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What I Learned in 2006

    • 234 posts
    December 29, 2006 5:39 AM EST
    In 2006 I learned to trust my gut and my ability to improvise.

    Earlier this year I purchased a 64 foot long conveyor belt oven for our bakery on eBay. Carol and I made a visit to Chicago to assess how long it would take and how much help we`d need to disassemble and ship it. We had access to the building from 9 to 5, Monday to Friday only. Not that I`d ever done anything like this before, but my gut said three days, three helpers and one 48 foot flatbed.

    At 9am Wednesday morning of moving week we arrived to start the job. I gave Carol a scraper and a hammer and set her to work removing 40 years of accumulated paint from screw heads. The guys we bought the oven from just shook their heads in disbelief. I started removing the stainless steel mesh belt, wrapping it around a steel pipe like a 500 pound spool of ribbon. Then I marked and removed trim and other small parts.

    At 9am Thursday morning our three helpers arrived. I set them to work unbolting the 20 foot long sections of the oven. On Thursday afternoon we found some rusted bolts that we couldn`t get loose. I got on Yahoo and found a welder only 6 miles away. When I called he said "I can be there first thing tomorrow morning." I said "tomorrow morning is too late. I need you this afternoon." He said "I`ll be there in half an hour." By the end of the day all the sections were apart and ready to go out the door.

    Friday morning the flatbed is parked outside the building on Montrose Avenue, a very busy city street. Our three helpers arrive. Our plan is to pick up each oven section with a forklift at each end and roll it out the door. When we get to the street a person stops traffic in each direction. We`ll roll the section into the street and along side the trailer, set it down and one forklift will come in from the side, lift it and set it onto the trailer. The first time we do this Carol is standing in the street waving a red tee shirt like a flag and the first car waiting in line is a Chicago police officer. He didn`t say a word. Our confidence level is building. One section was loaded just as planned. There were two more big sections and a ton of smaller parts. By 5pm Friday everything was out the door and loaded on the flatbed with not a square foot to spare.

    As they left the building, the guys we bought the oven from just shook their heads in disbelief. Later Carol told me what one of them said. "If we had him working for us we`d still be in business." I consider that about the best compliment I`ve received all year. Any time things get difficult I remember what that man said and look for a way to make it happen.

    • 1 posts
    December 11, 2006 12:05 PM EST

    I learned to slow it down, remove the clutter in my life and focus on my family.  Anyone with kids needs to read the book `Last Child in the Woods - saving our children from nature-deficit disorder`.  In the end, whether you are a kid building a tree house or an adult building a business, its critical to drop the hammer a few times from twenty feet and deviate from your plans once in awhile.  I took myself a lot less seriously this year and remember what was learned by building tree houses as a kid.

    • 37 posts
    December 19, 2006 9:01 AM EST

    I learned to:

    1) Listen  to my gut.  It never leads me astray.  A

    2) Take the time to hire those independent contractors and to do a test project with them before signing on for a significant amount of time.

    3) Ask lots of questions about any contract and include my own interpretation and requirements before signing it.

    4) When you see a potential business partnership, don`t be afraid to ask.  Even if someone tells you no, it was worth at least asking.

    5) Always budget 25% more than something is projected to cost.

    6) Never give up. 

    truegenius2006-12-19 15:3:40

    Tammy Graham, Founder & CEO, True Genius Apparel Company: fitting your personality; "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."

  • PDW
    • 16 posts
    December 25, 2006 8:29 AM EST

    In the short time that I have been both a SUN member and an aspiring entrepreneur I have read some great posts and I am grateful to have found a forum for those of us who have the courage and the conviction to strike out for ourselves. 


    The #1 thing I have learned in 2006 is that I want a better life for my children.  My sons have given me a new perspective on how I wish to live my life and how I want to conduct my businesses.  I look forward to a healthy and wonderful 2007.  It`s going to be a GREAT year!!! 

    PDW2006-12-25 14:30:14

    Regards, Warren Endes Owner/Operator