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I've FLIPPIN' HAD IT!! Would like to sell my shop. - Page 2

post #16 of 50
i have my shop up for sale...i'm planning on downsizing.

i know exactly what yu mean, i'm in my seventh year...the first couple of years...(after my partner left) i'd go to bed dead tired, and cry cause it just seemed like too much.

you know you DO NOT have to serve everyone....if they hack me off...i send them packing "soup nazi" style....no kidding, i'm not afraid to "fire" pain in a$$ customers....i don't care if they get hacked off...i don't want them to come back anyway.

95% of my customers are lovely now...but i still get hacked off sometimes...people just don't know how to act.

i've been in other businesses....you always got the "turkeys".

geeze you got me curious as to what was "the straw that broke the camels back."

i think you need some rest, and think if selling is what you really want.

i'm 51...(geeze i can't believe it)...i still love decorating, but i'm tired, i think if i downsize, i can make a living...and still have a life.

my heart goes out to you...((((((((hugz))))))))
post #17 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul353

As Indi suggested, Read the book "The e-Myth" by Michael Gerber immediately. You can get it locally at a bookstore or download it online.



YES!! Do it today! I've just read this and I'm glad I read it before I formally start my business. It takes a big step back to look at exactly the problems you're facing. The case study lady even runs a pie shop.

Whatever you choose to do, I wish you luck and a good nights' sleep. icon_smile.gif
- Natalie
"Blessed are the cheesemakers?"
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- Natalie
"Blessed are the cheesemakers?"
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post #18 of 50
Thread Starter 
Yes, thanks everyone. Came in this morning to find so many replies on here; that is so nice.

I have been considering selling for about a year now. So it's nothing sudden. Yesterday I just had one more woman who didn't like her cake.

Most people are overjoyed with their order; then that tiny percentage is not JUST unhappy, they are like fireballs of rage! I just want to fix it, but they just want to use me as a punching bag.
When I asked her what she wanted, she assumed I was being rude. I tried to explain to her that I really did want to know what she wanted, so I could change it to her liking. Her sister ordered it, so of course she didn't get what she wanted; it didn't occur to her that she should take it up with her sister icon_confused.gif Clearly we were at fault.

2 weeks ago I had a woman who was so unhappy that I wrote her son's name on the cake in white instead of blue, she wrote a letter to the BBB. I offered to fix it as soon as she called me to complain. She said I had to send a decorator out to her house an HOUR away immediately or she wanted a full refund of her whopping 30 bucks.
The BBB complaint letter is full of lies; I assume the truth sounded as stupid as it was, so she embellished...majorly. This will end with me having an "F" rating, as I won't give her a penny. Not that I give a crap about the $30 bucks (hell, I gave yesterday's lady her $60 cake for free just to shut her up.) but I won't indulge this lunatic. I tried to get off the phone with her peaceably many times, but after she screamed at me for 20 minutes, I had to hang up. She then called back dozens of times on end, and I had to call the police I was so afraid she was going to do something crazy.
I have 3 lovely employees. They get their share of the nutjobs, but when it comes down to settling it, it's all me. It's hard because I don't see my children, and I'm here all hours. Then after no sleep, I get screamed at by weirdos, as if I'm trying to pull one over on someone.
I feel like I'm being pummeled sometimes.

Yes, my books are a mess. I will call a bookeeper today. I do use a CPA, as well as a payroll service, but none of that stuff is my cup of tea, and I really suck at it. I'm okay with numbers, but the taxes and endless paperwork is completely mind-boggling to me.

I have looked for e-myth in my barnes&noble, but they don't have it. I will have to order it online.

Other mom&pop businesses around me are going under like crazy. I know I am lucky that my business keeps picking up. But I have gained weight, my head and stomach hurt often, my heart races, I feel awful, and I have nightmares about cake constantly. On my days off I get totally upset if we don't hurry up and do something relaxing!! It's crazy, and I feel crazy!

I don't know who I might hire that would handle irate customers for me. And it's always a judgement call on what to do. If we've filled their cake with the wrong filling or something I give money back... if I can repair it, I offer. Some people just go totally crazy, and you don't know what to do for them... and they make you want to choke them, not give them something.

Ugh, I could vent all day, but there's mucho work to do, and I don't know that it will help. I have a fear now, that everyone who walks in the door to pick up their order will go ballistic over something. Like waiting for a bomb to go off in my face. I just don't know how long I want to continue this!
post #19 of 50
Thread Starter 
Oh, and BTW, as much as I would love to divulge my shop's name and website so you guys could get a better feel for my situation, I just can't....

Although I am super friendly with my local competition, and feel that there's enough work for all of us, I found on other boards that my posts were being watched/tracked by a couple of them. It was a little weird. So I don't want to expose my belly here. I've got to be incognito.
icon_cool.gif
I'll say that we are in the United States, west of the Mississippi. But that's it! tapedshut.gif
post #20 of 50
Buttercupmama~

Just wanted to say I'm sorry that things are so stressful for you. It's a shame that these nutjobs are ruining the fun in your business.

There are people out there who take everything to extreme. I honestly believe customer service is the hardest job out there, and as the owner you are the customer service too!

