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We have a fair amount of stress in our lives these days. The business next door to my wife's CrossFit box came on the market, and so we took it over: it adjoins her gym, is already outfitted as a gym, and is really useful for a wide variety of activities. We're also going to have to find a bunch of money to build it out properly.
Then there's my business, which is having some downs right now. We're still doing well, and this was inevitable, but it's exposed some pretty major flaws in our business model that I'm not yet sure how to correct, if they can be corrected, if I want to correct them, or if I'd rather trash the whole thing and move on to something else.
On top of that, book fair and the school store ate most of my week, taxes are due (sigh) and my wife's ACL, while improving, is still stopping her from doing what she needs to do in order to feel ok in terms of movement. She is recovering quickly, though.
For me, these levels of stress are a bit old hat. I've been through so many companies at this point, and so many ups and downs, that I don't really think of it as stress as much as I acknowledge that this is the way things are.
For my wife, as a first time business owner / boss, a lot of this is new. It's reminded me of some of my favorite lines from a book:
“In college, I asked a friend, “How do you get the energy to do so many things?”
“You do things,” he said, “and that gives you energy.”
In that moment, my life changed.
- Carl Safina
I totally understand that abyss my wife is looking into right now: the one where we've added a bunch of expenses, and now we're under the gun to make sure that we can afford it. We know that the economics of the new space will make sense over time; they just won't right away.
Doing things creates its own energy for you. It's one of those things that is impossible to believe until you experience it, and then it's impossible to forget.
In her case, what we need to do is pretty obvious: we need to fill the box with another dozen members or so. This means we need to market a bit, which is something our gym has never had to do – word-of-mouth has always been sufficient to keep it running, and long-term continuity in membership means that it feels a lot like a family.
It's hard to market a family. We'll figure it out.
In most cases, the answer is obvious. In others, it's not: I'm a bit worried about Hopara's long-term business model, because our sales cycle is too long given how much we charge, and after testing the market on higher prices, it doesn't seem like I have room to move up there. I'm not sure how to make the sales cycle shorter, though. At my last company, the cycle was about a day. Here, I've got some prospects going on five months.
There is no easy way for me to change the sales cycle; our product is something that you only need when you need it, and you probably only need it once or twice a year. So I find myself wondering if I've tethered myself to the wrong horse, or if I'm missing something.
But, I'm not sitting around worrying about it. I'm focused on continuing to grow the business, knowing that I'm only a couple clients away from making a really good return while also helping them with an intractable problem. And, if that doesn't work, now that I see the issue in the company, I'm on the lookout for the next thing that could work.
That's it for today! Didn't find anything neato I wanted to share. Thanks for coming.
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