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What does it REALLY involve? (long)

post #1 of 135
Thread Starter 
I am searching through the forums trying to read as much advice as I possibly can about owning a biz because......I came across a bakery for sale today. Go figure! Weird, but exciting. Since I hadn't planned on anything like this, and I really hate the whole $ thing (I know...shoot me now), I only thought of a few questions to ask and to throw on my husbands plate. It is a well established place and the price seems good. They would definitely share all records with me. Needless to say I walked out of there ready to scream "WHOO-HOO". But I also knew how crazy it would be.

Now, I know that I need to get the records, which I think I will stop by tomorrow to talk some more and try to get. That is an obvious for me. She basically does wedding cakes with some side pastries (which I would like to replace with cupcakes and decorated cookies). I know that I can decorate as well, if not better, PLUS there is room to hold classes (which is another thing that I want to offer along with parties).

My DH is the biz end of it......he will look at all of the $ stuff to see if it is a sound investment. What do I have to think about? I know I sound like a flitty broad, but I HATE dealing with $!!!!!! And before you want to smack me over the head (because I already do).....I spoke to my sister about this and said she would go in on this with us if we pursue and since she has worked in the food industry and is great with $, she could handle the biz end of it. This way I can just decorate, right?

I have heard about endless hours and LOTS of work, esp. the first year. But if this is already established, what do I have to do? Seriously! I need to know EXACTLY what I would be getting myself into here if we were to do this. Otherwise, I want to get it out of my head and continue along the path that I had set for myself. Keep in mind, that I have been trying to find a kitchen to rent to be legal by September.

Is this a sign from somewhere above that I should be doing this? I mean, so many things seem to have been falling into place for me lately....but I do NOT want to fail or go into this naively!!!!

Please, please, PLEASE....put me in my place and tell me.
post #2 of 135
My advice is to slow down and seriously think about what you are doing. This is totally exciting and may be the right thing to do, but think about a few things first. The agreement between you and your sister on paper saying who does what and who gets what if a split is to occur? Are you (or your DH) good at accounting and marketing type of work? Are you ready for very long hours. How much money do you have saved up? It usually takes over a year before anyone turns a profit in the food business so you need to have enough saved up for business and home bills for that.
Also, make sure a lawyer looks at the papers. My DH almost bought a business when he found out those clients and papers where pretty much what the business use to do and no longer did. The books looked good on paper until he dug further and realized he would have lost out big time.
Why is this baker selling? Hopefully, her answer will give a little insight.

I hope everything goes really well for you. Stay positive and think straight (not to sound cold-but try to keep your heart out of it).
I hope this doesn't come across as negative. My DH owns a computer business and it is a blessing and a curse at the same time.
I hope everything works out and becomes more clear for you. thumbs_up.gif
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1, 2, 3, 4 UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS!
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post #3 of 135
Established or not, you're still looking at endless hours of sleep....

Slow down, take a deep breath, get a grip. Make a business plan. Talk to the employees, talk to the bank, talk to your lawyer.

Are you willing (and able) to work for free for the next few years? Is the health inspection up-to-date? Are there any new rules/regulations that will result in a costly renovation?
post #4 of 135
Thread Starter 
This is a relatively new facility and it is up to code and all of that. But that is a good point. There is only one employee at the moment and I could talk to her about it.

Today, I am going to try to find out more. But here is the question again......why long hours? I assume that I have to bake & decorate. What am I missing? I could do marketing....I am good at that. Also, my DH and sister are FAB with $, accounting, and all of that. She worked as a manager in food biz before so it isn't new to her. I want a couple of people to look at the paperwork to make sure I don't miss anything.

Nothing you are saying makes me feel bad....I REALLY appreciate it! I need more of it. And this is a HUGE decision. I was even wondering if she would be willing to help me learn her store (is that reasonable?).

Would there still be a big wait for profit if there is already an established clientele of @ 16,000?
post #5 of 135
Check out this blog: http://buildingabakery.blogspot.com

She provides a lot of info about what she's done with her baking business.

A couple of things you may want to know when making your decision: Why is the owner selling the business?
How's their reputation?
Will the current owner be opening a new baking business once they sell this one?
post #6 of 135
You are foolin yourself if you ever think that owning your own business doesn't mean long hours!! When you are talking about your hard earned money in a company which relies on you and family to make a profit....you will work the long hours..It doesn't matter that you hate dealing with money...you have to stay involved...I hope a few other CC'ers can chime in like Indydebi and help you see more of the business side.Aside from that...do all your homework on the place and if it still seems like a good investment..Go for it!!

Busy Bakin Kakes For Kids!!!

