A few years ago, we took a hard look at North Texas Kids magazine and at Scissortail Publishing, our parent company. It was time for a new business plan! We focused on where we were financially, philosophically and strategically. This is a process we undergo at least once a year during normal times and when we are paying attention, several times a year. At this particular point in time, we realized that we had been so busy going through the motions of our day-to-day operations that we had lost sight of the bigger vision for our business, our lives and our families.
When I started North Texas Kids nine years ago, I was looking for something fun and creative to do that would get my mommy mind out of the mushy, foggy state it was in and get me out of the house more often. I realized I desperately needed more intellectual stimulation in my life, but I didn’t want to go back to work full time, either. Of course, some extra income would be nice, too. Telecom was bottoming out and we didn’t know if my husband would come home with a pink slip and a severance package. He watched so many others get laid off during this period and it was scary and stressful for both of us. Long story short, I started Scissortail Publishing and launched a quarterly magazine. Fast forward about 6 years and I now had a monthly magazine with 50,000 copies in circulation, a staff of 8, a lot of overhead, an office and a great team of women helping me grow this business. But I also had a lot of stress, struggle and emotional turmoil.
I started my business so that it would fit my lifestyle, not the other way around and for several years, the business seemed like it was running me! So, I gathered my core team of 4 and hired a business strategist, my good friend Kathy Garland, to come spend an Sunday afternoon with us. We needed time away from the office and we needed our kids to be comfortable and have a place to hang out. It was like old times before I had an office. We gathered around my kitchen table with giant Sticky note pads, lots of colored markers and open minds and hearts. So here we are, five adults and half a dozen kids. The kids were in our guest room watching movies and snacking, or at least we thought they were in their just watching t.v.
I had worked with Kathy Garland before on sales strategy, training and branding. She is brilliant at asking tough questions and helping business owners get to the heart of who they are and what they want their company to stand four. So we plunged right in and for several hours worked and talked about how far we had come from the initial vision of the company and about where we could see it going over the next few years and what roles each of the team members wanted to play in our growth and success. I will never forget Heidi’s analogy about where we were in that moment, It’s like we have been digging a ditch for two years, focused, with our heads down and every once in a while we poke our heads out to make sure the world is still out there. Well, that ditch-digging mentality was burying us and for me personally, pulling me away from my kids and family.
So, we talked, we laughed, we planned, we dreamed. Then we stopped to take a break for lunch, surprised that our kids weren’t bugging us for more food. We went to call them for lunch and found them excitedly huddled up on the couch, WRITING BUSINESS PLANS!!! This is no joke, they had each prepared an entire business plan for companies they wanted to start. A couple I remember were having a lemonade stand in a high-traffic area like a Saturday at White Rock Lake, a leaf raking business and a pet sitting service. They had thought out many of the details, how-to’s and who they would contact first.
I think we were all floored at the time and very impressed. It was never our conscious intention to raise entrepreneurs but here we were being presented with the brilliant outcome of what we were MODELING! One of the many hats I wear is as a Certified Coach for Parents. I teach other parents about the power of modeling rather than teaching or disciplining our children. I am here to witness how powerful this is, I see it daily in my own kids. We were so proud of them that day and we even became of the first clients for the pet sitting and leaf raking businesses. We invested in a lemonade stand. We worked on budgets and pricing. All the things we did for our business, we helped them do.
I didn’t start a business thinking I was doing it for my kids or that it was about my kids. What I have realized is that they are incredibly proud of me and what I have created and that as a working mom, I am proud of me, too. I don’t always get it right. I don’t always spend enough time with them or my husband. But at the end of the day, I am aware of what’s going on. I pay attention to what is happening around me and try to make it better. We now have family-strategy planning sessions, just like we do for our business. I try to keep my head out of the ditch more often than I am in that ditch. And I love seeing the adults my children are growing into “ confident, well-spoken, motivated and excited about life!