Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Part Two Of The Bodacious Biscuit Love Evolution - The Not So Good Stuff
The theme for the past week has been evolution. If you missed the first 2 posts about that, you can catch up here and here. The other day, the focus was on all the good stuff that's happened over the past few years with Bodacious Biscuit Love. The good stuff trumps, what I call, the uncomfortable, not-so-good stuff. However, the good is is always accompanied with scattered things that are not-so-good and "teeters on being exceptionally frustrating, stressful and maddening." We've experienced some of this over the past few years. This post is going to address some of that. Honest. Upfront. In the raw.
I'll be the first to admit, I didn't want to include this post. What's the point, right? But, as I thought about it more and more, I thought, "Why not." To sit here and write that everything has been great and flawless would be a complete lie. Let's face it, nothing ever goes as planned, there are road blocks along the way, and, sadly, there people who try to make you look bad. Even more sadly, there are people who stoop to hitting beneath the belt and attempt to sabotage those who are trying to do good.
I would like to note, our intent is not to point fingers or call out specific people or organizations. We respect confidentiality and will not be doling out names of groups or individuals. However, if the shoe fits, wear it.
With that being said, here's some of the not-so-good stuff...
1. People can be mean. I know I already mentioned that people will try and make you look bad and hit beneath the belt, but I feel this area needs to be addressed. All the way around, it sucks and this is why we do not affiliate ourselves directly with any rescue groups or organizations. We've done that twice and, each time, learned our lesson the hard way. No matter how cordial and professional you are with separating yourself, it's often met with haste and retaliation. You go from having a large group of people who support you and don't miss an opportunity to tell everyone how awesome your biscuits are to a large group of people hating you and sabotaging your efforts.
2. We've been stiffed many times. In May of 2015 I wrote and published a post addressing people who have stiffed us. Back then, we were close to $400 of missing "payments." I use that term "payment" lightly as we're not a business. To date, we're well over $500. What this means is people have reached out to us, "ordered biscuits" and didn't follow through with their "payment." I get it. We're an easy target as we do not require people to "pay" before we send biscuits. We didn't think that, given what we do, people would stiff us. At the end of the day, this money comes out of our pocket...shipping and all.
3. People haven't followed through in other areas as well. We rely on shout outs to get the word out about what we do. We don't advertise. The only thing we have is this blog, our Bodacious Biscuit Love Facebook page and other avenues of social media. There's no local advertising at all. When people reach out for a Bodacious Raffle Basket and say, "We'll give you a shout out and link to your Facebook page and/or blog," we rely on that. About 50% of the time, that doesn't happen. We've also donated biscuits to rescue groups with the promise of a shout out. Again, about 50% of the time no one follows through. And, the cherry on top of the proverbial sundae, is when we don't hear from these people again until they want or need something.
4. The lines of communication are lacking. Where do I even begin with this one?! I've lost count how many times I've reached out with a "we'd love to spread some biscuit love your way" message or email and...nothing. When sent on Facebook, I'm aware of the day and time someone reads the message. Email, not so much. Regardless, the amount of both that go unanswered is staggering. I know people are busy, but guess what? So are we. It takes all but 2-3 minutes to send a reply. The same holds true with Bodacious Raffle Baskets. It takes time to go out and purchase items for the baskets and put 'em together. If someone reaches out for one and, after I ask when someone will be by to pick it up, I don't hear back for 2-3 weeks...ugh. Then, I get an email that says, "What time can I pick up the raffle basket today." Well, sorry. I don't have one ready.
5. And...while we're on the topic of communication. One of my biggest pet peeves is shipping a box of complimentary biscuit love and wondering, "Did they get the biscuits?" Yes, we ship Priority. Yes, we have tracking numbers. Yes, I make sure the box has been delivered. However, there have been several occasions in which the box was delivered, but not received. I don't like sending people "did you get your box of biscuits" messages and emails because that just looks like we're fishing for a pat on the back or thank you. We're not. We simply want to know if you received the biscuits. That's all. Most of the time, we never know if the biscuits were received. Here's how I look at it. To make 6-8 bags of biscuits takes us about 2 hours. That doesn't include packaging and traveling to the post office to ship. Top that off with the cost of supplies and the $6 - $8 shipping charge. All of that to spread biscuit love to YOU. If YOU can't take 1-2 minutes to let us know you received the biscuits, that doesn't sit well with me.
6. Shipping is killing us. In the past, we've done our best to keep the shipping costs down for people who have "ordered" biscuits. We've charged between $5-$7 for shipping regardless of the location. However, when we ship to locations outside of Connecticut, the price skyrockets and that comes out of our pocket. Last year, we shipped a box of biscuits almost all the way across the U.S and it was $22 and some change. The recipient only paid $5 for shipping. When we do this every week, on top of shipping to animal shelters across Connecticut, it adds up. What little we make every week doesn't cover shipping.
7. Quantity over quality. This has nothing to do with our biscuits and everything to do with our mission and areas of focus. Over the past 3 years, we've learned that there are too many shelters and rescue groups and animal organizations here in Connecticut. Originally, we wanted to spread as much biscuit love as we could to every shelter and group and large organization and beyond, but realistically, that isn't possible. We bake biscuits out of our home. We have 3 rescue fur-kids of our own...one of which is special needs. One of us works full time plus outside of the home. The other is a work-at home dog mom who stays up on the overnight to get work done. In short, we've learned that it can't be quantity over quality. We need to focus more on what's around us, utilize our time and resources closer to home, and make sure what we're doing is having a profound impact on and supports our vision and mission. What we are able to do has to count.
Like with the good stuff, the list goes on, but I'm not going to end this post here. Not yet.
We're human. We're not perfect. The past 3 years has been a learning experience all the way around. We've experienced the good, the not so good, and everything between. Amid all the trials and tribulations, there have been scattered occurrences that have jabbed us a bit. And by "jabbed" I'm referring to "we had some feels."
For example, and I'm going to be very vague on the time frame here as to respect confidentiality, one of the fundraisers we launched left a bitter taste in my mouth for many reasons Even though the response was overwhelming and we raised a good chunk of change for the cause, what happened behind the scenes left us a little let down.
To most, it may seem petty, but after spending most of the week baking 'round the clock (true story), adding extra gifts to the orders, and promoting this fundraiser and group, we learned the president/founder of the group doesn't even "like" our Bodacious Biscuit Love Facebook page. And, when we asked if this person could get ONE photo for us to post on our Facebook page as something special during our efforts to promote this fundraiser and this group, well...that didn't happen.
Yes, it's only Facebook, I get it. However, if you're going to reach out to a group, ask them to launch a fundraiser for you, and accept the donations to follow, you could at least show your support by liking our page and contributing with a comment or two.
Another example are those who started out small, we supported them, and we gave them many, many shout outs and encouragement and...once they expanded, got big, and made a name for themselves...they left us in the dust without a second thought.
That's not a human trait that I take too kindly too. In fact, I've separated myself from a lot of work clients because they embrace that method.
The biggest one of all, and this is on a personal note, I don't take too kindly to those who reach out over and over again for Bodacious Raffle Baskets, biscuit love, and fundraising efforts, and we comply and bend over backwards to help out, but when we see them in public, and we approach them with enthusiasm, we're given the cold shoulder and disregarded. Or, they don't acknowledge us unless they need biscuits or a raffle basket.
It's kind of a big kick in the ass.
However, as the saying goes, you live, you learn. You try not to make the same mistake twice, but it happens.
There you have it. The good, the not so good and...what's next?
Lots of them.