The color red can be a seductive color. A color of passion. Red lipstick on someone’s lips or a red dress hugging someone’s curves or even just a red tie against a black button up shirt and most people are drawn into a world of intrigue.
Then there is the other side of red - as in my finances are in the red or I am seeing red from anger. And who can forget the old “Do you own a red car? Guess whose rates may be going up?” or “Hello officer!”.
Why are we bringing up the color red today? Because as a small business owner the struggle to balance the good and bad of the color red coin seems to be a daily battle. Everyone can relate to this whether you are a business owner or not. Now, this discussion partially revolves around money folks. But all I think I need to say about this bad side of the red coin is that when you are working to get your business going (or working your way through debt/family finances - whatever you can relate to), you see your books in the red quite a bit. The biggest piece of advice I yield to is to look at the bigger picture. Ignore the color and look at the progress and the road ahead.
In any event; everyday it is a matter of seeing red too. Frustration mounts in trying to be a small business owner and juggling two kids and their activities and still finding time to be a wife/daughter/friend and oh wait; yes... there is supposed to be some “me” time in there too (you all laugh with me right?). This kind of frustration is always short lived because as we’ve learned - you roll with it. Forget a kid has a rehearsal one afternoon and you are 30 minutes away because your last batch of cupcakes had to cool and you had no control over the heat in the kitchen and the other kid is tugging on your shirt for help with homework while your husband is calling saying “how can I help?” - roll with it. There is usually another friend who can pick up the kid from rehearsal and depending on the homework subject it’s ok to talk it through on the car ride home after you let the husband know “want to help - bring something home and I’ll cook it”. Seeing red in those situations only lasts a few moments. You solve the problem, learn, and move on.
But what happens when the big stuff happens and you can’t solve the problem immediately? Especially as a small business. When The Shameless Bakery got started there was a lot of discussion over the “what-ifs”. What if there is no money? What if there is no demand? What if we move? What if we have no clue? What if something happens to one of us? And for all of these “what-ifs” there was a well written plan of action to get through it.
(Again - everyone laugh with me).
Just because it is written on paper does not mean that is how the problem is solved. Because when you are in the thick of it there are usually a number of other factors happening that make you go “I didn’t think of that!”.
And of course - what happened to Shameless here recently? A big one. The adults of the household were taken ill one after the other that there was just no controlling. In the well written plan of what to do there was no contingency for when both partners are out of commission. Well, there was and then we found out the “we-didn’t-think-of-that”. The good news is adults of the household are well back in hand and recovery is complete. Now it is just the daily grind and catch up that makes us go bald. And the color red again had a pivotal role in getting us through this hiccup.
This time it was the good side of the red coin. If we haven’t mentioned it; our family is huge into hockey. We’re all involved in the sport in some capacity and are fans of the local NHL sports team, the Washington Capitals, whose primary color is red. Throughout our illnesses we got back to talking about the Caps in the evening. We put Shameless away at the end of the day and talked; all of us. Which lead into our kids starting their hockey seasons and talking about schedules and putting more red on the family calendar (because those are hockey days). Now Shameless has slowly come back into a schedule and thus the calendar looks like a red and black (because Shameless is that naughty little black dress so it gets the color black) checkerboard with spurts of other colors for other activities mixed in. But in standing back and looking at the calendar and knowing the road ahead, I see how our family bonded in a time of uncertainty and how the color red balanced our lives out again. The red in the financial books was negated by the red on our calendar to an extent.
The last sixty days has been a nightmare and a huge blessing. We all have been humbled knowing that there is still a very large demand for what we are doing as Shameless. As a family we have learned this is just the beginning of some really great things we are doing together and individually and we know how to prevail and maintain balance.
So now what happens? After this article I am heading in to bake some red velvet cupcakes of course!