As of Fall 2021, Duncan & Stone Paper Co. is officially two years old! There have been plenty of ups and downs along the way the last few years. Our team of 4 owners/founders have absolutely loved the journey of a start-up.
Most definitely there have been challenges, and great victories along the way. Overall, we are extremely proud of the products we have put into the world and the brand we are building.
As small business owners, we are living the challenges day to day. Below are 5 key things to encourage those out there currently doing your own thing, or those dreaming of starting your own thing:
- One thing at a time. There are always a million of things on the small business to do list. Always, everyday. What we have tried to do is prioritize the most important things, and then knock them out one task at a time. Building something takes time. Don't be overwhelmed by the magnitude of work or the massive task list, but focus on completing the one item in front of you!
- Celebrate small victories. This is an absolute must for a small start-up. Set goals, set milestones, go for it .... then CELEBRATE when you hit those goals! For us, we have made it a priority to meet at least monthly as a team to discuss small wins. It keeps morale high along the way and hopefully produces gratitude and joy.
- Be yourself. Don't try to act like someone you aren't. For Duncan & Stone, we are focused on staying in our lane. We aren't doing things just like some of our competitors because we want to have our own voice and personality. The more unique you are, the more you stand out from other businesses. You have to figure out what you do best, and stick to that...
- Profit first. It is extremely important to keep things like profit and cash flow top of mind as you are starting out! You don't want to look at the business after a year and realize you haven't made any money... If you are looking for some good reading on this, check out this book. Constantly look at the business to make sure you are profitable!
- Be diligent and grind! Doing anything that means something takes effort and work. No doubt about that! Keep pushing the ball forward. One day at a time. And over time you will start to see results!
Being a small business owner is difficult. Very difficult. Nobody said it would be easy, right?!?
Most of the time I feel like we are living a real life story of the "Michael Scott Paper Co" from The Office. I absolutely love this clip and how it highlights some of the real challenges that face a new endeavor.