For Those Of You Who Are In Business, How Did You Learn The

Business By cakesweetiecake Updated 5 Jul 2009 , 8:39pm by CakeForte

cakesweetiecake Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 2:28pm
post #1 of 14

BUSINESS side of things? I'm referring to actually running/managing/handling the business side of things. Did you take classes, read books, have a mentor, etc/? Just curious how you learned the stuff outside of the baking and decorating.

13 replies
ButtercupMama Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 3:57pm
post #2 of 14

Hi there!
I learned a good amount from working at other places over the year, and just seeing how a business runs. I also took a fabulous marketing course at my local community college.
I read a couple of books, and found Entreprenuer Magazine pretty helpful, and inspirational. However, I do still feel ill-equipped (business-wise) to run my shop. As a result, I'm really overwhelmed to this day!
I would suggest a well-rounded variety of business courses thru your community, and also, do read the E-Myth if you can. I am only halfway thru it, but it is well-renowned for folks like us... that is, "technicians" who are switching roles to be the boss.
Good luck!! icon_biggrin.gif

indydebi Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 4:25pm
post #3 of 14

I was very fortunate that my corporate world jobs actually trained me in that regard.
- I've hired, fired and done performance reviews, been in charge of training (HR);

- I've been in management for customer service, shipping, and sales/marketing, including being responsible for determining what kind of budget I need and staying inside that budget.

- I've traveled the country giving workshops (that I've written) on how to sell our products & I've sold life insurance; I've been super involved in community activities that have put me on a stage, in front of TV cameras and on the radio (sales & marketing);

- I spent LOTS Of years working in accounts payable/receivable and some collections;

- I've been in charge of warehouses (one in Indy and one in Ariz), shipping, logistics and inventory control (talk about DETAILED work!);

- I've negotiated purchasing major items, such as fork lift trucks, warehouse racking and trucking rates. (I even put one gentleman in his place when I bought an ice machine for the office and he didn't think this woman in a flannel shirt and blue jeans could afford an $800 ice machine, when I was authorized to spend $100,000 on the overall project on my siganature alone!)

- I've been the person who figures up the price on our product, taking into account our factory overhead and which factory could make it and give us the most profit;

- I've done lots of political work, including fundraising (wife of a candidate, and when I gave VP Dan Quayle a big 'ole Debi-Hug, my husband said that yes, the Secret Service DID take one step forward! icon_lol.gif ). I put this in the sales and marketing column

Bottom line? THere's an advantage to being old! LOTS of experience in LOTS of things! thumbs_up.gif

tracycakes Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 4:40pm
post #4 of 14

Mine's not open (yet) but I agree with Debi. Being older has lots of advantages. I worked in a restaurant during high school and college and did almost every job there. I had lots of corporate training, I've been a manager and supervisor, interviewed lots of people, hired people and my husband has had his own business before. We've gotten a few books specific to bakeries but nothing beats experience. We talked about me working at a local bakery for experience but I really didn't want go to work for someone just to get experience and then open a shop to compete with them. That just wouldn't be right. Our local small business association also has lots of training opportunities and have been a wonderful source for training and information.

tracycakes Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 4:42pm
post #5 of 14

Mine's not open (yet) but I agree with Debi. Being older has lots of advantages. I worked in a restaurant during high school and college and did almost every job there. I had lots of corporate training, I've been a manager and supervisor, interviewed lots of people, hired people and my husband has had his own business before. We've gotten a few books specific to bakeries but nothing beats experience. We talked about me working at a local bakery for experience but I really didn't want go to work for someone just to get experience and then open a shop to compete with them. That just wouldn't be right. Our local small business association also has lots of training opportunities and have been a wonderful source for training and information.

leah_s Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 5:26pm
post #6 of 14

Damn, Debi, I've done about 80% of those very things also. I also have an MBA and grew up in a family business. Ahh, the advantages of being old. . .

