Yesterday, I announced that Anodyne Design had won a small business grant from the wonderful people at Intuit, and I shared my plans for how I would be using that grant to grow and improve my little business. It was exciting to really think about the my “next move,” and I can’t wait to get started!
But the contest isn’t quite over. This week, the 9 finalists from April, May and June will be judged by Seventh Generation co-founder, Jeffrey Hollender, for a chance to win the grand prize of an additional $25,000 small business grant. The judging criteria are simply to find the business that is “most loved by its customers, vendors, employees, or local community.” I have taken a look at the other finalists, and I think it’s going to be a tough call to make. In the spirit of looking to the future of Anodyne Design, whether I were to win the grand prize or not, I have given some thought to how I might best use $25,000.
In addition to my original plan focused on developing the online side of Anodyne Design, I would also start developing an online indie boutique that would provide a home for small, local businesses engaged in environmentally responsible design. As a maker myself, I am always searching for the most eco-friendly materials, and I particularly like to create items that are designed to be re-used, to last, and to replace something disposable. As a shopper, I am looking for the same sort of items, and I don’t think I am alone. This venture would require a new web presence, branding, and advertising.
An extra $25,000 would also make it possible for Anodyne Design to participate in larger in-person events, such as the Renegade Craft Fair and Strange Folk Festival, which require entry fees, travel, and a significant investment in time. One of the joys of being a small business is in being able to interact one-on-one with individuals who share my love of handmade, and I would love to be able to pursue that beyond the bounds of my small town.
I would also be able to invest in some new equipment that would help me to be more efficient and to create items that so far have just been waiting in the “someday” pile. In particular, I would be adding a new serger and a die cutting machine to my arsenal of tools. I will also be able to continue using top-of-the-line environmentally responsible materials. And perhaps most importantly, $25,000 would definitely make it possible for me to expand the space dedicated to my business, which for the moment is only one-half of a small office I share with my husband. I can just imagine how much more productive and creative I could be if I had a little more space.
So this is my plan of action, whether I jump into the fast lane with the grand prize grant, or whether I take it slowly. Either way, it’s going to be awesome. What do you think? Did I miss something, should I being paying more attention to one part of this than another? Like I wrote in my last post, Anodyne Design isn’t much without you, so your input is really important to me as I grow. Let me know what you think!