Everything You Missed From Drink and Learn Stuff
This quarter at Brewing Up Business: Drink and Learn Stuff we went full apocalyptic. We drank moonshine, tossed our name tags and sported our survival skills instead, and talked Good Times, Bad Times in business. By most measures, the business economy is good right now. So how much planning or thought should we put toward the next down economy (without behaving like a bunch of fearful conspiracy theorists)?
We also tried something new that we’re calling Business Row. We were lucky to have a few fun businesses play along with us in the form of raffles, and the raffle prizes were pretty awesome: a gift basket from Tahoe Blue Vodka, a full product line from Full Circle, and more moonshine.
We were lucky to have panelists with both stinging and successful memories of the Great Recession that they were enthusiastic to share.
- Denise Barcomb
Grocery Gangster – Owned a successful 7-11 during the recession.
- Chris McQuattie
Small Biz Banker – Even as bankers were seen as villains during the recession, Chris didn’t give up.
- Randi Reed
Business Badass – Randi was a Las Vegas marketing maven during the recession and is now the owner of a custom furniture business, Haus of Reed.
What We Learned
We were drinking and learning ourselves, here’s what we picked up from the panelists.
Watch those habits. After years of business improving and the cloudy 2008 economy clearing up to a blue sky, it can be tempting to get back into bad business habits. One panelist (we don’t remember who) called this “downturn amnesia”, when things start looking bright and sunny so we get a little lazy with cash flow habits. This can happen the other way too, though. As another panelist pointed out, it can be hard to let go of that belt-tightening habit from difficult times. But when things are good, it’s important to loosen on up and take financial risks while the money is flowing.
Work hard AND smart. As a small business owner, there’s really no avoiding good-old hard work. You will work long days, and sometimes those days will feel like they were for nothing, but if too many days feel like the hard work is for nothing, then you may need to implement more operations that allow you to work smarter (i.e. more efficiently). The age old saying “work smarter, not harder” can be true in both a good economy and a bad one, and finding the balance between hard work and smart work is necessary for longevity as a small business.
Business takes a support network. Our panelists all agreed that a great, resilient team and a solid support network are crucial to success through those rocky economic times. Running a small business requires constant learning and adapting, and when it seems like the only consistent thing in your life is change, a support group and reliable team will keep your business grounded, no matter the weather.
Limeade and Moonshine is delicious. Seriously, it was so good. We never would have thought to try something other than beer, but this stuff made apocalyptic living feel more like a speakeasy. We like, we like.
Overall, we’d say this was our most successful quarterly event yet. It was so successful in fact, a former panelist spilled additional advice instead of beer, and a biz on Business Row gave away dirt in a golden bucket and it was a hit. We’re on our way up. Special thanks to:
- Battleborn Beer for providing the guest of honor: Beer.
- Cathexes for hosting our event for the third time in a row.
- EV pictures for capturing the event.
- High Mark Distillery for providing apocalyptic cocktails (inside secret: this Alaskan distillery has some big Reno new to come. Look out for their name …)
- Business Row for providing awesome raffles prizes: Tahoe Blue Vodka, Full Circle Soils & Compost, Down to Earth Compost, Wandering Wyld, Made in Nevada, Sandhill Dairy, and High Mark Distillery.
If you want to get involved in the next quarterly event as a Business Row, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org