A quick "nuts and bolts" re-cap/update ...
- Amazingly, construction was mostly on time. The construction industry in Bozeman, MT is blowing up right now! I am constantly hearing about residential and commercial projects running way over budget and way behind schedule. I was really diligent about working with our contractor to keep things on schedule ... and, I ended up taking on some of the projects myself so we could stay on schedule and on budget.
- We are about 2 weeks behind schedule in getting the store functional for business ... due to delays in racking shipments, product deliveries, etc. But, in my opinion, that's not too bad for a retail store. Things are always behind schedule.
- Staffing - we had one key employee resign in the midst of this crazy process of my wife being on maternity leave, trying to train new staff for our new store, etc. But, we hired 3 new part-time employees (this was a new strategy on hiring this time - instead of trying to find 1 good full time employee) and we are very happy with all of them up to this point.
- Branding, etc. I am pretty diligent on this stuff. This new store gave me the opportunity to make a more cohesive branding statement for Dee-O-Gee ... not just for this new store, but as an overall branding theme for successive stores in the future. The image for this blog post is of "the Dee-O-Gee scene" we are now using throughout all of our branding/marketing, also available to checkout on the top of Dee-O-Gee.com. This is one of my favorite parts of being a small business owner and I'm glad I've had the opportunity to think through these details with a long-term mindset regarding Dee-O-Gee customer perception in the future.
Now, for the things I'm learning that I didn't think I would learn ...
- This is WAY HARDER to do with a family. When we opened our first Dee-O-Gee, it was just my wife and I (and, our "mascot" dog, Jericho). At that time, we had no problem staying at the "yet to be opened" Dee-O-Gee until 11 or 12 o'clock at night for multiple nights on end. We lived in a small condo, had no kids, etc. Now, I have 2 kids, a wife that is the mother of a newborn, and a "big boy" house to take care of. Not to mention, I am currently more heavily involved in serving at our church than I was 5 years ago. All of those things have added up to a bit more stress and tension on our marriage. I also feel more absent as a father ... things that don't sit well with me. We are very much in need of a personal vacation to reconnect and I'm already working on what that will look like for the start of 2014.
- Despite the hardness, I feel optimistic about doing this again in the future. Now, we know what the inside of the store will look like and how it will "flow" the best. We have even more credibility with manufacturers that are eager to get their products on our shelves (because they now know they will sell) ... and, they are eager to "pay" to make that happen. We know how much $$$ it will cost to get another store open, stocked and staffed. And, we know how many people we will have to hire to make that happen.
- It is VITAL to stay in shape ... spiritually and physically. Ok, I guess I knew this before. But, having experienced it first hand in the past few weeks, I need to put it in writing here. I can tell you, that these past few months have been some of the most challenging of my life. If I didn't have my faith "tuned in" (knowing where my identity lies and where I find my hope) and my physical health in decent shape, I could have suffered a breakdown in either of those areas, which would have crippled the entire process. Freebie for the day: workout physically and do some spiritual life "work" each day!
Overall ... super excited to take the paper off of the windows tomorrow at Dee-O-Gee Downtown & looking forward to what God will do with this opportunity! Thanks for reading! Thoughts? Please comment below.