Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Learning to Run a Small Business

I'm a little late this morning as I have been so busy following links to some of the blogs and sites that my blogging mentors told me about. It is so wonderful to have so many resources and to see so many people doing well in their own small businesses. It reminds us that even in tough economic times, millionaires are made!
Owning, starting and running a small business has been an eye opening adventure for me. Thankfully, I have always had great support; whether it be from family or my various mentors. I think that this is a very important point, and that is to always have someone to count on and to learn from. Almost ten years ago when we first started Royal Llama Adventures I did almost a year's worth of research and met many of the "right" people in the llama world. Most of them I am still in contact with and they have helped me immensely over the years. It has also been a wonderful way to hook up with llamas that need a new home and job. It is a win win situation, we get willing pack llamas and the llama gets a new home!
We became an LLC before we ever got any llamas. I am really rather proud of this fact as many people really jump in before dotting their I's and crossing their T's. In doing this, I gave myself time to make darn sure that this is what I wanted and that we really had a shot at making it. I have always been blessed to stay at home with the kids, so we were happy with a business that grew with them. This, too, is a valid point, I think many of us (especially women)expect perfection and immediate results. When those unrealistic expectations are not met, a person tends to get frustrated and think it is not worth the work. Let me tell you, a slow growing business is a blessing in disguise. The business that we originally had in our minds has changed and grown with time and circumstances. Small business owners must be able to roll with the punches, so to speak, and be prepared to change their business goals.
I was not very good in school about using my resources, boy have I changed my tune!!! My resources vary from my fantastic group of mentors to making a business that uses up every facet of our llamas, even their nutrient rich manure. As a small business person, always have at least a mental list of your supporters, you'd be amazed at what help or input people have that may not even be in your line of business. For instance, when I started a recycling program at our local schools, one of the teachers that I work with was instrumental in getting Naked~Nure off the ground. Thanks Tiffany!
I must say, one of the jobs that I found least tolerable has become one of my favorites-computer work. I think it is just really cool to be able to network the way that we do. It is also very rewarding work, it sure made me feel smart to build my own websites and blog. Although it is not difficult to accomplish these things, it is a boost in self esteem to see something that you have built available for the entire world to see.
One of the most important things that I have done is to make myself an office. As a wife and mother of three, like most moms, I had no space to call my own. We took a room that we had mostly been using as a pass through the basement and storage and turned it into the cutest office for me. I studied some feng shui, chose colors that I love, and of course being tourist related, I have maps on every wall! Not only do I have a place to work, but it really confirms that I am a legitimate business person and keeps up my confidence. I can't even tell you how it has helped with organization as well!
Giving back has also always been very important to us. Whether it be starting a recycling program, taking llamas to the park to help out the local historical society or giving $5/night from The Royal Roost to charities, it has brought us more rewards than any other facet of our business. Not very many of them financial, but again, the networking is invaluable and it always makes us feel good. In today's changing world, feeling good about the decisions you make is an absolute necessity to making it in business. Customers sense when a person is very proud of the things their small business accomplishes.
A successful business is as small or as big as you want it to be, but I guarantee the happier and more confident the owner, the better off the business will be.
Today's picture is our Naked~Nure logo, Naked Johnny. This picture originated on our ten year anniversary hike when we decided to start this business. Who knew that almost a decade later we would use some of those pics to make our hysterical logo for Naked~Nure. This is my husband Tom, and in the original picture he had hiking boots, a back pack and a walking stick, it was very easy for me to change it up a bit and now I am getting comments from all over the world about this funny guy!


Over Coffee - the green edition said...

It is definitely a logo that is recognizable! When I first saw it, it made me giggle and I immediately had to show my husband. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Great logo and great blog. Please keep up the good work. I love you, Mom