2020 what can be said that isn’t already a cliche? Owning a small business brings challenges every year, but this year brought challenges on a scale no one could have imagined.
First thing though, I really want to say thank you. Thank you to everyone who stuck around, who purchased or commented on a post. I read a statistic someplace that one in five businesses have closed their doors for good. I am so thankful to not be part of that statistic and it is due to my customers completely.
2020 was going to be a year of change for my business regardless. I had hopes of moving into a brick and mortar (so glad that didn’t happen). Instead I ended up with a website. A persnickety pain in the ass, but a website. I am blessed with a consultant who can figure out all the minutiae so I can focus on chocolate. I really wanted to keep Square because my whole library is in there, why start completely from scratch? You know what, if you are in a business with lots of variables and choices like mine? Do it. Weebly is the hosting platform through square and it has been a continual fight. Just when one problem has been solved 10 more show up. It is lacking in flexibility and doesn’t allow for simple changes. When my subscription is up, I am out of there. So researching a hosting platform is task number one in 2021.
Working within multiple global supply systems has been trying at best. Packaging is always a nightmare, but getting imported supplies got worse as the year went on. Then let’s talk about the chocolate, again, global supply. Being a tiny business is already challenging, there are only a few distributors that allow for my needs, when they don’t have supplies, I don’t have supplies.
My business model has been wholesale and pop up events. When small shops are closed or minimally open, no one wants to take on a frivolous inventory. Working from home was definitely a blessing in this situation. The website allowed for sales to continue, but I am only one person, so deliveries were an added pain point. Evolve or perish indeed.
Without a single sale or restock in the summer, I was seriously considering closing the doors for good in September. I always struggle with the fact that chocolate is indeed a luxury item. No one needs what I do, not really. Then came a phone call from a local reporter along with a small article and then demand shot up. Who over said print is dead was dead wrong. I am incredibly grateful for that article and the interest that it has brought. So many people have reached out as a result, so many fascinating and sweet exchanges.
So what do I plan for 2021? I really just want to finish up this season as strongly as it started. Every small business, especially a home based business, is an intricate dance between business and home life. That has all changed for me. Divorce is the biggest one of all. Do I sell the house? It’s a seller’s market so that means buying at the top of the market, that sucks. If I sell I need to find a new work space, or close all together. Too many variable constantly spinning in my brain. I really just want to focus on the wins, the gratitude and the chocolate.
Tomorrow won’t magically fix everything. People are still dying, people are losing livelihoods and homes. There is so much uncertainty, globally. But, there is hope for better days ahead. Happy new year.