A couple years ago I got a letter from a CPA who really wanted to open a bakery. Based on the fact that he had no baking experience, no recipes and losing his annual vacation time was a real deal breaker, it didn’t seem like the right fit for him. Shortly after this exchange, I put together the following. It’s incredible how relevant it still is.
Here’a a slightly more light hearted version of my weekend woes. Enjoy.
So you want to open a bakery???
Have you ever baked anything? Do you have your own recipes? Can you use the recipes to make 1000x what you would make at home…everyday? While you’re making 1000 of those, can you make 1000 of 30 other items concurrently and have them all ready when you open at 6am? Do you have a summer & winter version of each of your recipes to account for the changes in temperature & humidity? Did you know that’s a thing?
About that 6am thing…how much do you value sleep? Is 3 hours per night good for you? Are you comfortable starting your day at 12:01am, it counts as early morning because it’s technically AM, right?
If you are not currently in the service industry, are you an athlete, nurse or teacher? When is the last time you stood on your feet for 10-14 hours without a break to sit down? Are you confident you can maintain this amount of time on your feet for 6-12 days straight?
How do you feel about meals vs. snacks? Do your meals have to be eaten while hot? Are you comfortable substituting hot meals for cold snacks? You will have about 5 minutes 3-4 times each day to eat whatever you can reach. Cold snacks just seem to work better. It’s difficult to eat a hot meal while standing and in motion.
Do you have a significant amount of money in savings or a wealthy partner to supplement your income? How long can you go without a paycheck? Do you plan on having a staff to help you run the bakery? Do you plan to pay them more than the standard going rate so they’ll continue to work for you? How long can you go without a paycheck?
Do you like the smell of baked goods? Do you like it when your clothes smell like baked goods? How about your car? Your house? Your kids’ clothes? ALL.THE.TIME?
Do you have kids? Are they comfortable losing one parent? How important is it to you to attend school functions…this includes the daytime pageants you’ll miss because the bakery is open and the evening fundraisers you’ll miss because you have to sleep sometime. How will you respond to the notes from the teachers asking why you were the only parent who wasn’t present at your child’s super important book reading?
Does your family currently vacation? Are they okay with having day trips instead of vacations? How’s 2 day trips per year? Are they going to be entertaining themselves while you’re on the phone with the bakery all day?
How gullible are your kids? Can you easily convince them that Christmas is December 26th? How about Easter Monday? Thanksgiving Friday? Do they really care if you miss their birthdays? How important are family wedding to you? Will anyone in your family hold a grudge if you miss a funeral or 5?
Do you have a lot of friends? Do they invite you to dinners, drinks and other evening or weekend activities? Do you think they’ll still be your friends if you decline every invitation for the next, (how many years do you plan on having your bakery open) years?
Are you comfortable managing millennials? Are you social media saavy? Do you know what a hashtag is? Can you cover multiple call outs on one day? On 3 hours of sleep? You do know how to do every single job in your bakery, right? How many excuses can you listen to before you go insane?
Do you like people? Do you like people who complain about the baked goods you just spent the last 10-14 hours on your feet to make for them? How good is your poker face? Do you have any anger management issues?
Can you make a doughnut look like a stiletto heeled shoe? Can you make a cake for 250 people with an hour’s notice, even if you don’t plan to have cakes on your menu? Can you make a gluten free, vegan version of everything on your menu? Do you plan to be peanut free? Tree nut free? Egg free? Dairy free? Flavor free? You know, there are a lot of special snowflakes who love bakeries! Can you fully stock your shelves 5 minutes before closing? Can you just make MORE??? Can you make it and sell it for less than Costco?
In addition to baking, do you have the following skills…
Sourcing & Purchasing
Arts & Crafts
Menu Development & Planning