Problem. Solution. Repeat.

 

This is my life at the moment:

What feels like an insurmountable problem + time constraints + pure lack of knowledge and know-how + a can-do attitude (some of the time) + asking a lot of questions and never being afraid to be caught with my pants not just down but sometimes off all together = a solution (or a forward momentum to a solution).

Entrepreneurship is a delight. It also means you are doing most things yourself. Empowering? Yes. Frustrating? Hell yes.

My latest WTF was barcodes. Clear. As. Mud. And I really left it to the last because I was so intimidated by it. All of a sudden, I am in an arena where I can really truly get it wrong and it could have an impact on my supply chain. Gulp.

Short story long: a Google search (seriously, what doesn’t start with a Google search these days?) netted heaps of results but with one particular result coming up over and over again. GS1 appeared slick – very profesh with lots of big words like ‘enhanced efficiency’ and ‘best practice’. A website is a hand shake: your first impression of a company. Liked it. But it was super vague on what it would cost to actually get a barcode. Words like “subscription” kept coming up so I clicked back and looked again at my results.

Simply Barcodes came up. Nice. I am simple and I need a barcode. FAB. Clicked through. Right away, I could see what things cost, that I was buying barcodes outright vs. subscribing or renting. Nice. Started a live chat. Was getting somewhere. And then because I needed six, they insisted on calling me. Phone rings. It’s Atlanta, Georgia. OK. Was hoping to keep this North of the border. And then lots of spin when I asked them about GS1. She insisted they get their barcodes from GS1 but are the only agency that allows you to buy them outright. So cheaper than GS1 but what was the catch? It all felt super salesy after that so I said I needed to do more poking around and went back to GS1.

Turns out – they are not a third party re-seller!! I know. They sell used barcodes that are connected to discontinued or leased products and they become an absolute nightmare for retailers.

Circled back to GS1. Just called them and now I have barcodes. Boom. 

LESSONS

Be weary when things are seemingly cheaper or free. Full stop. You do get what you pay for. Unless it is a sample. Samples are divine. I ask for them everywhere. But I digress.

Pick up the phone. I am an emailer. Would much rather send an email and let it float and then have a response in writing than ever have to mingle with anyone. But email takes FOREVER. Barcode mystery solved in two longish phone calls. I know, right?

I lead phone calls with people I don’t know with the fact that I am out of my depth; that I need their expertise. This does one of two things: either frustrates the person on the other end OR (and this has been my only experience) they step up and fill you in as best they can. They are patient and helpful. Works a charm!

 
Michele Parent