Relinquishing Control

Business By Cathy26 Updated 1 Aug 2010 , 2:12pm by 1234me

Cathy26 Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 8:55pm
post #1 of 16

Hey guys,

Just after a little advice or reassurance im not crazy!

I opened my cupcake cafe/cake shop on 3rd February and since then its been absolutly hectic! I rarely even have time to get on here anymore icon_sad.gif

still its fantastic to be busy and thriving and ive started to take a wednesday off and go home early on monday and tuesday so im not a total control freak but im still finding it really hard to deligate some things.

Bascially the staff bake all the cupcakes, and traybakes and one of the girls bakes my cakes. I go between helping out out front, frosting all the cupcakes, making fondant, figures and decorating my cakes and making all the personalised cupcakes.

between keeping all that going and replying to emails, phonecalls, requests for quotes and keeping on top of the bookeeping, im thinking i could really do with someone who could help me on the cake front with making figures, covering cakes, etc but i cant stand the thought of it!! im a real perfectionist and the thought of someone not making the stuff exactly the way i want it makes me all protective and makes me want to do it all myself!!!!

is it always like this or at some point is it easier to hand over the reins and let other staff have more responsibility? this week im absoltly swamped with cakes, and really fiddly handpainted personalsed cupcakes and am going to have to work like a madwoman to get it all done and its all my own stupid fault!! does anyone else have a weird protective thing about their cakes??

grrrrrrrrr! icon_redface.gif

15 replies
pmarks0 Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 9:10pm
post #2 of 16

I think it's normal to not want to give up decorating control. After all, it's your reputation as a decorator if it doesn't turn out the way you want. Maybe as you get more established and you get some other good decorators in to work for you, you'll feel better about it. What about hiring someone to do the office stuff like the book keeping, answering emails, answer the phone. Quote requests should still be run by you before responding to them, but that person could look after that as well. Much like (if you watch Ace of Cakes) Mary Alice who asks as store manager I think. Just a thought. And congrats on the success of your store!

tokazodo Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 9:19pm
post #3 of 16

Congratulations on a successful business venture! I wish you well! Remember to take well deserved breaks! It's okay to feel possessive over your 'baby'. As I have aged, I've learned to appreciate the talents I can see in others.

It is a dream of mine to one day own a bakery too!
Best Wishes too you!

tokazodo

lindseylu8 Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 10:13pm
post #4 of 16

haha I do and I just do cakes for myself & friends on occasion. Friends want to help and I dont want their help (and Im not even that good at cakes). A friend wants me to do her wedding cake and now she wants to help.....Either its my work or its not is how I view it. And I took the time, energy & money to learn the techniques and now Im supposed to teach you w/ my time? hmmmmm

lindseylu8 Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 10:14pm
post #5 of 16

haha I do and I just do cakes for myself & friends on occasion. Friends want to help and I dont want their help (and Im not even that good at cakes). A friend wants me to do her wedding cake and now she wants to help.....

lindseylu8 Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 10:15pm
post #6 of 16

haha I do and I just do cakes for myself & friends on occasion. Friends want to help and I dont want their help (and Im not even that good at cakes). A friend wants me to do her wedding cake and now she wants to help.....Either its my work or its not is how I view it. And I took the time, energy & money to learn the techniques and now Im supposed to teach you w/ my time? hmmmmm

lindseylu8 Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 10:15pm
post #7 of 16

haha I do and I just do cakes for myself & friends on occasion. Friends want to help and I dont want their help (and Im not even that good at cakes). A friend wants me to do her wedding cake and now she wants to help.....Either its my work or its not is how I view it. And I took the time, energy & money to learn the techniques and now Im supposed to teach you w/ my time? hmmmmm

leily Posted 29 Jul 2010 , 7:40am
post #8 of 16

I was thinking the same thing that Pmarks0 suggested. What about starting by getting help with the "business" side of things. If you can find someone to go through the emails, do quotes, answering phone calls and that book keeping (or at least part of it, you can do the final numbers if you're more comfortable with that) then you can still decorate. Then with some of the "extra time" (yea i know it's not really extra) you could work with someone on the decorating more so you know it's done your way icon_smile.gif

And, yes I am a control freak too when it comes to details like that. But if you have the time to show someone your way (and yes it is your way, it's your business!!) then you and them are more comfortable b/c they know what you expect and you knwo that you've shown them what you expect.

Doug Posted 29 Jul 2010 , 11:07am
post #9 of 16

consider the pros:

Duff has his Mary Alice to handle all the business stuff and all those wonderful decorators and his ever faithful baker so that he can do what he likes best -- design and build over the top craziness into his cakes.

Ron Ben Israel (who I follow on Facebook) has a large staff too that bakes for him and decorates. He has the luxury to just do what he loves and does best: make drop dead gorgeous flowers and design.

