I’ve been told that the second business like having a second child: the second one is tougher than the first one because you’re now watching over two who are often going in different directions. We had twins, the clothing store that was planned, and a dance studio that wasn’t.
We *barely* made it to six years. It was close.
It’s taken us nearly a year to figure out how to use the new and much larger space effectively, to maximize efficiency and productivity. Instead of storing inventory in the back storage (long walk), we now keep it in general public area, some of it as decor.
This set-up has significantly reduced costly inventory mistakes and now we sell produce in addition to drinks and prepared foods. Check out the deals on ginger and turmeric.
We’ve also worked with customers to improve efficiency of operations. Our ordering guideline allows us to keep costs and wait times down while improving service to those who follow it.
The guideline will help us adapt to the soon to be $15/hour minimum wage without raising prices.
We’ve also been building our prepared meals business. Customers have been ordering customized nutritionally balanced and diverse meals to reduce their grocery expenses, to improve their diet, and to save time.
The dance studio, which has been losing money, we expect to be profitable by this summer, when summer camps begin. We now only let those with established followings use the space instead of offering free rent to aspiring dance instructors to build their businesses. It’s been difficult to find callow instructors patient and resilient enough to build their own business. Most quit when they learn that their friends aren’t reliable and that it takes time to build a reputation and brand.
Clothing store is nearly ready to be opened full-time. We’re still working on the three person changing room that’ll be used by the dance studio and clothing store. We’ve been adding higher quality inventory to the clothing store.
Once the two new businesses are profitable, we’ll work on our next project, a bistro in SnoKing neighborhood that’ll be comparable to the best restaurants in Seattle. We’re seeking an unusual space with high ceilings, perhaps a garage warehouse.
Selling the three businesses to fund the bistro is an option if we find the right buyer. I’m also keeping in mind that businesses owners have said that if you can handle three businesses, the fourth one and more are easy, just as with children. The leadership skills, production systems, and work culture are developed enough for unlimited expansion.
Thanks to those who helped us get this far. There’s still a lot of work to do. Let’s do it!