In December of 2013, I was sitting with my kids at a roadside dinner. We were somewhere between Savannah, GA, and Jacksonville, FL on our first road trip as a single mom. Recently separated from their Dad, I embarked on a Winter Break vacation with my then 9-year old twins. We were going to drive from Orlando to Savannah. It was our first time doing anything like this, and I was so enjoying our 1 x 1 time. Over dinner, we discussed lots of things but one that is tough to forget – the “list.”
The “list” was created on a piece of a menu and a borrowed pencil. Championed by my far too mature daughter, she took it upon herself to create a checklist of the “perfect” man for her mom to date. There I was, in my late-30’s listening to my pre-teens rattling off the characteristics of what they decided would be the ideal mate for their mother!
The “list” was long, or maybe it seemed long at my age. There was the expected “tall,” “funny,” “no more than four years older or younger than you,” “must like kids” and the unexpected “has nice parents” and “likes sports but not obsessed.” I believe the list had about 45 requirements. So many, that it was, of course, going to be impossible to find such a man! So I took the opportunity to explain to them the complexities of chemistry, of compromises, how they were missing important things like “good communicator” and how perhaps “can’t have more than two kids” or “doesn’t snore” might be getting a bit picky. “In life,” I explained, “we may think we want all these things, but in the end, we get some of it and make the best of the rest.”
The same held true years later when I was house hunting and having a hard time in a competitive seller’s market. I was armed with my own “list” of must-haves: gourmet kitchen, at least four bedrooms, separate office, pool, walking distance to school, split plan, etc. I learned quickly that my budget was more in the range of “3 bedrooms, pool, kitchen needs some work”. So I readjusted. I started moving some of my “must-haves” to “nice to haves.” I changed my perspective and asked myself why did I really “need” a feature that maybe was more of a “want.”
In my role at commonsku, I get the opportunity to meet prospective “sku-ers” and show them around the platform. I learn about their businesses and their respective challenges and where their existing workflows are creating bottlenecks. I love this part of the gig, because I know, like my fellow sku’ers do, that commonsku eliminates so many headaches and streamlines those tasks that once were overwhelming.
Today, I had the chance to do a demo to a woman who found us after landing a huge, multi-year account. She was tasked with finding a better order management platform that will allow them to accommodate this growth. When I asked more about what she was seeking, she responded with “we are looking for an all-encompassing solution. Something that will work on the front end and back end, integration with shipping, accounting and order flow. We need a platform that will handle company stores, inventory, product search. We are looking for the perfect, total solution.” I listened and was, fortunately, able to hide my grin behind the virtual wall between us. How awesome was that, right? To which I said, “aren’t we all!”. I regaled her with my stories of seeking the perfect man and perfect house. I offered to show her what commonsku does really well and was upfront about what we don’t even touch. But I promised her to understand her business well enough to try to find her the best solution possible. That sometimes what we think we “need” may be overkill or not a need at all. That in looking for everything, we end up with lots of things that are just O.K, vs something more focused, but totally fantastic. In the end, she was wow-ed with the platform, and I believe we will be welcoming her to the family.
Incidentally, I love my 4-bedroom house, with my office smack in the middle of the den and my kids’ bedrooms right next to mine. It’s crowded, and close quarters, but never considered the upside until it was mine – we are all closer than ever.