as this will be an ever-evolving scenario as we decide how to work through change.  Our business planning for A Simple Cookie should include striving for continuous cash flow, but also one that includes the means for adaptability.  Expected or not, the plan should respect each of us as business partners, individuals, and as Mom and Daughter

The good, the bad, but hopefully, not too ugly!