…was a big day
…was a milestone in a new venture
…was the beginning of something special
…was the grand opening of Iorio’s Gelateria in Ann Arbor, our 2nd gelateria location in Michigan (not sure about this Iorio’s Gelateria…check out this video below of me telling our story at Entre-SLAM).
Today is a special day for me. Exactly one year ago today we opened Iorio’s Gelateria numero due, number two, in Ann Arbor. I wrote a bit about some of the highlights over the year, for the store, on our Iorio’s blog.
In the past year I have learned a lot about myself, as an individual, leader, & learner. In particular,
- Working with a great team is freaking awesome! I am so blessed with a great team at Iorio’s. Sure we are picky about hiring & only hire the best & the brightest, but it’s more than that.
- Culture is crucial. Related to working with a great team. Our team thrives because of our culture…it’s open, it’s fun, it’s consistent, & it’s clear. I about shed a tear when someone on the team handed over “Iorio’s Commandments” he wrote which embodied our culture to a tee. Our team gets it. It’s alive. It’s real. It’s real sweet.
- Shit hits the fan. Our freezer broke. We ran out of gelato. Gelato melted. We ran out of spoons, cups, napkins, you name it. Our building even set on fire.
- Family businesses aren’t all that bad. My brother is my business partner in this venture. He is amazing. I am so proud of him. I couldn’t do this without him. I think he knows that. But in case he didn’t I just stated it publicly on the internet. And since everything on the Internet is true, well, there you have it. We often get asked how it is to work with each other & it works out really well. His strengths are my weaknesses & vice versa. I believe this experience has brought us closer. I also think fights/arguments/disagreements are even better as related business partners…because at the end of the day we still love each other. No matter how much we disagree about something. It all works out in the end.
- One person can’t do everything. Delegate! As soon as I removed myself as the filter in processes things started really cranking. Sure there were some bumps & lessons to learn along the way, but I’m pretty sure I was the bottleneck in getting some things done quicker. Delegate became my new favorite word. Spending my time on activities that were more value add for me to do & delegating activities that I shouldn’t spend my time on was critical. Critical for me. Critical for the business. Critical for the team.
- People rise to the occasion. Smart people like to be challenged. Challenge them. Sometimes your expectations will be blown away. This is another reason not to fear delegation.
- Perfection isn’t necessary. We opened our store with no seating. No tables. No chairs. Very simple. Enough to get us in business. Not typical for a retail store like ours. We got some negative remarks on Yelp. We knew there was more coming & we wanted to get open asap so we could start generating some cash-flow. The few negative reviews were worth it, to get product out there quickly, test out our service, our systems & processes. ”Lean startup” for retail aka just good business sense.
- Sleep is important. Get it. For the first several months I didn’t. It catches up to you…trust me.
- Be thankful. Some days are hard. There are highs & lows…always. It’s the life of an entrepreneur. Enjoy the process & be thankful for everything because it always comes with a lesson if you pay attention.
It’s been a wild ride & I’m excited to keep on the wave with a great team. Here’s to year due!!
Vive la dolce vita! / Live the sweet life!
mel, the venture gal
p.s. if you’re in the area, please stop by & say “ciao”!!