Believe it or not the needs of any business, at least for us, that happens in the spring through early fall, has almost as much work happening when there are chilling temperatures outside. Most farmers, many fishermen, and for sure seafood processors know this is true, if you want things to run smoothly you do lots of off-season planning.
I have put off digging deeply into the needs of our various businesses these past few months, partly as there have not been overly pressing needs, but also as I knew any decisions made would probably not be sound. I am also well aware that there are a lot of pieces that need to come together to make it successful, even on the short term and unless I fit things together well things will fall apart quickly.
(Off-thread…woke up in the wee hours this morning wondering if I had checked the oil on our generator lately. I got up, bundled up, grabbed the headlamp and headed down to the generator shed in wind and dark to shut the engine off. Remembered in the middle of writing this post I had not checked the ‘gen’, after letting it cool down and the oil to drain down. Off again to the generator shed to check. Glad I did as the level was much too low. I think we have a “safety” on it to switch it off if it gets too low, but I am not sure. I now need to get back into the habit of checking on a set day each week, like I used to do on my car when I lived in the city.)
While I work on gathering a crew for our fishing operation I must also finish up our planting schedule for the farming operation. On top of that comes pulling our spring fuel order together. We get our fuel in via a tug & barge, usually only once a year and we must have the entire year’s need calculated not only for our operation but for those of our customers.
This is the portion of the businesses we run that I am the most “nervous” about. Lots of planning as to amounts, putting what fuel in what tanks, double checking the on hand amounts, working out our prices, etc. Since our goal with this business is to drive traffic and support the area businesses we keep our prices very competitive. We also sell a small amount of heating fuel to area villagers which means I need to second guess their needs. It is not anywhere near the bulk of our business, nor was it set up to be, we still find it to be important for some residents in the area.
Unfortunately, at least in our area, we have seen fuel needs for residents and businesses being used as a ‘tool’ to hurt at times. We have seen a city run their own fuel needs (putting heating and power needs for the entire city in jeopardy) so low just to make it hard for a business to conduct their business. Don’t think this is a racist, or even a small city thing…it happens with tribes too.. as we have seen it happen within families.
It is a control and jealousy thing that happens and in these closely related villages….sadly. It is common in the tiny village we live in for a group go out of their way to not include some residents in plans to buy bulk fuel or to help each other, thus we now carry fuel for locals so no one has to stop living out here due to the lack of access to reasonably priced fuel.
We are not ‘white knights’ but are people have seen much to much crap happen to good people and where we can make a difference, we do our best to do so.
So these next few weeks I must battle the desire to ignore the calendar and instead plow into the tank charts, spreadsheets and customer lists to deal with keeping this portion of our, now my, income up and working.