Sunday, 10 May 2009

Happy birthday to me, from Tea

I wish I were penning this blog from a beach in the Bahamas. Alas I am not. It comes direct from my living room having spent Sunday morning dreaming up some weird and wonderful ideas on how to maximise opportunities at Tea. The reason for the brainstorm: Tea celebrated its 2nd birthday on Friday and amid all of the pats on the back and congratulatory hand shakes, there was a part of me which thought '2 years of planning and raising finance, 2 years since opening, several hundred sleepless nights, blood, sweat, almost tears and from what I can gather, more of the same to come'.

We always envisaged Tea as having the potential to span several areas within the world of tea with the teashops providing a showcase for our brand, products and ethos. To some degree this has worked with a number of opportunites coming our way as a direct result of having a high-street presence. I am not aware of another tea company with a high-street, online and retail offer. Having a high-street presence does however have its downside as it is a never-ending battle and drain on resources to keep ahead of the competition and ensure that consumers are spending their hard-earned cash with you. In addition to the customer element, there is staffing, health and safety, administrative duties etc. All of which conspire against your time and energy to ensure that outside of the teashop, there is little time to create the value and fulfil the potential that Tea has. In short, running a teashop in the current climate is pretty damn tough and exceedingly frustrating hence the Sunday morning brainstorming session.

If only a few hours on a Sunday morning were the panacea, we would have done it a long time ago. We do however have a clearer understanding of where we would like to get to and how we think we are going to get there. I say 'think' as from experience, regardless of how good the planning stage is, once plans get underway and are influenced by real life, they have a habit of changing quite radically from those highlighted at the outset. It is important to continuously review strategy, plans, goals and expectations, as they will change as time goes by. I suspect that moving Tea to the next stage will be as difficult as conception, inception and the first two years of business, which is why it important to try and enjoy the ride regardless of how choppy it may get.

Let's face it, if it were easy, everyone would be doing it.

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