On his blog, Seth Godin recently shared the keys to Small business Success:

Three things you need:
1) the ability to abandon a plan when it doesn’t work,
2) the confidence to do the right thing even when it costs you money in the short run, and
3) enough belief in other people that you don’t try to do everything yourself.

Wow!  I’ve got all those.

1.  When our first cot cover selling technique failed because our salesman couldn’t pay his debts to us (read Crippling Challenge + Determination = Business Reward/Failure (Part 1)), I had to find another plan.  Selling on the internet (through COTCOVERS.com) and searching out wholesale customers has helped us become the leading manufacturer of quilted cot covers in North America.  In fact, I think the next few years will see us selling more of our brand of covers than others who sell the fake fur, high-luster covers.  And who knows, in ten years, maybe we’ll sell more than Ferno!

2.  I faced a huge dilemma when we started getting complaints about the vinyl lining in our quilted cot covers just last year (read Crippling Challenge + Determination = Business Reward/Failure (Part 2)).  The vinyl ripped under stress, cracked in cold weather and made too much noise.  And while I had a few sleepless nights worrying about the problem  the results of changing to a better lining have been PHENOMENAL!  It cost us a bit more since the new FluidBlocker lining is three times the price of vinyl, but the benefits have been awesome.

3.  When I started Final Embrace, I thought I could do it all myself.  But there are only so many hours in the day.  That’s why I now have four part-time employees.  Two of them sew the major part of each cot cover for me (although I still do the last few steps, the final inspection and the boxing), another makes the pockets that we add to DELUXE and ULTRA models and a fourth handles my paperwork.  So what do I do?

 I keep the blog running strong, line up others to help write content for this site, create and place all advertising, go to the bank, drop shipments at the post office, order supplies and a whole lot more.

To be honest, I actually viewed each of these steps (abandoning a plan, fixing the lining snafu, delegating authority) as failures when they happened.  Now, I know that they were necessary steps that have made my company stronger.

So next time you have to fix a big problem or hand over responsibility, try to see the positive aspects.  Your company will be better for it.

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