Seven Years Later.....What I Have Learned About Owning a Small Business

It's hard to believe that tomorrow is Meza's 7th anniversary since we opened the doors! In some ways it has flown by and in other ways it's hard to remember what it was like prior to Meza being open, seems like it has been around forever. Being a small business owner has been one of the most challenging, rewarding, tumultuous, un nerving, and exciting things I have ever done. I feel like we are constantly learning something new everyday, and gaining more and more footing with each passing year. We don't know exactly what the future holds for us and we hope that Meza will continue to evolve and grow. Just a few thoughts on what I feel like we have learned with this experience. 

1. Passion and stubborn pride helps get you past the difficult times.

There have been so many times that things have been hard during the last seven years. In particular, early on when we first were getting things up and running and were uncertain of our exact direction. I have to say what I truly believe keeps us at it during those times has been sheer determination due to our stubborn pride. Not wanting to give up because we made this decision and we were going to see it through no matter what. No one wants to fall on their face, right? However, our passion for wine, for small business, for the community and for our family has also been continued fuel. It is what makes the hard stuff seem so worth while.

2. You cannot be everything to everybody.

This is coming from a not very thick skinned person who has had to learn this over and over again. With starting a business, you are in a sense putting yourself out there. Your ideas, your passions, and your "trials and errors" out there for everyone to see but also for customers to "experience".  There will be suggestions and conversation around which direction you should take your business. I think it is vital to any business to adapt and change as the world around them changes, and to listen to what customers are telling you. But you cannot be everything to everybody. You cannot be a destination for everyone. While it is good to embrace change and adapt, its also SO very important to stay true to your passions. You may end up with a slightly smaller customer base but what you are able to offer those customers will be that much greater.

3. Surround Yourself with Passionate People Who Truly Care About Your Business

One of the hardest things I have experienced with running Meza was learning how to work by myself. No boss to give you guidance. No co workers to pat your back and tell you it was a job well done. It really becomes about believing in yourself, having conviction in your decisions and knowing that if something doesn't work out, you try different avenues until you see results. Well, that is a lot of damn work! However, no one can do it all themselves. It literally takes a village. We have had to lean on so many friends, babysitters and family members for support.  I have been so lucky to have found people to team up with that are truly as passionate about Meza as we are. Leaning on them for their areas of expertise and knowledge has been key. Knowing when to let go has been important. Finding just anyone to fill a gap is not going to work. It is so personal. Finding people that are just that perfect fit is what makes a business like ours run and what keeps us afloat.

4. How do you measure success? Its all about tradeoffs

Success is a hard thing to measure. Maybe its how much money you make. Or what title you carry at your job. Maybe its the benefits you receive from your particular employer. Maybe its time and flexibility with your family and your schedule. 

My friend and I always have this conversation. There are tradeoffs in life. It is easy to be envious of someone elses paycheck or status. Or to wish you could strike off on your own. There have been days where I have played the "what if" game, thinking where I would be now in my career had I chosen a different path. How much money would I be making now? Those are the days I have to take a minute to really look at what Meza means to our family. I see all the amazing people I have met through this experience, people that have become like family to us,  and to look at the flexibility it has allowed me with my kids to know that success has many different forms and life is all about tradeoffs. 

So there it is. The little bit that seems to resonate with me on a day to day basis. Jason and I are so grateful for the last seven years and we look forward to continuing to grow Meza and to continue to develop it as a unique wine destination. Thanks to all those who have been a part of the journey!

Cheers!

Tatjana