Am I Headed In The Right Direction?

Business By CreativeGirl220 Updated 2 May 2011 , 3:13pm by CreativeGirl220

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CreativeGirl220 Posted 29 Apr 2011 , 7:39am
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My goal is to own my own bakery some day. I still have lots to learn in the cake world but I absolutely love baking and decorating. I will be taking classes at Michael's soon and practice makes perfect so I will be making cakes for little get togethers etc. I'm also going to try and work at a local bakery. Right now I am doing a double major in college which is Hospitality mngmt and Human Resources. Then of course I will be doing Baking & Pastry Arts and I'm thinking about getting a degree in Marketing so I can know how to sell sell sell. What I want to know is am I taking the right steps in trying to own a bakery someday? What did you do to get to where you are today with your cake business? Did you actually go to school for it? or did you read a lot of books and learned that way business wise? I also want to know is it necessary to get a degree in Business Admin to succeed in owning a business? I just want to know am I taking the right steps. Thanks in advance.

8 replies
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scp1127 Posted 29 Apr 2011 , 7:49am
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You need accounting much more than marketing. Economics is also important. It will help you understand the business world around you and help you survive downturns in the economy... like we are having now. Adult Ed classes in running a business are helpful.

Your two majors will help you land a job in a company someone else owns. They will not help you run your own. Think about what you really want to do... own a bakery or work in one. There isn't a wrong answer, just two very different paths to take.

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LindaF144a Posted 29 Apr 2011 , 7:55pm
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I can't figure out the direction for you. But I just had the wonderful opportunity to spend some time with Dana, the guy who won the Cake Boss contest over the summer. He said he went to culinary school and they touched on cake decorating for out 1 second. Everything he has learned, he did on his own. He said he went to culinary school because at first he thought he would be a restaurant owner. It was during a class one day that he saw the pastry guys looked like they were having fun while he was chopping onions and the rest is history.

Being that you are a deciding point, I thought his story might help you and others too. I found him to be a gracious, sweet man, just like he came across on the contest. His story was an interesting one and a great thing for others to hear.

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Kiddiekakes Posted 29 Apr 2011 , 8:40pm
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Sometimes the ones who are self made business people who learned from their families such as Buddy on Cake Boss learn way more than any schooling can ever teach you.Best experience is to do it...I wouldn't spend the thousands of dollars on culinary school if you are only interested in one aspect.

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Stephy42088 Posted 29 Apr 2011 , 9:02pm
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I have a marketing degree and it has helped soooo much! I went to a small liberal arts school so we also touched on finance, economics and accounting which definitely helped. Getting a business degree will help you more than a culinary degree for sure. the majority of owning a bakery is running a business and knowing how to do it correctly. Also find a good mentor who is a seasoned business professional who can guide you in the right direction for running your business and is there to answer any questions you may have. Luckily for me, everyone is my family is a business owner so I get a lot of guidance from them but you can find great helpful people in your local Score or SBA office. Good luck! icon_smile.gif

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scp1127 Posted 29 Apr 2011 , 9:09pm
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Buddy's father was a business genius. That bakery didn't just happen. Their family had been bakers in Italy. His dad got the opportunity to buy the bakery from the original Carlo. Buddy's dad built that little bakery into a business that supported his entire family of five children and their families in an upper class lifestyle. Buddy was smart enough to take the gift his father gave and he took it to new heights.

People who don't go the conventional route to business success are self-taught. That means they worked harder and smarter than what they could have gotten out of college. They had the self-discipline to teach themselves the same education that they would have otherwise received. They dreamed up something unique and sunk their souls into it, living that concept day and night. Hard work, a great idea, and a high level of business smarts make a successful business. There aren't any shortcuts.

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jessdessertsblog Posted 29 Apr 2011 , 11:00pm
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I just wanted to reply because about two years ago I was in your shoes.
I think the best thing for myself was getting a job in a bakery. It has really opened my eyes to the many hats that a business owner wears. The business that I work for is not even a year old yet and I have learned so much. I enjoy working there because I am learning and its not my business, so if we make mistakes, its not my money. I like the bakery I work for, but its not the type of cakes that I would make on my own. I enjoy working in a small business because I have gotten to do a little bit of everything, from washing dishes, to being the head baker, to filling in for a cake decorator who was sick, to taking customer orders behind the counter, and so on. I have learned what systems work and what do not work.

Numbers are important. They can make or break a business. You want to be good at math and have employees that are good with math. You need to figure out cake size charts, how many cakes you can make per week, how many part time people you can hire, what your hours are. Its just numbers all the time. We have employees that can't even do simple math and want you to do it for them. It drives me crazy.

Marketing is great, that is what my minor was in college. I did some internships at places that were not pastry related, but I still learned a lot. I use the skills I learned there at the place I work at now.

I think the pastry classes are a great idea. They will help you build up your speed and your skills. Stick with your plan and come up with some managable steps.

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indydebi Posted 30 Apr 2011 , 7:48am
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and not just knowing math, but being able to do analytical math.

You have $4000 in cakes scheduled for this week and $2000 scheduled for next week. How many hours will your staff get in this two week period?

If you budget 10% for payroll, then you have $400 the first week and $200 the 2nd week for payroll. How many hours is that? Let's keep it simple and say you pay your folks $10/hour, and that includes the payroll taxes you have to pay on top of their hourly rate. That means you can schedule 40 hrs the 1st week and 20 hrs the second week. whether that's one person or divided up between 2 or 3 people is up to you.

but wait .... what's the minimum number of hours needed just to run the shop and do the basics? You might HAVE to have 25 hrs of add'l man-hours help every week, so you could end up 5 hours short the first week, because you have to move 5 of those hrs to the 2nd week, just to keep your head afloat.

Doing the math is easy ..... knowing the story that those numbers are telling you is a whole 'nuther skill!! thumbs_up.gif

(Class dismissed!) icon_biggrin.gif

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CreativeGirl220 Posted 2 May 2011 , 3:13pm
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Wow! Thank you everyone the advice was great. To LindaF144A you're right, I actually was in that same exact situation. I went to culinary school and I wasn't at the point where I could take the cake decorating class. In the end I realized Culinary Arts wasn't for me that I should do Baking & Pastry arts. I just decided I'm gonna try and decorate a few cakes and ppl were impressed at my creations but I do understand I need 2 perfect myself a lot if I wanna do a business.

To Jessdessertsblog: This summer I actually do plan on trying to work at a bakery. I figured thats the best way to start, to truly get to know the business. Actually I believe I am convinced that I need to switch my major to marketing and in the mean time practice practice practice on doing cakes.

Thanks everyone!!!

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