I think a lot of people feel that being a small business owner is the “Canadian Dream”. You control your own destiny; you set your own schedule, you are truly the boss. Sounds amazing doesn’t it? Then why isn’t everyone walking away from guaranteed job security, benefits and pensions to follow their dreams?
In this event industry most of the other vendors we work with are small businesses. They aren’t big corporations, they are good people working really hard to make ends meet and get things done. Contrary to popular belief, just because you own the company does not mean you are rolling in it. You are responsible for paying the bills and salaries and everything else that comes along with it (the list of other expenses is quite long). You learn that your employees are an extension of yourself and those people do not work for free. You worry about them and want to look out for them. They are willing to work hard for you and be part of your brand. I know we are truly thankful for the people who work for us there is no way we could do what we do without them. I love that the team pulls together and tackles anything that is thrown at them.
When you are a small company everything you do is a reflection of your brand. The people you associate with, the decisions you make, the projects you undertake, literally everything. I remember the times when I was working for other companies and though I was prepared to go the extra mile to complete projects it is very different when you live and breathe a business. Being an owner is not a 9-5 job. If you are lucky to work an 8 hour day your mind doesn’t shut off when you lock the door. You brain is always working and considering your next steps.
It’s kind of funny (in that ironic sense of the word) how you start to think of your life in terms of a brand. And by no means do I think Mastermind Events is a recognizable national brand, I may be slightly crazy but I am not delusional (yet!). But I know that over the past 7 years we have grown considerably and a lot of that is word of mouth and our reputation. We try to deliver the same customer service that has helped us grow which mean being involved in every aspect of the business. Lately it has been getting harder and harder to keep up but we continue to do our best.
It might seem ridiculous but we are accessible to our clients at every minute of the day whether people have my personal cell phone or are my Facebook friend. We want to know if there is a problem because we are going to do our absolute best to fix it. If our clients aren’t happy we need to know. It can be draining and I think it is more than we had originally signed up for but as I have said before we didn’t know what kind of ride we were getting on when this company started.
If people want to know why I take this business to heart and why I care so deeply is that each hour I am investing in to this business is time I don’t get to be with my kids. I’m not complaining and my kids are completely adapted to this lifestyle. But if I am spending time away from them then I am going to care deeply about what I am doing and the results I want/need to achieve. And yes, I do take it personally. It’s funny the stuff that our kids think is normal. Hotels and banquet halls are the norm on weekends, most 5 year olds ask the school bus driver if they completed a circle check of the vehicle before heading out on their route right? Even our family vacations usually have a work component! What kids haven’t been to Las Vegas for a trade show? What do you mean that isn’t normal?!? At least last year the trade show was in Orlando so that was a bit more their speed.
Thank you to all the people who have been kind to our children when they are tagging along with us. They feel that this is their business too and love to work hard to help Mommy and Daddy out. We do our best to be with them as much as possible and I hope this type of childhood teaches them an incredibly hard work ethic and sense of responsibility, but also that they can accomplish more than what they realize is possible.
For my fellow business owners out there, I truly applaud your efforts. When you act with integrity and care you help elevate our industry. Bad experiences that clients have taint the waters for all of us. I thank you for caring about your clients and treating them with the respect they deserve. Keep up the good work and the wedding season is almost done for another year – WE MADE IT!