Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Extended Lead Times

Lately, I've been driving my family crazy with nonstop work. When you are a one woman show and your office/studio also happens to be your dining room, it's hard to separate work from, well, everything else. Which brings me to self imposed lead times.

When I first started making Travel Clutches, I had the lead time set as 3-4 business days. That was pretty rational so long as I only had a couple to make a week. As their popularity grew and business picked up, I had to change the lead time to 5-7 days. By this time, I'd stream lined my process and could do 6 or 8 in that time frame without really pushing it.

Popularity for the Travel Clutches, thankfully, continues to grow. And now I have added Portfolio clutches to the mix. I also have 2 new product patterns I'm working on and have NO intention of promising introduction dates for those items. Over the past 6 weeks, I've noticed that I'm working all the time. Mornings, nap times, late at night while everyone else sleeps and worst of all, weekends just to meet the 5-7 day lead time I have published.

I have a muted type A personality (meaning, I'm not a jerk) so I'm very goal oriented. My husband would say, overly goal oriented. If it's on my list of 'To Do's', it's getting done that day come hell or high water. I notice this is annoying in other people, so, you know, I'm working on it.

While I was freaking out over these lead times, my husband reminded me that it's my business, I can change it anytime I see fit. So, I am. I'm extending the lead time for a made to order Travel or Portfolio Clutch to 7-10 business days. I consider Monday - Friday as business days.

My husband is usually my voice of calm and reason but I tried very hard to ignore him this time around. It wasn't until I looked up the swim lesson schedule at our local YMCA that I realized I had to adopt the new policy now! I'd been promising to take A to swim lessons this summer. Summer is more than halfway over and I have only 2 more sessions available to take him. So, that's what I'm doing. Taking my baby to swim lessons.

Sometimes it helps to put things into perspective. Why did I open OSD? Yes, I had great, marketable idea , but primarily, my desire to have my own business was to help relieve the financial burden from my husband.  Tying for first place, was my desire to ensure, at all costs, I DID NOT have to go back to work and leave my child to be cared for by someone other than his parents.

I'm not knocking 2 income parents AT ALL. When my 12 weeks of maternity leave were up, I had to go back to work too. I worked until A was 7mths old. We didn't have a choice. I was very, VERY, lucky in that my mother-in-law or sister-in-law could watch A at my house during the week. I mean, really, how spoiled could I have been? But not a day went by when I did not cry and pray and beg for God to provide a way for me quit my job and stay at home with my baby. I'm not being melodramatic, I just knew God had placed that desire in my heart. Prior to getting pregnant with A, I would never have considered staying at home. I just assumed that I would go back to work. When I saw his little face the day his was born, I knew I'd never be happy anywhere but home with him.  I also knew that if God placed that desire in my heart, He'd be faithful in providing a way for me to stay at home. It's a long story, but He did provide a way. And then He provided me an idea to supplement our income. And then He blessed that idea and has continued to bless it in ways unimaginable to me when I first started this business.

I didn't mean to get on my soap box. But it really all boils down to, if God provided me a way to stay at home and nurture my family, but I have gotten caught up in the means of His providing and ignored my family, then what's the point? So I am going to take my munchkin to swim lessons, and watch TV with my husband after dinner, and play outside and help in the garden on Saturdays like I use to, and not rush everybody home from Church on Sundays so I can get orders completed. And I believe that God will continue to bless this business; this idea He gave me. I will be faithful to Him as He has been faithful to me. It's the least I can do.

Alright, soapbox time over. New lead time is 7-10 business days. It will probably be shorter. I can't help being an over achiever.

P.S. While typing this, I had the joy of watching a blond squirrel stare back at me through my dining room window while balancing on the fence. If I don't let myself think about the possibility of said squirrel getting in my attic and chewing through my electrical wires or taunting my basset hound to bark all night long, I can enjoy how cute she is.

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