Thursday, March 8, 2012

Making Hard Desisions

Hey there PORC fans.

It's been a while since I last reminded you about my anniversary party on:

MARCH 29th from 5:00-8:00.


However, it's also been a while since I've given an update in the land of all things PORC. One of the many chores of owning a small company is making decisions that I need to stand behind, I don't like going back on my word. If I say it will cost 'X' amount. I make that happen. If I say I will deliver on 'Y' date, I deliver on 'Y' date.

With this propensity towards delivering as promised, I've found myself working hours that no human can sustain for a extended period of time. Long gone are the days of working from "9:00 to 5:00." Long gone are the days of working 6 to 5. Somethings gotta give. What's it gunna be?

Lets step back about 6 months ago when I began utilizing the wealth of knowledge at my local chapter of the Small Business Alliance. I can not even begin to express how valuable it has been. I HIGHLY encourage anybody looking to own a business take full advantage of their services. AND AND AND...... almost all of the info is free.

In a class I took about business planning, I learned one very valuable lesson. Small business' fail due to one major thing.  Lack of planning. Sales planning. Market planning. Financial planning.

Large companies leave little to chance when it comes to planning, but I always thought it was impossible for such a small company like mine to thrive in this area.

I was wrong.  I was dead wrong.

Breaking down each area of my company gave me more than I'd ever imagined. It gave me an idea of where I want to go. How I will get there, and what I need to do in order to make it happen. I have a road map to follow.

I am slowly implementing one thing at a time. The big stick in my company spokes is efficiency. If I don't increase my efficiency, I am dead in that water. Why? It's not because I don't have clients or a good product. It's not because I have huge overhead or bad customer service. It's because if I don't figure out how to make my product in more timely manor, I'll run out of steam. I'll burn out. The long hours are not sustainable for the next 30 years.

So, what am I doing? I'm not changing my standards. I'm not changing my excellent customer service. I'm not reducing quality to increase profit.

Instead, I'm investing in the company by purchasing new design software. I've been both designing and presenting every project for the last 2 years with drawings made in Sketchup. It's amazing. Absolutely amazing. And for the price of free...... You can't beat it.

However, I have realized that this design work can be down in a fraction of time with other software.  What takes me days in Sketchup, now takes me minutes.

After exploring and trying software ranging in price from free to over $27,000, I found the product just right for me. Why would I spend my limited amounts of money on something that has always been free, and served me well? Because the program is intuitive and very powerful. The interface is simple and easy to navigate. AND it will free up my limited daily time for something else.

Over the next few months I will show some of the work I'm creating with it. From the first few days of "playing," I've been very happy.

It's a hard choice I had to make. Do I continue down the same path with hopes of IT changing, or do I choose a new path. I went with the later. Only time will tell if I made the correct decision, but it's a chance I'm willing to take. I'm looking forward to dinner with my wife at a reasonable hour this week. Hopefully it will become the norm again.

As always... Thanks for reading.


  1. I have identified the long time it takes me to create a project as a major problem to overcome. There is little I can do about it since I am just a hobbyist woodworker. Right now, I am finishing about two projects a year, but they have been large projects (at least for me). Good luck with it all.

    I'd be interested to know what software you purchased and what makes it faster.

  2. Dinner at a reasonable hour with your spouse is priceless. Sounds like a win-win situation. Congratulations.

  3. Years ago when I ran a small reno business I found that I was the hardest boss I ever worked for. The new path is the right choice. What's for dinner?

  4. @Jeff, thanks for chiming in. I've had a hard time justifying the additional expenses as well. I will continue to use SU for several things, but what makes this new software for me so good, is it's library of parts. I'll do a full post in the next few weeks about it.

    @Carol, thank you. I could not agree more. It certainly isn't going to hurt our marriage. :)

    @Ken, welcome, and thanks for the comment. You are SO right. I have pretty high standards for myself and my hours are a direct reflection of that. We're big ethnic cookers at our house, so maybe tonight we'll have some tandoori or the likes. Thanks again for posting.

  5. Jason, Thanks for your blog. For the last six months, I think I've been working seven days a week 10 to 14 hours a day. This one's almost over but I've got a few more in the wings. I took your advice and bought a better dust collection system and my asthma thanks you.........Now what about that design software?

  6. @James, thanks for the kind note. We all hate looking the beast of work in the eyes and asking for a bit of a break for fear of it not returning. uggg. I feel your pain. I am REALLY glad something I offered helped to get you a new dust catcher. What did you get??? As far as the design software...... It's getting it's own post here coming up. :)

  7. Thanks Jason, I got the Onieda......I've also never bothered with much planning. I guess thats just because I've always had plenty of work and don't mind bopping in between rough framing, trim carpentry and building cabinets. Lately, now that I'm into my second half century, the shop feels a lot more comfortable. I've even considered turning out a few studio pieces. Maybe you could address this planning issue as well. In the end though, I think a more diverse skill set makes you more marketable and keeps things interesting. Let me know what you think?

  8. @James. I totally agree. While I only do framing and other non-cabinet things on my own projects, I think being well versed in every aspect of the building process is important. Frankly, I'm not good enough to pay for my framing. :)

    I'm a bit unclear with what you mean by planning. By all means, I would love to elaborate and share my long winded thoughts, I just want to be clear with your requests?

    Also, I would love to follow your blog as well if feel like sharing a link, as would other here. Cheers!

  9. By planning, I mean what steps did you take to grow and/or organize your business. When I try to think about something other then the nuts and bolts of just doing the work, my chemically dependent tiny little ADHD brain shuts down and I fall. Is there some boiler plate outline that covers the broader topics that one should consider. I could work on that efficiency idea till the end of time and still not perfect it.......It's the reinventing of the wheel thing. Thanks again for all you do for the PORC followers.

  10. James, thanks for the clarification. That sounds like a post all unto itself. Let me get some ideas together, and I will do that. I will do my best not to disappoint. :) Thanks again!