Starting a business is a lot like building a house. You believe, at the outset, that it’s one big project or several big projects in succession. In reality, it’s a lot of little steps, little tasks, and little projects punctuated by a few larger events.
From the blue print (or business plan) to the final touches, the total number of small steps would boggle your mind. Don’t think about it, lest you be discouraged.
The larger events such as watching the stud walls go up, getting the roof sheathed and shingled, installing drywall…those are the days you see and feel progress. In business terns (mine, at least), these events are similar to setting up your accounting software, loading text into the web pages, receiving your first inventory orders. Big events that show progress, but of themselves do not a house or business make.
I liken the tedious, mind-numbing work of setting up your online shopping cart inventory to that of installing all the electrical wiring. Drill through each stud–load your descriptions. String electrical wire around the walls…all of them…sometimes more than once–load your images and select your categories. If you are working with two other people on nights and weekends to build that house, the wiring alone can take a week, especially if you burn out your dad’s favorite DeWalt cordless drill in the process. Building a business with one part time advisor (again, evenings and weekends), the process takes longer.
Then you start on plumbing. From water heater to three sinks, two commodes, a dishwasher and four exterior spigots, it’s full of little steps punctuated by angles, channeling through studs and preparing for the post inspection tie-in…All of this, punctuated by choice swear words on occasion, takes time and skill. Similar is the process of writing your varied and necessary policies, links and pages. But the first time you turn on the water on is priceless. So is the first time you turn on the power and see light, or the day you put in cabinets and countertop to reveal a real kitchen.
The first time I toured the partially completed website for my upcoming business, I felt as I did the day my dad told me the house we built for me and my children was done. All those little projects strung together produced a home for the three of us that we loved deeply. All these little projects strung together produced an internet home I could call mine (bare bones inventory and all).