A Day In The Life Of A Small Business Owner

Jim Blasingame


5:15am: Wednesday- Anywhere, America
Eep Eep Eep Eep Eep Eep Eep Eep Eep Eep Eep

Man, I wish I had checked the buzzer out before I bought that alarm clock. Not that it really matters - I wake up 30 minutes before it goes off anyway. What was that line? Oh, yeah. "I sleep like a baby. I wake up every three hours and cry." Hmm! I don't remember having that problem when I was an employee.

6: 15am: Out the door at home
Big day today. Should get an answer on my loan request from 1st American, and Kravanowski is supposed to give me an answer on my proposal. What are my options if the bank turns me down? Don't think that way. You covered all the bases. It's good business for them. Still.... Nope, not going there. Must stay positive today. If I have to, I could cut a little on the Kravanowski pricing if he would take delivery twice a month instead of weekly. Almost forgot: Chamber board meeting at 7:30. Does the grass need cutting already?

7:15am: Unlocking back door of the store
Hope the rain holds off. Good. Bill's on time for once. We've GOT to make that Johnson delivery today before it starts raining. Suzie usually gets a check out to us within 7 days, God bless her. I'm counting on those funds to cover the tax deposit. Come on sun work with me. There's a customer at the door and he saw me. I can't make him wait until 7:30. The Big Box down the road doesn't open until 7:30 either, but if I don't let this guy in, he'll get there about the time they open up and I'll never see him again. Darned discounters. There goes the Chamber meeting. "Come in, sir." Ouch. Must have picked up a rock. I've got to get these shoes resoled.

8:15am: Checking email
Darn! The bank wants last month's financials. Do they think I can just spit them out on the morning of the 1st? I gave them my numbers through first half. I don't even have time today to take them over, let along get them together. How's that for irony: I need the loan to grow my business, so I can afford to hire people to help me produce the current records my banker wants in order to give me a loan. This kind of stuff isn't in that book I read about starting my own business.

9:15am: Walking out back
Why does Bill have the hood up on the truck? Is that smoke from the motor? No, it's his cigarette, and he's checking the oil. I've got to stop being so jumpy. When I was an employee I could drink regular coffee without thinking about it. What was that thing I heard Marc Allen say on Blasingame's show? Oh, yeah. "I will face today in an easy and relaxed manner, in a healthy and positive way." Hmm. That didn't work. I'll try again later when I can close my eyes and take a deep breath. Maybe I should start blending regular and decaf before lunch.

10:15am: Helping a customer out the door
Got to get that light fixed on the sign. Don't seem to notice it so much during the day unless it's cloudy - oh, no - not the clouds. If I pull Gus out of the warehouse, that would speed up the Johnson delivery. No, Gus strained his back yesterday. Just don't have enough heads to put under all these hats. If my loan goes through - I mean, when my loan goes through - I'll be able to put that Smith kid on full-time. I HATE being undercapitalized. I wonder if it's possible for a small business to be any other way? Is there a PTO meeting tonight?

11:15am: At the post office
Bills, bills, bills, but no checks. Looks like it's going to be close on payroll this Friday. Hope I can get paid. Oh, great. It's license plate renewal month. Seems like I've got one of those annual zingers, like a 25% initial insurance premium, or the property tax, or something every month. Wonder if budgeting would help? I could add them all up, divide by 12, and amortize that much each month, like I do stock loss reserve. That would help the accounting, but it doesn't help a slow cash flow month. Got to get some help managing AR aging. Come on bank loan! What's this? Who's sending me a certified letter?

12:15pm: Sitting at desk, dining on a pastrami and rye
What was I going to remember to calculate? Oh, yeah. The freight figures for Kravanowski. Shouldn't take long, maybe I can do it now before we get a customer rush after lunch. Nooooo! Don't crash on me. How does my computer know when I'm in a hurry? I'll do it on the calculator. Must have those numbers in case he complains about the price. I've got to start eating more vegetables.

1:15pm: Spinning plates
The phone looks like a Christmas tree. Kravanowski's on one - that's probably good. Bill's on two over at Johnson's - that's probably bad. The bank's on three - that could go either way. Customers are lined up at the counter - that's good if they don't get tired of waiting. Did that car have its windshield wipers on? Where's that pack of Rolaids?

2:15pm: At the bank
"An SBA guarantee is the only way the bank can make my loan? Yes, ma'am, I understand. I can have last month's statements to you later this week. How much more time will an SBA application take? Ten days. I see." Should I have worn a suit? Why do I feel smaller when I sit across from a banker? Did she see the hole in my shoe?

3:15pm: Back at the office
TEN DAYS! Okay, close your eyes, and take a deep breath. Blasingame said to say this out loud: "I will accept this setback in an easy and relaxed manner, in a healthy and positive way." Hmm. Maybe it takes practice. I'll try again later. Kravanowski's on two. Maybe he liked my new delivery idea. With the loan delayed, I really need that deal. May have to cut deeper into my margin. I need some good news today. No, don't give it away. Mustn't get desperate. You're not desperate. Yet.

4:15pm: Watching it rain
Bill got the flat fixed and made the Johnson delivery before the rain. Thank you, Lord. That's the good news. The bad news is Suzie is on vacation for two weeks. No Johnson check and no loan. What's Plan B for the tax deposit? That's next week's problem. Let's take things one day at a time. Maybe receivables will pick up. I better get Larry in part time this week to cover the floor so I can get on the phone to collect some cash. I hate having to make the sale AND collect the money. That loan's GOT to go through. Wonder what Sarah wants to talk to me about. Probably a raise. Maybe I can put her off until I find out about the loan.

5:15pm: Sitting all the way back in the chair for the first time today
Well, that took a nasty little turn. I just got Sarah trained. She was just starting to be productive, and now she turns in her notice to go to work for Big Box. Good day on the counter, though. And Kravanowski went for my bi-weekly delivery idea, even though he still made me cut my price a little. Maybe I can make it up on add-ons. Only a week to replace Sarah, but at least she gave notice. Wonder if that placement agency is still open? There goes my weekend. Even if I find a replacement soon, I'll have to be out front more until the new person catches on. I'll have to make sure I don't get behind on my paperwork. I promised Melissa I'd go with her class on the field trip next week. How can I do that now? Get your priorities straight!

6:15pm: On the way home for dinner, before the PTO meeting
What a day! I feel like I've been on a roller coaster. At least there were some highs. I wonder if I would have started this business if I had known how hard it was going to be? Absolutely. I like knowing that I own the challenges AND the opportunities. Still, I look forward to not having to struggle. I wonder if that ever happens in a small business? Hope I don't get nominated for something tonight.

5:15am: Next morning
Eep Eep Eep Eep Eep Eep Eep Eep Eep Eep Eep

Man, I wish I had checked the buzzer out before I bought that alarm clock.

Write this on a rock... If you're not good at multi-tasking, don't quit your job. If you don't like challenges, clock in tomorrow. If you MUST have security, thank God for employment. But everybody should check the buzzer before they buy an alarm clock.


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