If I have to stare at the computer screen for another hour this week, I might scream. (Oh wait, here I am in front of a computer screen – sigh.) Our digital world has presented many pros and cons lately. As I move through ordering materials for our new venture I find myself making decisions about canopies, display pieces, retail shopping bags, logo stickers, packaging, and at least a dozen other items that have currently slipped my mind. (It’s a good thing I keep a notebook!) On one hand, I am grateful to have so many online stores providing so many choices that I can (after so many hours of searching) get exactly what I want at a price I can afford. On the other hand, the dizzying array of choices seem to make the decisions harder than they have to be.
I’ve discovered I do that frequently – make decisions harder than they have to be. My mind has a difficult time settling on something (anything) until I’ve scoped out all (and I do mean ALL) of my options. While this usually means I’m happy with my final choice, it also means that I spend a lot of time agonizing over details that may seem inconsequential to others. For example, I spent several hours on four separate days looking at retail merchandise bags to use following a sale. What’s so hard about choosing a bag, you ask? Aside from the fact that there are about 300 kinds that I never realized existed and that online sellers have widely varying prices, minimum quantities, and shipping costs, I’m concerned about getting just the right feel for my customers. I want to be sure to choose an environmentally friendly bag. I want to be sure to give my customers an “artsy” feel at the end of the purchase. I want my customers to feel they have acquired a gift, whether it is for themselves or someone else. I want to be sure it is a reflection of our business idea that life should be seriously colorful. Ultimately, I think I found a bag that ticked off all of those boxes, but it was not easy, and (I can assure you) I lost sleep at night contemplating the pros and cons of paper versus plastic.
While this may seem like overkill, I’m discovering that the devil’s in the details. My parents owned businesses for many years, and I did a great deal of research and reading before starting this (very) small business. I think I’m going in with my eyes open, but I’m still surprised by the number of seemingly easy decisions that have a large impact on a daily basis. I never imagined buying things like envelopes and zip ties could hold so much significance that I would comparison shop at least 10 sellers before ordering. Nor did I imagine how excited I would be when the UPS truck stops in front of my house. Tomorrow Lochinvar and I are going to put the whole display together for the first time. (I’ll probably lie awake tonight imagining how wonderful it will be!) As each decision is actually made and each order is fulfilled, we feel ourselves moving closer to the moment of truth and the anticipation is tangible. So, while the decisions are frustrating and tiresome, they’re also paving the way for us to really get started on this adventure. And we’ve learned from experience that no matter what happens, at least it will be interesting.