When I purchased Seth Godin’s book, ‘It’s Your Turn’, Seth issued a challenge to post a story a day. Every day. For 7 days.
I took up the challenge.
And chose to share insights into the values that influence the way I live.
And the way I run my business, The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies.
This is Day 7.
What Do You Do When You Hit A Brick Wall?
I’m Carol Jones. And I’m the purveyor of The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies.
One of the vagaries of owning your own business is that one day, and believe me, this is a given . . .
You. Will. Hit. A. Brick. Wall.
For whatever reason.
Some will let the brick wall stop them dead in their tracks.
And they’ll close their business down.
To go back to work for someone else.
Others will look at the wall.
Figure out how to knock a hole in it.
And push their way through to the other side.
The stayers will do this many times during the life of their business.
What you do when you encounter your brick wall is dependent on how easy, or difficult, it was for you to start your business in the beginning.
This is a tale of two businesses who started out almost on the same day.
And another business which became a household name.
And is no longer in business.
I call it ‘The Bright Shiny Star’.
A company on the rise. With a good product to match.
My partner, Victor Pleshev, an architect who designs all our products, and I used to be green with envy in 1994 when we did nothing but read about how wonderful ‘The Bright Shiny Star’ was.
The press was full of stories about this hot company. And their product range.
On an almost daily basis.
All while we were struggling to find our feet. Our market niche. And to bring in enough revenue to pay the bills.
Publicity helped drive ‘The Bright Shiny Star’ to the very top.
It makes you.
Or breaks you.
We wanted to be in the made camp!
We were so very hungry for someone to write about us in the same glowing manner journalists wrote about them.
Because what other people write about you is soooo much more valuable than what you write about yourself.
But. Alas. Us trying to get publicity for our ironing board cover is like trying to get a journalist to write about the benefits of contracting Ebola.
It’s not going to happen.
Over the ensuing years we always marvelled at how well ‘The Bright Shiny Star’ was doing.
Until one day a small snippet appeared in a business magazine saying ‘The Bright Shiny Star’ was looking for a new investor.
Hmm-m-m-m. What’s this about, I wondered?
In my former life, I was the owner of a market research company.
Digging deep to find the difficult was – and is still – one of my talents.
And was I surprised at what I found out?
‘The Bright Shiny Star’ was super successful because the owner was in a business – and – personal relationship with someone of extraordinary influence.
A back room player. Rather than an upfront, public face of the business.
For whatever reason, that relationship never made it into the press.
And those of us who were outsiders never knew.
How they managed to keep such an important business partner out of the press is extraordinary. And it certainly wouldn’t happen in today’s bare all, everything is up for grabs media frenzy . . . because the public has a right to know . . . everything!
Perhaps 1994 was just a smidgen before the 24/7 news cycle in Australia. And before we all became enraptured with celebrity. And with trashing them.
That person of extraordinary influence called in many favours to get ‘The Bright Shiny Star’ to where it was.
Not only with the press. But within the industry sector they excelled in.
When they knocked. Doors opened. And stayed open.
But when their relationship broke down, the person of influence moved on. Leaving ‘The Bright Shiny Star’ adrift. Without a rudder.
Then came the financial crunch.
‘The Bright Shiny Star’ had no skills to move the business forward.
Being the face of the business is quite different to being the person in the engine room. Guiding and changing course to keep the business on track.
It was a short frame of time between ‘The Bright Shiny Star’ looking for another partner. And being unable to find one.
To ‘The Bright Shiny Star’ folding.
That meltdown was akin to the bright light of Sirius, the brightest star in the earth’s night sky, suddenly being extinguished.
That was 10 years ago. And the owner of ‘The Bright Shiny Star’ has never started another business.
Business is a tough gig.
And you need to develop the skills to punch a hole in the brick wall to get through to the other side.
Which is what we excel at.
Knocking obstacles over to get to where we are today.
We’re not impervious to a brick wall falling on us and knocking us out.
But with the skills we’ve developed since 1992, when we lost everything in Paul Keating’s ‘recession we had to have’, it’s highly unlikely.
Having the skills to know what to do when you hit a brick wall in business is essential.
And it’s something you learn on the job.
Because you’ll never find an answer in a text book.
Or an online ‘new shiny object’ course.
It’s a skill you develop because deep down, you want this business to survive.
And giving it heart to heart and oxygen when needed is learned almost by osmosis.
Without that skill, you can’t keep a business running.
And I’m still amazed – every time I think about it – that we’re still here, growing and becoming more prosperous every year.
And ‘The Bright Shiny Star’ isn’t.
Who. Would. Have. Thought?
~Carol Jones, Ironing Diva❤
PS. You can read ‘Our Story. How We Built A Worldwide Business From Broke’. Here.
And this is the link to Seth’s Book, It’s Your Turn. Highly recommended.
I Am The Purveyor Of The Tantrum Free Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies
Made with love and care in RURAL Australia by men and women who have a disability.
It’s not for everyone.
But it’s definitely for you if you’re fussy about the cover you iron on.
And if you love to support Australian made.
And want to put something back into the community when you make a purchase.
The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover cover has more than 350,000 customers in 29 countries. Because it lives up to its name. It ‘Fitz Like A Glove™’ every time you iron.
And these are the ‘Other Goodies’
The share button is at the end of this post.
Have a question? Email me.
Or phone me, Carol Jones, in rural Australia on 02 63 588 511.
Photos of my rural property are courtesy of me, Ironing Diva – who is also known as Paddock Paparazzi – and taken at sunrise every morning.
Sheep Holding Pen At Sunrise
PS. And I have a fabulous newsletter ‘A Smidgen Of Gossip’. This is what a subscriber says about it. “Carol. Just had some time to read it and found that it is, as with everything you do, rather wonderful. A great read. W” You can subscribe to it by clicking this link. It’s FREE! This is not a lifetime commitment. You can Unsubscribe at any time. Don’t miss out. Click this link now!