This is the time of year – between Thanksgiving and the year end – when I feel the need to reflect on what has taken place over the past year. I started by putting myself in the mindset of where I was 12 months ago. We were running our business out of our house. My youngest child had left for college in September but the busy-ness of our growing business helped fill the void left in his absence. He returned for a short visit in late December when I had designs on converting his bedroom into an office after he went back to school after Christmas. We had put our pool table in the basement up for sale on Craig’s List to make room for office furniture and our expanding team. We had just hired our third employee (Matt) and we were starting the search for an accountant.
Aquaponics in 2013 has been a year of building our company from the inside out. We’ve gone from being a “mom and pop” operation being run out of our basement and garage to something more real and tangible. Hiring employees (8 so far) has done that. Moving the business out of our home and into 7,600 sq. feet of commercial space this summer did that even more. “Work” has now become a place we travel to. It has become an ecosystem of people and delivery trucks and phone numbers and office supplies and other stuff like rubber floor mats, sponges, mops and toilet paper that you don’t ever consider as part of building a business.
This was the year that we started selling through others via our affiliate program, our wholesale program and Amazon. We started and ended our experiment with EBay, deciding that it was more trouble and expense than it was worth. Live and learn.
With our new space, this was the year that we started teaching our own classes after years of teaching for others. We had a surprising amount of fun and success with our first weekend Immersion class (taught on premises) and are so looking forward to filling 2014 classes with aquaponics enthusiasts from all over the country.
This was the year that we established our grow-lab and AquaBundance show room. We now have a place where anyone can just drop in and see aquaponics in action. And it feels like we have taken a step up toward honoring our commitment to to advance home aquaponics through testing and science.
All in all, this was a good year for us. There were some ideas we tried that did not work out as we had hoped but we just filed them in the “Lessons Learned” category. Those, and the many successes, have shaped our plans for an exciting 2014. I look forward to seeing you there on the other side of what I hope is a wonderful holiday for you and yours!