I’ve been operating my business for the past few years. I ‘ve done wholesale (restaurants and coffee shops), retail and some catering. I don’t have a storefront, so I rent a licensed kitchen. Over the past year and a half, I’ve been focused on being a caregiver for my mom and my brother. I’m now at a point of refocusing on growing my business and am considering hiring someone to help. Since having to shift my attention to family for a time, I haven’t done much marketing or much else to build my client base. I am currently concentrating my efforts on securing more wholesale and catering opportunities.
I met a woman several years ago, and I’m considering bringing her on as a baking assistant. She’s not currently in a financial position to become a business partner, and I’m not interested in that at this time. So, I am struggling to figure out how best to utilize her. Although I do plan for her to eventually work with me in the kitchen completing orders, packaging, etc., I’m not currently making the revenue to justify paying her a salary for production work. Initially I’d like to have her work with me to bring in more business. Since she and her husband owned a restaurant for a time, they have some contacts that might prove useful. I also learned that her husband is actively searching for another restaurant to purchase. If that comes through, it’s possible that we might be able to supply some or all of the desserts for that restaurant.
I’m also trying to figure out how much to pay her. I mentioned to her that we might explore a payment arrangement whereby I pay her a certain amount (or hourly rate) initially and a higher rate once I reach a certain level of business (resulting from our collective efforts). Another thought is to, perhaps, compensate her a certain percentage (commission) for bringing in business based on her contacts. I’d have to put some sort of cap on that though. I wouldn’t want to pay commission indefinitely on ongoing orders from new clients she brings in.
So, with all that said, what I need is advice on a) how to utilize this individual to help me grow my business, and b) a fair wage or payment structure for her.
I’m really looking forward to hearing your feedback and advice.
AIf she has business or marketing expertise you want to leverage you may want to just consult with her on an as-needed basis (paying her by the hour, ask her to suggest her rate).
Thank you, Jason. That's definitely something I'll consider!!
I'd love to hear additional suggestions.
I think you should start with a review of your own business plan, on paper. Write down which products you would offer, what workload you want to commit to, what kinds of turnaround time you can work with. These are necessary for catering/wholesale plans.
You will work more effectively with two people for the larger orders. So that means your assistant (any assistant) will have to accept an on-call hourly rate of pay for production work. You can also hire her at a different hourly rate for her work at promoting your business.
Because you are in some sense restructuring your effort, you should not commit to anything else until you have orders and a production system in place.
My first thoughts are: why does she want to work for you? What's her motive? She doesn't need a small pay check if her hubby has enough money to buy a restaurant. If her husband is looking to get back into the restaurant business her loyalty isn't going to be growing your business, eventually it's going to be growing hers.
If you want to grow your business, that's something you must do yourself. Or you hire a professional sales person who won't have any other agendas. You want her to be your sales person, but you don't want to pay her commissions for life? So you're looking to have your cake and eat it too, no?
I don't see this as a great long term match for you. Too much doesn't make sense to me. I see you teaching her about baking and her taking that knowledge to her husbands business eventually. Contacts too. Once she establishes contacts they're hers to take to her business. You'll be paying her to educate her .... and in the end you be back to needing help. Personally, I think you need to think more about yourself and how to build your own business long term. Invest in you, not her.