After 2 1/2 years of waiting and wondering, we finally got to see "The Great Buck Howard" ("The Craziest Story", July 2006). It's due to be released in theatres on March 20, but you can watch it on VOD right now.
We knew it was a long shot - we didn't pay for the product placement in the movie, so we knew that the gifts could be cut; we knew that it was a struggle to find a distributer for the movie and get it released, and we knew that our contact at Walden Media wasn't involved in the final editing.
As it turns out, a couple of our baskets are in the movie - but they are not identified in any way. The part with the delivery person wearing our apron did not make the final cut. The gifts are in the background of a couple scenes, but nobody but us would know they came from our company.
We're not really as disappointed as we thought we would be....there was such a lag between when we did this project and seeing the end results, that it's just not a big deal anymore - kind of anticlimactic. We were chatting about it after we watched it, and we realized that a lot of really positive things came out the experience:
1. We developed a much better way to ship our gifts - they arrive in better condition than they used to, and we eliminated the use of styrofoam packing peanuts (which we hated - and I'm sure everyone else did too)
2. We started rethinking our gift designs, and it sparked new ideas for our standard website gifts
3. We streamlined our operations and worked on becoming more efficient. It started us on a path of continuous improvement.
4. It got us through some dark times. We went through a phase a couple of years ago where we both got really burned out and lost a lot of the passion we have for this business. Knowing that we had a possible "big break" coming up kept us going.
5. It prompted us to start this blog
6. When I flew out to California so that I could hand deliver the gifts to Premier Entertainment in L.A., I stayed with my uncle' and his family, who I don't get to see very often, and I spent some really good one on one time with my aunt Leslie. Within a year of my visit Leslie was diagnosed with cancer and passed away. If not for this unusual opportunity, it would have been years since I had seen her; I'm incredibly grateful for that time.
Was it a mistake? I don't think so...it was a really interesting experience. If you don't take a risk once in while, you don't get a chance to reap the rewards. No regrets!
And now? Well, we have some really good things cooking with the business.
Last year I hired 2 employees to help out with the day to day operations of the store, in preparation for me beginning another career. I just wasn't interested in doing this anymore. But a funny thing happened....
In training my new employees how to do everything I do, I began creating an operations manual, something I've been putting off for years. It was really important to me that customers who were used to dealing with me got the same consistant experience when talking to one of the girls. I came up with training exercises and quizes. I was forced to think about exactly how I wanted every task performed and to document it - which is a very good thing.
Once Jenny and Laura became a little more self sufficient, I was able to tackle some nagging projects that I just hadn't had the time to deal with before, and it felt good. One thing led to another, and pretty soon I realized that I was really enjoying my business again. Freeing myself up from performing every single task myself allowed me to focus on big picture planning, which is what, as the owner, I SHOULD be doing. I read "E-Myth" years ago (work ON your business not IN it), but it took preparing to leave my business for me to really do it.
That other career I was planning? On hold indefinitely. The enthusiasm I had for this in the beginning is back, plus some.
We have some big changes coming up in the next few months - stay tuned, we'll be announcing the details very soon!
Labels: product placement, The Great Buck Howard