I picked up a book titled In Pursuit of the Common Good, by Paul Newman and A.E. Hotchner well over a year ago. I read it with interest as it detailed their journey of starting their “Newman’s Own” brand and subsequent charity work. As part of the description on the back of the book so eloquently describes: “Told in alternating voices, Newman and Hotchner’s zany-tale is a business model for entrepreneurs, an inspirational book and just plain delightful reading.” Very true! I’ve been thinking alot about that book as I go about launching this line of greeting cards. I remembered the book discussing much of the difficulty they encountered upfront as they bucked standard protocol and made decisions, not based on a well thought out business plan, but on gut and instinct. I decided to pick up the book and reread it the other day (night). I know I’m in for my own rocky road of learning the business of business. I also know that a business plan is a must. And I do have one roughed out, but I also believe you’ve got to be open to life’s twists and turns. Life will hand you opportunities, challenges and considerations that are not written into that business plan document. I started reading again tonight and got so excited I thought I’d better post another blog entry. I wanted to tell others about this great book!
I know I’ve got to “hold the vision” but I also know I’ve got to hold it with enough slack in the rope that I can move with it. I’m in a bit of overwhelm as I realize this is Sunday night and I’ve only got a few days left to make sure I’m all prepared for flying off to Denver early Friday morning. My to do list isn’t even complete as I’m still mentally reminding myself of things I want to take, need to finish, notes to make etc…I’m trying to just put one foot in front of the other. Sarah came over earlier this evening to review the catalog. She’s got a few more changes to make before sending it to the printer tomorrow. (I need to take the catalogs with me to Denver). We got off on a tangent as we discussed what the inside message from me will be in the catalog. Sarah had gleaned copy from my pegconley.com website that she had included. I had written a new “blurb”, which she liked but said it maybe too personal for the catalog and better served on the website. That led us down another path where I began painting the “bigger vision” of what I’m holding for “Words & Watercolors”. I get excited about other products I want to introduce (journals, magnets, shopping lists notepads and who knows what else!?) and maybe other artists to bring into the fold. I talk about “Bayview Arts Publishing” (we print more than just my work). Sarah has the voice of the realist and tempers my ideas with a reality check. We begin discussing Sales and a discussion ensues about the need for Sales Reps (or not). I, of course, see the need for Rep Groups. Sarah doesn’t believe they are worth paying them money. I try to explain how else are you going to find that small store in Arkansas that would sell your cards? As Mark (another salesperson) and I have often discussed, this will be a sales driven organization. We are both of the mindset that if you don’t have sales, you won’t have a company. Next weekend will test me as I’ll be out there working in the trenches at a trade show. Hopefully gathering not only lots of orders but lots of feedback.
Until next time, I’m off to finish reading about the “Hole in the Wall Gang” camps that Newman’s Own introduced. Paul Newman and A.E. Hotchner were both 2 incredibly interesting individuals in their own right. They achieved amazing accomplishments! I hope to be able to say I’ve done some amazing things in a few years time as well!