Mom to Mitchell 13 yrs and Delaney 11 yrs

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Busy Bakin Kakes For Kids!!!

Mom to Mitchell 13 yrs and Delaney 11 yrs

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post #7 of 135
Ok I'm chiming, KiddieK, but you're not gonna like it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by saberger

This way I can just decorate, right?

I have heard about endless hours and LOTS of work, esp. the first year. But if this is already established, what do I have to do? Seriously! I need to know EXACTLY what I would be getting myself into here if we were to do this. ....but I do NOT want to fail or go into this naively!!!!

Please, please, PLEASE....put me in my place and tell me.



<This is written in a conversational tone>

Honestly if you want a business-you have to be a trailblazer. Your spirit of wanting others to tell you is in itself telltale that you're not the kind of person to do this.

You have the dream but you want your husband and sister and us to do the dirty work. Nice work if you can get it.

No there's several other things besides decorating that you'll have to do.

There are people out there right now reading this who are sucking all the air out of the room--"Oh my oh my K8's being harsh", they are thinking. That might be one way to look at it. But business is nothing if not unrelenting sandpaper harsh. I on the other hand am being for real which is what is needed to launch and run a successful business.

If you can set this up and keep yourself further insulated from reality go for it. I just feel from what you've written that you've got a ways to go. Keep at it-- you can get there if you want to. If you don't want to go into this naively then regroup because you're there.

Just some business start up thoughts for you.
one baker's 'never ever do' is the next baker's 'i swear by this'
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one baker's 'never ever do' is the next baker's 'i swear by this'
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post #8 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by CindyD333

Check out this blog: http://buildingabakery.blogspot.com

She provides a lot of info about what she's done with her baking business.

A couple of things you may want to know when making your decision: Why is the owner selling the business?
How's their reputation?
Will the current owner be opening a new baking business once they sell this one?



That's a cool blog! But man, is she a poster or what??
post #9 of 135
One GOOD thing you have going for you is that the business is already established....... now it is up to you to ferret out things like their reputation, why they are quiting, have they laid off any enployees, or is the one that is there the only one besides the owners ,etc......... you did not say how LONG they have been in business. Is it a store front where people can come in off the street ? You HAVE to have a hand in the money end of the business..... the fact that you have help, is just a bonus.... I'm soooo excited for you...... I had my own hair salon a few years back, and it was some of the best memories of my life...... don't let anyone pee in your corn flakes........ you get the information you need and GO FOR IT !!!
post #10 of 135
http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=40758&hl=

Good thread.
one baker's 'never ever do' is the next baker's 'i swear by this'
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one baker's 'never ever do' is the next baker's 'i swear by this'
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post #11 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by grama_j

...... don't let anyone pee in your corn flakes........



Here's the deal, when someone does pee in the corn flakes and the plumbing repair is $2000 and the rent is past due and the bank account has enough for one and not the other but why pay the rent if you have no water, then you gotta roll up your sleeve and pick those suckers out of the pee and keep on going. Then go decorate the wedding cakes.
one baker's 'never ever do' is the next baker's 'i swear by this'
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one baker's 'never ever do' is the next baker's 'i swear by this'
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post #12 of 135
Thread Starter 
K8 - I am in NO WAY offended!!!! Keep it coming!!!! Seriously! And you are absolutely right.

Do I want to deal with finances? Yes and no. I guess since I have never REALLY been forced to, I have been able to sidestep it. Do I want to....yes...I would like to learn and not be so intimidated by it and learn how to do what is necessary. Do I want to...no...I just want to decorate. Sound wishy-washy? TOTALLY!

I went and spoke to her some more and here is the deal: she never wants to decorate another cake....she has had it. Wants to teach baking. It was always her intention to sell this biz after a few years (which is why she had built it to look SO nice and everything). Everything is included, even the recipes (except for a few personal items).

She would stay and 'teach' me the routine of her place and make the transition to making it my own. I approached her about a partnership (so she can be free to do what she wants and I can make sure this is what I want) and she said that no one had presented it to her, but it is something that she will definitely think about and present to her DH.

She did look at my pics and thought I could definitely handle the decorating - even sad that I am better than she is. Also mentioned that she turns down a LOT of orders for fondant since she only deals with BC.....big plus for me since I do both.

30% of her biz is retail/walk-in and the rest is custom orders. She has no current contract with any place for wedding cakes. She will provide me with her customer database and sign ANY kind of no compete agreement that I want. Also she mentioned that it is common for a person to be at a restaurant (I think they may have owned one before?) for a week to see EVERY transaction that takes place to get a good idea of the flow of money in the joint.

