I have two years till I retire from the Navy and I wish to open a bakery business. When I was stationed up in PA I started making cupcakes, cookies and breads for the local market and festivals...we did really well. we rented a commercial kitchen. Now that I am back in VA...I want to use the next 2 years working on my business plan, recipes, research locations and etc. I was thinking about taking some college courses to help me in this area too. I was thinking about marketing, accounting and etc. My question is, what courses would you recommend that I take? Or courses did you take? Wish you had taken? I want to be really prepared before I retire, so I can hit the ground running and start out strong.
Have A Little Faith Delights, LLC
Anything business-related will be helpful. That's the part where most people are sorely lacking. You might also want to get in touch with your local S.C.O.R.E. group and set up a couple of meetings with one of their reps. They can help you go over a business plan and see things that you're missing. Watch out, though, because sometimes they don't really know what goes into a bakery business.
If you take a marketing class it should be helpful, but the way things are now anything you learn about online marketing is going to change slightly in two years. It's good to know where to start, though.
i agree about s.c.o.r.e. it is hit or miss -- the lawyer in my class wanted to sell us all on incorporating with him so he could make money -- i said my sister incorporated herself and he grabbed his chest and walked slowly backwards like he'd been shot till he hit the black board -- about had a heart attack i kid you not -- i did not find the paid class i took helpful in any way -- but hopefully they are not all that way -- very generalized though --
i really like quickbooks for accounting -- i had an expert quickbooker set mine up for me but you could get a class and set it up yourself either way -- once it's set up you just plug in numbers it's a beautiful thing --
honestly there is so much online about how to do so much i would constantly scour that --
if you had a chance i would recommend that you get into the world pastry forum one year however i just went to find a link for you and learned they are not putting them on anymore -- bummer -- but they have videos which would be invaluable for you -- for example even if you're not going to offer say ice creams -- you learn so much anyway because these guys are so high up the food chain -- wisdom cascades down like so much shiny warm fragrant ganache -- you learn about stuff you never knew existed -- it expands your mind -- lsd for bakers
in breads from the loveliest quick breads & packaging to the heights of competition displays http://www.breadhitz.com/
these are the best of the best and the learning is off the charts -- you learn about business though all this but i can't imagine needing more than quickbooks and all it offers to be most successful plus i found this for some current classes
best to you
If you know what town/city you'll open your business in, consider joining the Chamber of Commerce. You do not have to be a business owner to participate - only to sit on the board, etc. You'll get a feel for the town from the business owner side - which can be quite eye opening. Just because it looks like Mayberry.....doesn't mean it is!!!
You can learn alot about your town and business in general from people sharing their situations at the chamber meetings! And you'll find out about other businesses opening and closing. As a small business owner (not a bakery) in the same town for close to 20 years, I've often found that talking to other local businesses, even though we don't provide the same services, can be very illuminating!!
Aside from marketing and accounting, I would recommend courses in economics (helps with setting prices), operations (to help optimize your business processes and make more product in less time), and management. Some schools even have courses specifically focused on entrepreneurship.
Thank you so much for all the inputs! :-) I am so excited...but I want to do my research and be ready!