People over the years have always asked how business is going. At first you could see that look in their eyes, the one that really asks the question "Are you guys going to make it?". Over time, people continued to ask how business was doing, but instead of note of concern, it became more of an air joyful anticipation. Our friends and customers had begun to share the joy of watching us grow.
At the end of 2008, when the economy tanked and people first began to panic, we saw many small business close their doors, and we saw slower sales during what has been historically our most prosperous time of year.
The concern on our friends faces returned, and we at the Jasmine Pearl began to brace ourselves for a challenging 2009.
Surprisingly, 2009 arrived without drama. Instead it came with a flood of new business. We scratched our heads in early February assuming that it was entirely a fluke. After all, how could we be doing so well when others were struggling to get by?
February passed, and again we did more growth than ever before.
We have ushered this new prosperity in with a feeling of deep gratitude for our friends and customers. We are humbly aware that without all of them The Jasmine Pearl not be where it is today.
Beyond counting our blessings, we have done some real soul searching on what has gotten us to this place and how we can continue to grow during an economic recession.
Here are some things that we have done to keep thriving:
1) Continuing Education - We are constantly reading tea industry news, listening to our suppliers, and growing our knowledge base with volumes of tea books, and classes. It keeps us interested, focused and deeply connected to what we do...blending great teas!
2) Homework - When we are not reading about tea, we are usually reading about marketing or small business management. Sounds boring huh? It can be, until we realized that our livelihood depended on it. There is a wealth of information out there from people who have failed and people who have succeeded. It seems foolish not to learn from other people expertise.
3) Running a Tight Ship - For us that has always been about watching our sales and expenses closely. It means always staying current on our bookkeeping. Accounting is the most loathed part of most small business owners existence, but I have always gotten a sense of peace knowing exactly where we stand financially (even if it we were losing money).
4) Communication - We love our customers, we love our vendors. and we always try to let them know. This is helpful when we make mistakes or we need something out of the ordinary from a supplier. Everyone is much more obliging, when you show respect and gratitude for the things that they do for you.
Yours in tea... H.