Friday, April 9, 2010

Small business owner

Hey all,

It's Friday, how bad can it be?

I am not feeling that good today (worn down), so if I say anything bad today, you can blame it on the terrible sleep I got because I was sweating all night.

Most of us are in the same boat. Small business owners.
I mean this is a tough thing. We do teeth for most of our day. Then, if you are like me, you spend quite a bit of your time writing up charts, making treatment plans, reading letters from specialists, writing letters to specialists, you know, general patient care.
I have to tell you that I probably spend 4 to 5 hours after work, after everyone is gone, doing my work. It is a small miracle if my desk is free of stuff to do.
And if it does get clean, it doesn't stay that way for long.

But lately it has been too much for one person to handle.
The outside of the office needs to be painted.
The illuminated sign is not working.
We are running in ad in a neighborhood directory.
And we just won a Sertoma Award for community involvement.

Okay four bad could it be.
Well if you know me, nothing is easy.
I will tell you about each of them.

Painting the outside of the office.
Well the last time the office was painted was over 15 years ago. And since then, we have changed our colors from a teal (yes, I said teal) to more warm tones like a tan and a brown.
We have changed the inside of the office to reflect this living-room feel. We changed our cards, and the last thing is to change the outside.
Well I went down to our local paint store and picked out what I thought was tan and brown and bought the pint-size cans to test the color on the building.
Should be no problem.
Well I put this stuff on the building, and it didn't look anything like what I wanted. Ten cans of paint later, I think I found what I was looking for.
Don't forget, I am the only one doing it.
I go to the paint store after work. I am up at 5:45 am, and I am at the paints store at about 5:45 pm. So it is a long day.
I come to work the next day, and in the middle of the day (I get 10 minutes between patients), and I went out and painted a 3ft x 3ft square with the new color.
I am convinced that the lighting in the paints store is not the same as outside.
So I finally get a color that I like, and then the staff comes outside and hates it.
Then my wife stops by for some reason or another and also hates it. Now I have 9 different opinions.
After all this (about a 3-week period), we all agree on a color, and I have to find a painter.

The sign.
I have a sign company that I have always worked with.
When I wanted to change the sign, I called them up and they did it.
When the sign needs to be fixed, they come out and do it.
I never have to question them or their bill.
But lately I have been not so happy with the way they are doing things.
They are getting a little sloppy, and I think their prices are going up.
For instance, my sign is not lighting up at night.
It is one of these signs that has four fluorescent bulbs on the inside, and it is on a photo sensor.
When it gets dark, it lights up.
The sign stopped working at night.
So I called them, and they sent me an estimate.
What would you think it would cost to come out and see what the problem was?
Now you are going to say I am cheap, and that is okay because I like to think that I am conscientious when it comes to spending money.
They wanted $180 to come look at the sign. They are 1 mile away.
They were going to change a ballast, which is the housing for the bulbs. The sign guy wanted $170 to replace a ballast. I have a light guy for the inside of the office, and he charges me $40 to change a ballast.
Then on the itemized estimate he is going to charge me $40 per bulb.
WHAT?!!! Are you freaking kidding me? The most expensive bulb at Home Depot is $8.
So guess what? Now my easy-peasy sign repair angle is kaput.
I now have to get on the phone and find another company.
More time out of my day.

Advertising in the neighborhood directory.
I am so leery of spending any money advertising right now.
But there are some things you just have to bite the bullet on. You have to be visible in a neighborhood that is 3 miles from your office, especially if there are about 3000 families in this neighborhood.
The directory is 170 pages. So if I put a half page ad in this directory, I might as well have a fire with my $400 and burn it. Who is going to see a half-page ad in this huge book? NO ONE.
So to me, the only feasible option was get a premium ad (cover, inside cover, something like that), which means the ad is going to be seen. The only problem is that a premium ad spot can only be a full page and it is $1800.
The guy called me a week later and told me that he could give me the inside cover and he could do it for $1300.
It is a 8x10 ad space. Now I don't know about you, but I don't run a lot of ads. So I didn't have an ad. So I had to make an ad. Now the directory people have ad people to help you but...
it still takes hours of emailing to try to get your message across without driving the ad person completely batty.
One of the great things with getting a premium spot is that it comes with a full-page editorial page somewhere else in the directory.
Well who do you think has to write the editorial? Yep, yours truly.

The president of the Sertoma Club comes in and tells me that my father and I have won the Service to Mankind award.
I was thrilled. He said the award ceremony is in June, but if I wouldn't mind putting together and essay that's "no big deal just a page and a half on how you serve the community."
Can I give the award back? Just don't make me write anything else.
No, I didn't say that, but it was funny that three days later I got an email from the president asking when I thought I would have that essay done by.
How about July?
No, I did it. That was another 6pm night.

All this is just a day in the life of a small business owner.
And the sad part is, once we take care of all of this...four more tasks will be in front of us.

We just have to take this in stride.
It is part of doing business.
I can't wait for the next four things. I hope they are as fun as the last four.

Have a good weekend,
I can't wait to get to bed,


Anonymous said...

Welcome to the club. You should try doing it when you have a building to maintain and have to collect the money from 6 other people to pay the bills for repairs and maintenance. That is fun too. At least you only have to account for yourself. But I do feel you pain.

Cosmetic Dentists Chandler said...

Welcome to the club John, but honestly 4-5 hours each day?

gatordmd said...

No 4-5 hours for the week. That is about 75 minutes a day.
4-5 hours a day....are you crazy?
Homey don't play that.

Thanks for the comments.
Looks like you have caught up on all your blog reading.
Hope you liked it.



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