Soul Quest Orlando was born just over 3 years ago and what started off as me selling some vinyl and some cassettes from my home, quickly became a physical shop and my very first business. We are doing alright so far, we may not have torn up any trees financially speaking but we are not in debt and we are ticking over nicely, trying to make it to the magic 5 year mark. I have learned an awful lot in the last 3 years, more than I ever could have anticipated and I wanted to share my learnings with you all to try and give you some insight into what it is like to have a young business like this.
Cool, Relaxed and Wrong
When I first opened I didn’t hire any staff but after a couple of months I took on 3 members to join the team, and I was so excited about what we could do together. I never wanted to be that draconian boss and so I was super chilled about people’s hours, their breaks, the odd bit of lateness etc. Within just a month or two of being like this however, people were taking advantage of me big time, turning the shop into a place they’d chill out with friends, turning up whenever they wanted and I quickly learned that being cool and chilled out with them was not the right way to go. Thankfully Haven’t gone to the other extreme but I have certainly found my way to the middle.
You Need Cash Flow
In the 3rd quarter of the second year I made a big mistake, I tied up around 90% of our capital with a purchase of bulk collection fo records and whilst I definitely got a great deal which I knew would make us money, it meant that our cash flow was tied up for months to come. Records don’t just get bought and sold within a few days, at least not en masse, which is why it is important to recognize how much cash and how much inventory you need. Eventually we managed to get a bridging loan at the final hour, but that cost us money and probably offset the profit we made on that vinyl, a big lesson learned.
I was a real penny pincher in the beginning, as I believe you have to be, but I ignored the chance to invest in marketing when I really should have, and in doing so I missed that first wave of new store buzz. In fact it wasn’t until the end of the second year that I eventually gave in and within a few months the shop was rocking, apparently marketing really works!
These are just a couple of the big mistake which I’ve made so far and I am definitely confident that there will be more to come. Are you in business? What is the biggest mistake you’ve made? Let me know and we can share in some guilt.