There are many different types of business ownership. A business owner can be a passive owner, meaning that they have made the financial investment in the business but rely on a general manager to fully manage it. Or there is semi-passive ownership. This is where a business owner works part time in the business, yet still relies heavily on someone else to manage it. Finally, there are owner-operators who make the financial investment and work in the business day-in-and-day-out managing all aspects of its operations and having a daily presence. This is how Michelle & I have run Burst. As owner-operators.
With only one week to go with Burst as it is today, I thought it only fitting to share some thoughts as to what Burst has meant to us. And it has meant so many things.
Being able to turn a vision in to a reality has made us so proud. I recall us collaborating over the Christmas holiday in 2013 about the possibility of opening a spin studio in Cedar Rapids – our hometown. With Michelle living in Tampa, FL and me in Cedar Rapids, IA and both of us having full-time careers, we had a lot to figure out. Month-by-month then day-by-day, we did just that over the next 10 months.
As any entrepreneur can attest, making the decision to invest in a business is a big one. We worked tirelessly on our business plan. We developed and trademarked a business name, Burst Cycle. We secured our small business loan. We not only leased space, but completely designed and built it out in this brand new, up and coming strip mall called The Fountains. We did market research to ensure we brought the best possible “Burst” experience to our community; an experience that the big cities had but ours didn’t. We purchased & installed all of our equipment. We went live with our website and pre-sales. And we held our breath as we finally opened our doors on October 25, 2014. And we couldn’t have been prouder.
As our first 12 months flew by we experienced many things.
We were amazed that our business was financially supporting us through those first few months. Don’t most people need working capital to get through this period? We didn’t. And we were so proud.
We applied for and was down-selected to participate in the local women’s entrepreneurship competition called “Invest in She”. We were one of 6 female owned businesses that were down selected from over 40. WOW! What an accomplishment to go in front of local business investors to pitch our locally owned business to secure additional funding. And we did just that! What an honor and experience for us. And we were so proud.
Those same months, May/June 2015, we experienced our first month’s financial loss. How are we going to cover our bills? Where did all the clients go? What are we doing wrong? This is when we learned how seasonal our business is. Our clients still loved us, but they also enjoy outdoor sports and that’s where they went during the summer months. But they all said they can’t wait to start up again in the fall. But how do we cover our bills? We weren’t so proud then.
We learned that the clients do come back! They came back in force and we had wait listed classes, amazing feedback from survey’s, clients wanting to know if we’ll expand into Iowa City or even downtown Cedar Rapids. Wow! And we can pay our bills again and more! We thought we are on to something big here! And we were so proud.
Over the following years we learned many more things:
We learned that the seasonal cycle continues. In May/June 2016 it happened again. We truly felt that we couldn’t continue this so we decided we would close our doors after a mere 18 months, but then something miraculous happened. Our clients rallied and got 80+ people to sign up for monthly auto-pays so we didn’t have to close. Wow! We felt so blessed that our clientele base loved us that much and helped (or made) us stay open. And we were so proud.
We learned that things break down at the most inconvenient times. That clients come and go. That sometimes an instructor is late/doesn’t show up because their alarm didn’t go off. That businesses continuously cost money. That we can’t always make everyone happy no matter how hard we try. Yet, we handled each of these challenges as they came at us. And we are so proud.
We learned that we could give back to the community. We used our platform to host countless fundraisers and donate to countless others. We learned that through Burst, we could raise money to help medical advances, to help local families, and to bring awareness to important causes. And we are so proud.
We also learned that sometimes management doesn’t always agree. I know, I know. Those of you that know us think “how could Michelle & Stacie disagree”. We’ll let us tell you. We are both passionate. One likes to spend money and one doesn’t. Neither prefer mornings but someone has to cover it. And one definitely does not like cleaning. If one of us takes vacation, the other has double duty. Not easy when you both have full time jobs. There are many things to disagree on. But at the end of the day, we met all these challenges and came out stronger than before. And we are so proud.
We learned that we have the most amazing clientele base. True friendships were formed. Not only with us as owners but with each other. Clients cheered each other on during weight loss competitions, held each other accountable to show up, got to know each other’s families, celebrated birthday’s and graduations with one another, etc. We’ve experienced enough that we knew we had something special. And we are so proud.
We learned that our team of instructors are one-of-a-kind. Who would have thought that so many amazing people could find each other in one location and grow and learn from each other? We have taken girls trips to Chicago, celebrated each other and our business as a team, supported each other through life changes, and have truly become a family of our own. There may be 20+ years difference between some of us but when we get together we are all one. And with that comes so many laughs and so much fun. We so love each and every one of them. And we are so proud.
And most importantly we learned…
That we can do anything that we put our minds too. And so can you. Each of us have the ability to define what success means for us. And it can come in many different forms. For us, it’s the lives that have been touched by this concept of an idea that was formed in December 2013 and lasted for 5 years – Burst.
Life is a journey and ours has taken us in many different directions over the past 5 years. Kids grow up and they move. Full-time careers change. We’ve lost loved ones, yet have gained new ones. And many of our new loved ones are you, our instructors and clients, who have walked through our doors and made us smile and laugh through the years.
Thank you for touching our lives. We are so grateful to you.
And we are so proud.
XOXO….. Michelle & Stacie
FYI… I decided to use this platform so you can all stay in touch. …. Stacie