There are many things I regret.
I regret that I ever put BGLH Marketplace in a position to compete on price. I learned early on in my accelerator program that, contrary to popular belief, small businesses that attempt to compete on price are significantly MORE LIKELY to fold than those who don’t. Small businesses don’t have the same capital reserves as larger businesses, so it’s generally recomended that they stay far, far away from the race to the lowest price, and compete primarily on value. As an example; a local coffee shop doesn’t launch with the goal of beating out McDonalds’ on price. There’s an understanding that the quality of the coffee shop’s ingredients, ambience and community justify its higher price point.
I love the work of BGLH Marketplace. I consider myself incredibly lucky that I get to do it. Even more lucky that despite my many, many, many mistakes, I have done it for this long.
There are questions right now that I cannot answer. The 50% reduction in sales volume we experienced is no small thing. Right now we’re playing a game of chicken. Will we get our sales volume up before our loan runs out, or will the loan run out first? I’ve had to go over worst case scenarios.
Thankfully no scenarios involve this business folding permanently. It might have to contract for a bit, we might lose the Brooklyn storefront, but if this rollercoaster has proven anything it’s that — when priced and valued correctly — this business has more than what it needs to grow and thrive without debt and stress.
I’ve had this story on my heart for weeks. Rolled it over and over in my mind wondering whether I should share it.
I learned in my business accelerator that my biggest marketing asset is me. My story, my voice. But I’ve hesitated because my story is so, well, embarrassing. Who wants to publicly admit that their insecurities nearly torpedoed their brand? But that is my story. At least for now. I know there will be more stories — better stories — to tell after this.
And so, this is where things end for now. Vanessa, Rodney and I are riding it out at the storefront. On days that revenue is high we are buoyant, Rodney exclaiming “Alright, alright, alright!” before launching into work. When things are slower we’re more subdued. But we’re all trusting that the seeds that have been planted — seeds of hope and not fear — will blossom into something really beautiful soon.