Every pro has staff to assist and do the vast majority of the work. But they do supervise and do ok, so they have control and can confidently say this is the work of my shop and it does reflect my vision.

(can you imagine if Henry Ford had felt he had to personally work on every car that came out of his factory? )

Ask yourself this: in your dream world of caking, the thing you most enjoy doing is......

then hire people to do everything else not included in that dream world.

indydebi Posted 29 Jul 2010 , 11:44am
post #10 of 16

Read the e-myth by Michael Gerber. It's the story of a woman who opened a pie business because she loved making pies. But she found that she was wearing all of these hats and was starting to hate making pies ... which was the whole reason she got into business.

If you're not an accountant, contract that out. At some point, every business needs a "Girl Friday" (yep, used that term just to see how many remember what it means! icon_biggrin.gif ) to handle all of that misc office stuff that can really bog you down (and I speak from experience!!! icon_eek.gif ). You probably feel hectic because you're running back and forth between the fornt and the back and not really getting anything done. YOu can't have your finger in 27 pies at the same time.

And I'll ask it again ...... is being "a perfectionist" the new in-thing or something? icon_confused.gif I'm seeing that term used to self-describe more and more over the last few days .... at least 4 times in the last 3 days! icon_eek.gif None of us are perfect so stop stressing yourself out by "trying" to be. Because as much as one might like to think they are "perfect" or that they can strive to be "perfect" ..... they're not. So stop it and lose the self-imposed pressure! icon_razz.gif (she said with love and concern! icon_biggrin.gif )

Yum2010 Posted 29 Jul 2010 , 12:24pm
post #11 of 16

I read the e-myth by Michael Gerber. (Thanks Debi!!!)---I was snooping one day on the business forum and saw that you had recc to someone else, so I picked up at the book store. It was an AWESOME book and made me realize alot. My dream is to have a storefront and bakery so I can quit my "real job" (right now I just have a certified kitchen in my backyard). After reading that book, I realized that I am sooooo not ready for that yet. If you already have a business up and running and it's thriving, by all means, take Debi's advice and READ THAT BOOK!!! Do it before it's too late you are so drained and burnt out. It will change your mind frame and help you realize alot of things. It's so wierd because that book helped me with alot of aspects in my life, not just my little cake business. I HIGHLY reccomend it!

Doug Posted 29 Jul 2010 , 12:53pm
post #12 of 16

Gerber now has a web presence too:
http://www.e-myth.com/

Yum2010 Posted 29 Jul 2010 , 1:03pm
post #13 of 16

Cool! Thanks Doug!

Cathy26 Posted 31 Jul 2010 , 8:17pm
post #14 of 16

thanks guys will give it a read icon_smile.gif

could definitly do with help on the admin side of things, my husband helps but (and i know this sounds awfuL) I dont trust him to answer the emails and stuff and write down all the orders and i feel because im the only one who actually takes charge of the cake orders i have to be the one to answer every one icon_redface.gif

i suppose out of it all i enjoy making all the fiddly bits most, all the figures, and flowers and handpainted personalised cupcakes, etc so if i could even get to the point when i could let someone crumb coat and cover the cakes then it would free me up a lot. and yeah if i could get someone i completely trust to sort out emails then it would be a massive help.

In terms of being a "perfectionist" im certainly not describing myself like that to be "in" - it would be a lot easier for me to just say its a cake slap on the icing and sell it but i want it to look beautiful and have no doubts in my mind that the customer will love it so thats why i push myself. i know that customers never notice the flaws that we notice but to me if you are making something for someone then it should be as near perfect as you can make it - thats just me! icon_rolleyes.gif i guess checking out pink cake boxes blog every day is doing my cake self esteem no favours either icon_smile.gif

Doug Posted 31 Jul 2010 , 9:41pm
post #15 of 16

re: husband

1) give him a script (think like the telemarketers use) to follow for phone calls.

2) give him prewritten to your standards fill in the blank response emails.

3) give him forms to fill out for taking orders.


---

here dear, just fill in ALL the blanks.

----

then only if there is an unusual out of the box request will you have to step in.

1234me Posted 1 Aug 2010 , 2:12pm
post #16 of 16

Although I can not help you with your problem, I do have to respond and say thank you for posting. I too would love to open a shop. Due to having a very generous husband and family, money is not an issue in opening. I have more business than I can handle working out of the licensed kitchen I work out of so I really feel like a storefront would be successful. But I know realistically, I would feel just like you do - not want to let go of control! I would want to do everything myself and would not trust my employees to portray the reputation I would want. I do not want to dedicate that much of my time to cake decorating, because with a storefront, you are there more than you think you will be. So I guess what I am saying is thank you for reminding me why I continue to turn the thought of a store-front away icon_smile.gif

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