I hear a familiar question from budding entrepreneurs all over the country: when your product gets into some of the biggest retailers and distributors in the world, can you sit back, relax, and collect the checks? Not even close. The practical trapping of reality rears its ugly head and the day-to-day tasks only multiply. Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs don’t get paid much in the early and even mid years. It’s a long and complicated journey.
Building a company is a marathon, not a sprint. When we first started, we had an investor tell me that I would always be raising money at least for the first 5-7 years. He was right. Half of my work is raising capital to maintain what I have established effectively while expanding. Luckily, I have great backers who support my company with positive energy, financing, and encouragement. But maintaining success requires a lot of unexpected details. Things like legal fees were not top of mind when I was designing and creating my product.
Those realities again…we are still a tight group working 70-80 hours a week because we want to keep the monthly burn small until we can generate enough sales to build the team and expand into new arenas. We have accomplished great things in three years but time flies.
With a master distribution agreement with Hillman, permanent integration into 200 Home Depot stores in the North East slated for Q1 2016, permanent integration into all of the B&Q locations in England, permanent integration into the set in Rona in Canada through Onward, and other deals in the works, we have our hands full with production and logistics.
What’s next? There is no time for “next” right now. We have a fully functioning engine that requires constant attention and energy to run smoothly. We have new ideas but we spend minimal time on them in light of immediate tasks and obligations. We have a business to build, aiming to generate enough cash flow to pay the bills and compensate our investors. The future is always in the back of my mind but the pragmatic grind of the here and now is at the forefront. In the years to come, this will change but running a start-up as it starts to achieve success requires keenly focusing on pragmatic details. But all entrepreneurs are dreamers and the dreams keep churning in the back of my mind, ready to flourish.