August 22, 2023

My Couch

It reclines, which is certainly a nice feature.

Well, it used to recline.

It's only six years old. The latch keeps breaking. The mechanism was poorly designed. It broke. A repair man that frightened the living daylights out of me fixed it (imagine hot rage from a stranger in your living room during the repair because the repair was not going well). I found a different repair person. He fixed it and said "when this one breaks, it's over ... they don't make the mechanism anymore". That was back in June.

Every day in August you could feel the thing breaking. You just crossed your fingers and hoped for the best ... until Saturday, when it finally gave up for the third time.

One of our loyal readers recently emailed me ... lamenting how their business model felt broken. After exchanging emails, the person just sort of gave up ... if it's broken, let's just milk what works for as long as we can.

Growing up, there was a drive-in eatery on the outskirts of town ... The Penguin! They served phosphates. I'd ask my parents what those were? I was told the beverages were popular in the 1950s. It was the 1970s. The business model was broken, and they were lumbering along regardless. After all, it was the home of the Big Penny!

The Penguin is not there anymore, FYI.

Oh, it took several decades for the thing to crumble down.

If you are not actively rebuilding every aspect of your business, you are in the process of crumbling down. Just like my couch. I can keep sitting on it ... broken. Or I can choose to make a change. My knees tell me that a change is coming.

In some ways, 2020 - 2022 put everything on hold. Folks had to figure out how to work from home, they had to figure out how to deal with supply chain shortages, they had to figure out how to raise prices in a way that protected the business without greatly offending the customer.

Many things broke during this timeframe. It was easy to ignore everything that broke, because the urgency of other issues overshadowed minor breakdowns.

Well, we're headed to 2024 and now the foundation of many businesses is crumbling. 2024 almost has to be a rebuilding year ... in so many ways. It can't end up being like my couch.

P.S.: If you are in Manitowoc, stop by Late's and enjoy a perch fry. Now, this is the point in the story where somebody will parse the difference between The Penguin and Late's and say "there's no difference, Late's is still in business, so all is good" ... which of course is utter nonsense. Late's is located next to a park which sits along a beach on Lake Michigan. If you're gonna go the old school route, there has to be a catch ... an exception ... something to complement the old school route.

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