Lease expires around August 2010. That would obviously have to be discussed to continue with this.

I asked her about the hours involved. She mentioned that the long hours come from doing everything yourself (finances, books, advertising, cleaning, baking, decorating, etc). If I were to have help, like my sister, then that would eliminate hours for me to work. (Is this correct?) I KNOW there are hours involved.....but is it something where I can work from @ 8am till 5:30? Obviously with some overtime in places. Her store hours are already 9 - 5:30 Tues - Fri; 9-4 Sat; 9-12 Sun; closed Monday.

How am I doing?!?! I really DO want to learn all of this. I spoke with a friend of mine (BIG business man) and asked if he would be willing to check over this for me....no problem.

I am eager to learn and a relatively fast learner. But in all honesty, CC is my school. I have learned most of what I know here and trust ya'll a LOT! I may be ignorant, but I AM TRYING o change that.

K8.....keep it coming PLEASE!!!
post #13 of 135
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by grama_j

One GOOD thing you have going for you is that the business is already established....... now it is up to you to ferret out things like their reputation, why they are quiting, have they laid off any enployees, or is the one that is there the only one besides the owners ,etc......... you did not say how LONG they have been in business. Is it a store front where people can come in off the street ? You HAVE to have a hand in the money end of the business..... the fact that you have help, is just a bonus.... I'm soooo excited for you...... I had my own hair salon a few years back, and it was some of the best memories of my life...... don't let anyone pee in your corn flakes........ you get the information you need and GO FOR IT !!!



Reputation is outstanding. Only main competition is two towns over and very $$$$. She laid off one person last year for two reasons: economy and then found out that she had to redo a lot of what was being done. It is a destination place for sure. There is a sign out front, but you really have to know that it is there. From what I can tell (I would have to check her books for this), she doesn't really advertise.

Also, I figure that since I would be adding decorated cookies, cupcakes, and a line of Passover goods (if I can get rabbinical supervision), that would help (esp. since there is a temple near by). In addition, I would offer classes and b-day parties.

I get the financials by tomorrow.
post #14 of 135
If your "iffy" over the hours then you might want to reconsider. You may want to look at the volume of orders that they do in an average week, and then the volume that is done during their peek season. I say this because if you are the main decorator and you have to dish out 30+ cakes a week, or for just a saturdays order, you are going to be working more hours than just 8-5. And that's considering help with baking, mixing color etc. Then you also need to count in time for your consulting on orders, and the possiability of doing all the extra, cleanup etc. Owning a business is very hard work and lots of hours that are not the hours that you are open.
Just a thought, 'cuz you need to be willing to work the long hours, as opposed to going in and pulling 60-80 hour work weeks and thinking that this is not what you signed up for.
JMHO
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Icing fixes everything..
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post #15 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by saberger

I can work from @ 8am till 5:30? Obviously with some overtime in places. Her store hours are already 9 - 5:30 Tues - Fri; 9-4 Sat; 9-12 Sun; closed Monday.



Ummm I hate to tell you, but if you plan on OPENING at 9:00am (meaning customers can walk in the door and buy something), you need to be there a LOT earlier than 8am to have all of your retail baking done and the display cases filled. I have friends who own a large well-known italian bakery in NJ... granted they do the full range of pastries, danish, bread, etc. But they have people there baking AROUND THE CLOCK. yes you heard me, 24 hours a day (they are open 7 days a week). Even if you only want to have cupcakes and cookies and a few cakes for retail, you need to have a few hours in the morning to get that stuff ready to be in the cases by opening time. A cookie shop I know in NYC (ONLY sells cookies) has their main baker start 4 hours before the shop opens (and this is JUST to bake... the doughs would have been mixed in the days before by the chef).

And also, if you think because the store closes @ 5:30, that means you get to leave at 5:30, you are, again, in for a rude awakening. You need time to clean up, mop the floors, wrap and store everything, and reorganize for the following day (especially if you are working solo). Don't forget inventory and placing supply orders and all of the other non-baking activities that you'll need to get done every week.

I HIGHLY encourage you to trail with this woman for at LEAST a full week (meaning you get there at the same time she does and do not leave until she is walking out the door) to see EVERYTHING that is involved. It's really the only way you'll know for sure.
Tara
<---wonders if anyone uses REAL ingredients anymore--sugar fruit nuts, cream, butter etc--instead of flavoring chemical cream from a bucket with pudding & jello and calling it "mousse"
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Tara
<---wonders if anyone uses REAL ingredients anymore--sugar fruit nuts, cream, butter etc--instead of flavoring chemical cream from a bucket with pudding & jello and calling it "mousse"
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