Business Blog Book Tour – 5 Days Away!

Since the BBBT is going to be talking a lot about small business, I thought I would share a recent decision.

Two and a half years ago, I joined our family business, one that my father started 22 years ago. I had worked for GE since graduating from college and decided I needed to go a different direction.

The business is a sheet metal fabrication shop that my dad built from nothing. It is small with only two or three employees, depending on volume. The niche for the company is short run production, specializing in one piece to a couple thousand pieces.

I joined the business knowing I would have to grow sales. The business was small and fixed costs made up a large percentage of our cost structure. A small change in sales would bring a large portion of those additional dollars to the bottom line.

We worked with existing customers increase share. The company started offering a wide range of products through partnering with other firms. We ran a successful direct marketing campaign and acquired a number of new customers.

Even with the success, we couldn’t move the sales number much. Whatever growth we got was offset by softness in the existing customer base. I could give a lot of theories on why we couldn’t get the growth, but I am not sure I will ever know exactly.

Two weeks ago, I decided it was time to move on. The business is better than when I came, but not good enough for me to stay. I am going to be phase myself out over the next month. My dad is going to keep doing it as he always has.

My new mission: stay home and take care of our 11 month old son.