Everything Has A Season
Updated: Jan 19, 2018
I did not know exactly what products and services I wanted to offer when I started 37 Oaks. I knew what I was good at; I knew what I had credibility in doing, and I knew there was opportunity in the retail industry, but I was unsure what would lead to a sustainable, profitable and scalable business.
In trying to figure out what products and services to offer, it made sense to begin by addressing unmet needs in the market. Early on, I saw an opportunity that was a hybrid to a few of these needs. I, like most entrepreneurs, felt this was the most innovative concept since Uber. I outlined a plan, crossed my T's, dotted my I's, gathered supporting data and began to shop it around.
In my conversations, I was getting market validation. OK, so off to a good start. There were 3 stakeholders in this model and they all loved what I was doing. It was obvious to us all that this opportunity had legs. But...
There is a difference with loving an idea, versus paying for it.
Minor detail :/. This model was solving a clear need for the market. So what was the problem? Why can't I get this going, or at least prototyped?
The best concept since Uber, the one that everyone loved and that the market validated was stuck. I spent months pitching, networking, and selling the vision, but tweaking the approach, and No Go. Based on my experience, market trends and data, I knew that fundamentally I had a winner. I was frustrated and discouraged. But who cares how I felt (yeah, that's cute, but...), the opportunity was there, I knew it, and my focus had to stay on getting this prototyped.
Recall, I have no Plan B. So spending time on a great idea that was not generating income is just not smart. So, despite my passion and certainty that this was winner, I had to adjust my focus and time allocation.
Not abandon the concept, but admit that I miscalculated the timing to get it going and since I really believed in it, find away to keep at it.
Hold the Vision. Trust The Process.
This was not easy. You get so much thrown at you as a soloprenuer, you have to constantly make sure you assess each opportunity and don't loose focus. So, I still talked about my concept as though it was a current offering and continued to massage my networks to pursue a prototype. At the core of this, I had to know that this was worth investing my time in as my time is valuable. I get paid for it, its just me, so I need to spend it wisely. What was happening now was a process was taking its course. The market was not yet primed and despite what I felt, some things had to happen on my end to better prepare me to prototype.
After about a year of this juggle and grind, the market started to shift more and put some of these stake holders in a different position. To the point where I damn near had a lay up to prototype this concept and all I had to do was make it happen.
We are entrepreneurs because we see things that others don't AND we bring it to light. Just because we see it and are ready to do it, it does not mean it is the right time, and therefore does not mean it's a failure. I am not a biologist or ecologist, but in looking around me, everything is on some type of clock or cycle. Each of the 4 seasons has a purpose to the biology of a woman is cyclical. Same applies to what we do. A time and season for it all.
It sounds cliche, but if what you see is a true unmet market need, you have to say with it. Despite your frustrations and discouragement, keep at it. Things are processing in the background to prime your concept for launch. But also, know when to reevaluate your time and focus. You still have a business to run, so know how to balance the "here and now" with the "soon to come".