SCORE Small Business Blog

Starting: Are My Cookies Bakery Quality?
5 Comments

Follow Your Dreams, Get Business Advice

j0400032At SCORE I meet with many women who are thinking of going into business. I recently met with a woman who wanted to open a bakery because everyone loved her cookies. She was newly divorced, had a chunk of cash and dreamed of opening a bakery. “My friends and family all love my cookies and my recipes are special.” She had no business background and knew nothing about running a business. I asked if she had ever worked in a bakery. No,but she often went to a little French bakery near her home. Asking if she had researched the cost of opening a bakery (a sneaky way to start talking about the business plan) she said “no”, but she had a substantial chunk of cash. When I asked if she knew the hours involved in running a business her face lit up as she said she needs little sleep. This was a trick question on my part as I knew she had not experienced the hard labor involved in running a bakery.

Bottom line, I suggested she go to our SCORE all day workshop on how to start your own business and to spend 6 months working in a bakery learning the trade of running a bakery. With that she explained that she had come to be supported in her dream and that I didn’t understand her plan. Needless to say, she was not one of my repeat SCORE clients. Two parts to any business: the art or craft of the business (how to bake) and and the art of running a business (business experience or know how). Unfortunately, she had neither and was not willing to learn. Before you open a business take inventory of your skills and use SCORE to help with the art of running a business. What is your story about starting your business? You can learn the hard way, but why? Come see SCORE. That is why we are here.

Betty Otte, SCORE Orange County
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Discussion (5) Comment


  1. Julia BenedictVisitor

    It was rather interesting for me to read this blog. Thanks the author for it. I like such themes and everything that is connected to this matter. I definitely want to read more on that blog soon.

    Julia Benedict


  2. BettyVisitor

    Hi, sounds like you are willing to take your business to the next level and do internet marketing. Could be a fun division for you. I was recently in Arizona and visited a bakery out in the middle of no where which sells over 65,000 pies a year. We purchased 2 to take home and they were exceptional. Marketing is the key, tho, as we would not have known about the bakery had the hotel clerk not told us about it as we checked out. Another case of networking being the primary marketing key.
    Congratulations on your success. Betty


  3. MedianewstimeVisitor

    Thanks.

    At the moment we sell them locally – we deliver to Central Coast area, but if someone out of Central coast is interested we can always find a way to deliver our cakes.


  4. BettyVisitor

    Hi, Royce: thank you for your very interesting comment. AND, congratulations on using SCORE to help you navigate through the waters of opening a business. Very clever lady! One of the most important aspects of opening a business (besides SCORE) is to have a back up support team. Sounds like you have some wonderful people in your life.
    Your cookies sound delicious. But, it is too close to lunch time to think about cookies when I should be thinking about salads and tuna.
    What, also, impressed me about your comment was the role model you are providing your daughter. She has learned through you that all things are possible, but though hard work and a positive attitude. What a lucky daughter she is!
    Thank you for using SCORE and reading our blog.
    Betty

  5. I have been baking in the home since I was a little girl. My company got its start in 2008 when my daughter needed money for band camp. We began selling our cookies as a private fundraiser. Two months after the money was raised we continued to get orders and requests for our cookies. Eventually, this evolved into a small business and we just recently opened our doors in June 2009.

    Unlike the lady mentioned in your blog, I had the help of my husband who is a cook for the US Army, my dad who has a technical degree in electricity and is also trained in building maintenence and other construction work, and I myself was in school working towards a degree in Business Administration. All of these skills and the advice of my mentors helped me to get started. While I am new to running a business, I rely on the skills learned from my college classes as we as the skills learned at previous jobs I have held to include being a food service worker at a retirement home when I was in high school, a bank teller, an office manager/salesperson of a jewelry store, a tax preparation clerk, a hospital clerk, and a military inventory clerk. I also logged onto the SCORE website where I would read articles, take assessments, and get advice from SCORE mentors.

    Personally, where I had the most trouble was with the cash flow to purchase what we needed. I didn’t want to get any bank loans due to not knowing exactly how much cash would be coming in to cover the payments. However, between donations that we received, our payroll, and our existing credit cards, we were able to open and begin selling to our current customers all while soliciting to new customers. So far sales have more than doubled for us from June to July and we are looking forward to seeing how well we do in August. I wish the lady mentioned in the blog would have tried the SCORE workshop and given an honest effort to learn the business. While working in someone else’s bakery may not be an option, working on your dream is. Hopefully she wasn’t too discouraged by that advice.

 

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