Friday, December 2, 2016

This Lesson Took A Couple Of Years To Learn

In 2014 and 2015, we participated in quite a few events with a full Bodacious Biscuit Love setup. Last summer, we had an event booked almost every weekend. In addition, we hosted a Bodacious Yard & Bake Sale in the summer and fall. It was a lot of work. This year, we scheduled one event. Whiskers In Wonderland. That'll be happening on December 4th. It's a 3 hour event and this year, we have two tables. One for biscuits. One for baked goods.

At the beginning of the week, I spent 2 days baking homemade dog biscuits. Total time baking was close to 20 hours. You'd think that would yield a ton of biscuits, but it didn't. We can only bake 1 cookie sheet of biscuits at a time. Bake time for each cookie sheet is 22 minutes. I get about a bag and a half of biscuits per cookie sheet.

For some reason, I was hyper aware of just how long it takes to get ready for a single event. That probably had a lot to do with it being a year since our last event.

Whiskers In Wonderland 2015.

After 2 days of baking and spending an entire afternoon packaging biscuits and making holiday biscuit love bundles, I came to a complete halt.

Almost 3 days of prep for a single, 3 hour event. And that was just for homemade dog treats. Tomorrow, I'll start baking for the bake sale table at 7 a.m. and who knows when I'll be done with that process. Currently, I am behind with work and blog stuff.

I'm thinking this was epiphany of sorts. 

With this hyper awareness, I realized that our decision to no jump at every chance presented to us to participate in an event this year was a good one. In the past, there have been numerous events that we've participated in and we haven't done that well. At the time, I felt guilty about being disappointed with the outcome, but now, not so much.

Here's why...

If I spend the majority of 3 days prepping for an event, it needs to be worth that amount of time. In other words, at the end of the day, especially if it's a 5+ hour event, if we walk away carrying most of what we arrived with, it's not worth it.

That's the reality of it.  

Three days of preparation. Set up. The time spent at the event. Donating a raffle basket that retails at least $40. Take down. Having to catch up with work stuff. On top of that, if the event is too long, I stay home with the kids. That's double the workload for Lisa the day of the event.

If the traffic at the event is slow and we walk away selling only a dozen bags of biscuits, that doesn't benefit us in the least bit or promote our mission. We actually lose money. And, with us running out of pocket most of the time after 3 years, we can't afford to do that.

Slow traffic can be the result of several things. Location. Date. Lack of advertising and promoting. Weather. 

Whiskers In Wonderland is one event that we've always done well at. It's run by some rather incredible people. The travel time is less than 30 minutes. Lots of people attend. All animals are welcomed. It's our 3rd year participating in this event.

The amount of work it takes to get ready for this event is well worth it. 

In early spring of this year, when I noticed we didn't have a single event booked, I thought I would miss it. I also thought it would have a negative impact on what we've done, what we're continuing to do, and all of the changes we made and will be making. However, none of that happened.

All of this makes me think about the upcoming 2017 event season. I'm fairly certain we won't be locking in a table at any event except for Whiskers In Wonderland 2017. That's an even we'll always commit to.

Between the changes we're making, expanding, and everything between, it's too much of a gamble. The 3 days it takes to prepare for an event and all the time and effort involved doesn't guarantee we'll come out ahead at the end.

Some lessons take longer to learn than others.

This one took a couple of years.

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