Seriously, you should have a local Chamber of Commerce, SCORE, or some such group that trains and mentors new biz owners.

varika Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 5:35pm
post #7 of 14

My mother and I are looking into starting a pastry business together, and our local community college has an associates' degree program in Food Service Management. We've decided that to start out, I'm going to go to do the Baking and Pastry Arts program and she's going to do the Food Service Management program, and then we're going to switch off and each takes the other course part-time while we work the business together. That way we both know how to run the business end as well as the kitchen end--especially since Mom's only about ten years away from retirement age and I'm, well, a lot further off.

cakesweetiecake Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 6:31pm
post #8 of 14

Thank you all for your responses. I actually browsed the local community colleges courses and found some business classes that I could take if I were ever to turn this hobby into a business. For me, I think I'd feel more comfortable with some business knowledge behind me if were to take that route. While browsing, I just became curious as to how others did it!

Again, thank all of you for your responses!

jillmakescakes Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 11:12pm
post #9 of 14

ok- so I'm the odd man out here-- not old (no offensive Debi and Leahs, you said it, not me icon_lol.gif ) no long list of previous jobs and no college education.

I learned the business aspect by reading info online from the state department-looking up regulations and tax code. I asked several other business owners- some local, some not (I actually called a few out of state bakeries to ask a few questions.)

I also started out SUPER SMALL. I ran my business from rented space for a year and only took one wedding per weekend and maybe one occasion cake. That helped me to ease into some of the paperwork, while still getting my feet wet.

When in doubt, ASK!!! While CC is a great place for basic info, you can't beat a good attorney or accountant- trust me, I've tried- they just seem to like it icon_redface.gif

cakesweetiecake Posted 3 Jul 2009 , 12:32am
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by jillmakescakes

ok- so I'm the odd man out here-- not old (no offensive Debi and Leahs, you said it, not me icon_lol.gif ) no long list of previous jobs and no college education.

I learned the business aspect by reading info online from the state department-looking up regulations and tax code. I asked several other business owners- some local, some not (I actually called a few out of state bakeries to ask a few questions.)

I also started out SUPER SMALL. I ran my business from rented space for a year and only took one wedding per weekend and maybe one occasion cake. That helped me to ease into some of the paperwork, while still getting my feet wet.

When in doubt, ASK!!! While CC is a great place for basic info, you can't beat a good attorney or accountant- trust me, I've tried- they just seem to like it icon_redface.gif




Thanks for responding. When I asked, I knew that there would be a variety of paths. I'm interested in hearing about them ALL! LOL!!

CakeForte Posted 3 Jul 2009 , 12:44am
post #11 of 14

I majored in public relations and business in undergrad, did lots of outside research. My first job was in corporate America for Big Blue...it can't get any more corporate than that. I also worked for caterers and resorts, then I got a master's degree. Some trial and error is also thrown in there.

I constantly research though because there is always "something" that I need and don't know.

littlecake Posted 3 Jul 2009 , 4:18am
post #12 of 14

ditto the "old thing"...i've had some kinda business since high school...except for my short stint as a housewife.

when i decided to do the bakery thing in the late 90's, i worked at several different bakeries...i learned different things at each one.....

suzylynn58 Posted 4 Jul 2009 , 11:30am
post #13 of 14

If you have a Small Business Development Center in your area, they are a great source of FREE help. The one in my area is located at the local university. They gave me a list of all the agencies I would need to contact to get licenses, tax ID #, etc. Advice on record keeping, employees, etc. Very helpful and best of all FREE!!!!

Susan

CakeForte Posted 5 Jul 2009 , 8:39pm
post #14 of 14

Yes, the small business development centers are there for you! I was lucky enough to have one right on my college campus, which serviced the local area, so I was able to have several meetings with them while I was in school.

Also, like Jill...I constantly read the legal codes. You can't really trust what the front office workers tell you because it's just "job" to them, so you might get the wrong information.

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