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Lessons Learned from Owning a Small Business


Happy Thanksgiving to you U.S. readers!!!! I hope you have a wonderful holiday filled with happiness and warmth! In full disclosure, I wrote this post on Monday but I wanted to schedule it ahead of time so I could give you a little light reading over the long holiday weekend. I’ll be spending the day with my family. I hope you all have a great day and a safe holiday weekend!

I’ve got some good news to share in relation to my husband’s business!

He’s now up to three crews! Woohoo!!!

If you’re new or don’t know what I’m talking about then let me back up…

My husband is a small business owner. His company does wood flooring and since I’ve started blogging he went from having one crew (him and a helper) up to having two crews (his + another), back down to one crew (his) and now he’s back up to three (his + 2 others).

I want to knock on wood while I’m saying this but so far it’s been going really well with the extra crews!

I haven’t talked a lot about husband’s business since I’ve been blogging, but I want to brag on it (and husband) a minute here and provide some insight into his work situation.

Husband has been in wood flooring forever. He started when he was 18 and had done it on-and-off for years. When we moved to Florida (for my Master’s program) he decided to do it full time and went to work for other people. He worked 2 years on really high-end homes (he did Celine Deon’s floors on Jupiter island and the majority of his work was on multi-million dollar properties). He learned more in those 2 years than most would in 15.

When we moved to Arizona (for my Doctoral program) he worked for someone else for the first couple years and had bad experiences – work was irregular, low paying, and unreliable. He then decided to start his own business.

Owning our own business was pretty costly the first year or so.

Not only are there the mandatory expenses (business licensing, contractor licensing, and start-up costs associated with equipment, etc.), but there are also the expenses that you have to chock up to “learning lessons.” We had a LOT of those that first year. Husband tried to bring on a bunch of crews at once and it was a nightmare. He ended up eating multiple botched jobs completed by employees and didn’t have great control of the situation. We bled money and husband dropped his crews and just had one crew (him and a helper) for a long time.

When he added a second crew he did so cautiously. He leaned on some of his management background (while on-and-off with flooring he also did retail management for a few years), and did a much better job controlling the situation. He learned some valuable lessons from his previous experiences (both in terms of leadership/management but also in terms of business finances) and he was able to apply them this time around.

He did have to let his second crew go, but then he was able to bring back a second crew, plus add a third crew! Plus, he’s expanded his horizon a bit. Husband only does wood/laminate floors but his second crew does both wood and tile work. And his third crew does carpet installation. Husband’s licensed for all floor types so now he’s expanded his company’s repertoire and, as a result, enjoyed increased business in recent weeks.

I’m still cautiously optimistic about the whole thing, but proud of my hubs for the way it’s worked out. I’ve mentioned how husband may try to expand his business in Spring but its just sort of worked out to happen sooner. Hubs wanted to go back to two crews so his second crew was planned, but his third crew just kind of “happened” to him. He’d done a wood install that included carpet tear-out and when husband went to the local carpet recycling place to drop off the old carpet, he made a business contact who put him in contact with his now third crew. Funny how things work out!

So hubs’ business is looking like it’s on the ups and with any luck (*fingers crossed*) we can continue to draw an income even when we go out of town for Christmas!

Small Business Owner Bad thing = No breaks from work!

Small Business Owner Good thing = Paychecks keep coming!

That’s the hope, anyway!

Any small business owners out there? Any good books you might recommend or tips you have from learning the hard way how to build your business?

So, what do you think ?