“WOW” JoAnn what a great product you and your husband have created. Let me start out by saying what you guys are experiencing is not uncommon for all new start-ups “Growing Pains” From what you have shared here I don’t think there is one simple answer, but there are answers, so don’t give up on your dream.
From my 33 years of owning multiple businesses and my new found love of businesses coaching I would highly advise you guys to take a step back at this point. Take a day off, go to a park and walk and relax, take in a (cheap) dinner and brainstorm. Like the old saying goes “sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees” I think it applies to you and your husband. You have a great product and a good start, everything is going to be OK, now refine and sharpen your skills.
You’re going further mentality in not a answer. I think you have other options not explored or if explored not in detail. Let’s start with your need for funds. It’s clear you have exhausted all creditable means of raising funds and then some. But allow me to ask some questions. Have you explored liquidating your investment real estate, is there any profits there if sold, this works? If no, have you looked at selling it for a higher price and owner financing it? Most laws will not let you “Owner Finance” if you have a mortgage balance but almost all will allow you to do a do a Lease Purchase or Contract for Deed. What this can do is create additional funds and income, right now. You can ask a much higher price for the home and require a good cash down payment in addition to the interest rate which will be high because you’re being the bank help someone that can not get a loan other wise. you will still own the home on paper and all these additional funds can be used to support your Sweet Dream Beds. And the best part is, the funds do not have to be paid back. Another option I see is downsizing, home, autos ect. Reduce any dept not supportive of your business.
From your web site I see you’re in a commercial building have you explored moving into a much small building until production warrant a larger space? Can you move it into your garage at home and maybe place a portable storage building for holding your supplies, using your garage space for production only? I know all this is not ideal, but you have stated you’re willing to make hard choices.
Another issue is your marketing, you have a great product and a great web site but you can’t do a common search of (custom made children beds) and find you, I didn’t, and I went through 5 pages, and the industry says if you cant be found in the first 3 pages your wasting your time. A good web site with good honest and credible information that may help you in this area is www.coffeecup.com they explain the most productive ways to list your site. I have nothing to do with them other than being a fan of good honest, legitimate information. Your web site is hidden you need to fix that.
Another area you should look at is your 6-8 weeks production time, is there any room for improving that without sacrificing quality? Can Jigs and Templates be made for common sized parts? Can templates be made for your art work? You see where I’m going with that. Anything that will reduce your production time will save you money, thus increasing your funds and making your business stronger.
My next suggestion is to simplify your ordering process, its great you suggest a phone conservation, but I feel you are asking much to involvement of your customers, I don’t have any real answer for you in this arena not knowing your process, But I would advise you to take note of the number one rule in business “Make it easy for your customers to do business with you” maybe your webmaster can come up with a interactive way to simplify the task of blueprinting a room.
Another suggestion, have you looked at adding more products that complement with your main product? Maybe, custom made under the bed, toy storage? Simple toy boxes with colorful themes, window treatment, wall boarder templates that match the beds? even toys. A great source of buying toys and children items or any item for that matter can be found at www.worldwidebrands.com. You could start selling smaller related items and have them dropped shipped without any capital outlay creating a new support income. Again, I have nothing to do with this company other than my appreciation of good honest, legitimate information.
I can go on and on JoAnn but I think you and your husband have a world of options not explored because of your mind set of borrowing funds to survive. You do not have your backs to the wall. Take a step back, relax, go to dinner (just keep it cheap) you guys are going to make it to the top in a big way, just don’t give up, take little steps, and one of them will catapult you, I promise. Good Luck. Leon Steward CEO The Steward Group Inc.
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them
pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened." -Sir Winston Churchill