If you are truly going to sell your business, I wish you all the best! icon_wink.gif
post #21 of 50
buttercup mamma.........before i opened my place i wored at several bakeries...so i've seen a few things.

if it gets around that you'll give them as cake for free if they b!tch about it....the word gets out...and when someone wants a cake they can't afford...they'll play that scam on ya.

if they don't like it...give them a refund...BUT NEVER EVER GIVE A FREE CAKE AWAY AGAIN.

i used to have that a bit....but after they found out "homie don't play dat"...i haven't had that in years and years.

give the cake away to a nice person...or the womens shelter or something.

it's awful that people can be so rotten...but they are,

GOOD LUCK
post #22 of 50
As some of you know, I had my shop up for sale. Well, I am in the last stage of getting it sold. And.....I am so happy! We have all our negotiations met and we are waiting for the lawyer to draw up the contract this week. I ended up selling to my employee I hired about six months ago.

I only did it for a year and a half and I am not having fun anymore. I actually loved the start up process of the business... getting all the construction done, getting permits, etc. I made a little money on the deal, which isn't bad for a year of work.

I wasn't sure either if I wanted to sell or even how. So when I decided to do it, I had the mind set that if it happened it would have to be just right or I wouldn't do it. I would have been fine to just keep doing it and try again another time. I put an ad on Craigslist and got a lot of responses, only a few were serious. I did not use a realtor and told the people who wrote or called that they had to be serious and have finances for the purchase before I went any further with them. I didn't ask to see anything but said if we got to that point, they would have to verify they had the finances, just like a realtor would do. They understood and you knew who was serious and who wasn't.

Anyway, once my employee heard I was selling, she apparently thought about it and got her financing ready before she approached me with an offer. We negotioated about a week and covered everything we each wanted, now we are waiting for it to be drawn up. I still am thinking if it happens, it will be nice and if it falls through, it will be okay.

I am giving her eight hours a week for six weeks of my time for training, so I will be able to ease out emotionally icon_smile.gif

It sounds like you are in the same position I am. You don't HAVE to sell and settle for anything. I am and was in the black after being open three months. You can always do some advertising and see what happens. Do your research on selling a business. I don't know if you have sold a business before, I hadn't. So this too is a learning experience.

I think you should just put a few free ads out and some feelers and see if anything bites. It can't hurt. I think it is much easier to stick to your guns and what you want when you are not in the position of having to sell but want too. Good luck and keep us up to date on what you decide to do.
Your procrastination is not my emergency!
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Your procrastination is not my emergency!
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post #23 of 50
Buttercup, I think you are just too nice and people are taking advantage of that. I think several people gave you some good ideas on how to handle people complaining. I don't like working with people because I can't deal with "the customer is always right". Well, when you are your own boss, you make the rules. When people want to order a cake, make them come by your shop, sketch out precisely what they want and have them sign a contract. The problems you seem to be having would probably make anyone want to quit!

Hang in there!
post #24 of 50
You could definitely benefit, as we all could, from a 'Mary Alice'! I am training my daughters to be like her in their spare time...so hopefully at least one of them would be able to handle any of those types of situations should they arise. I believe wholeheartedly in customer service 'til it hurts...I just didn't mean 'til it kills...I've acquired the attitude like LittleCakes..."If you don't want me to fix it, here's your money...I'll keep the cake...there's the door." Daggum...if you fix it, they pay full price, if they take it as is (if the company...order taker-decorator ...isn't at fault but the person doing the ordering (like ordering blue because that's what THEY thought it was going to be and it turned out that it was supposed to be red) this does NOT apply...no discount...no nothing...maybe an offer to change it if possible)), I might would knock 10% off...no more...otherwise, there's the dang door! I see it so much more now...customers(not necessarily mine) trying to make business employees kiss their ass for their business. It truly sickens me.

Post a sign in your shop...."Verify order before leaving. We can't fix it once it leaves the bakery" OSLT
"Be the change you want to see in the world."- Mahatma Gandhi

miniature cake tutorial

http://www.youtube.com/user/MyNewSneakers?feature=mhsn
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"Be the change you want to see in the world."- Mahatma Gandhi

miniature cake tutorial

http://www.youtube.com/user/MyNewSneakers?feature=mhsn
Reply
post #25 of 50
Hang in there..there are crazies everywhere! I am a respiratory therapist by day and there is not a day that goes by that I dont want to do "pillow therapy" on some ungrateful full of themselves jacka**! You would be shocked at how many people want the world and expect the best for NOTHING! I was at target the other day and a lady in front of me was complaining about a .10 difference in the cost of an item. I felt like giving her a dollar and telling her to shut it and get out of my way.

Wow..I must be cranky today. Anyway focus on the appreciative customers and as another poster said..go cake Nazi on them!
If I only had a piece of cake.....
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If I only had a piece of cake.....
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post #26 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by kbak37

I felt like giving her a dollar and telling her to shut it and get out of my way.



icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif
Thinking about dealing with people that are undealable, makes me never want to do this as a business. My friends that I make cakes for are usually so happy with anything, cause they ask me if they want to make a 3 tier cake will one cake mix work?! icon_confused.gif And does Safeway have those pretty cake pans shaped like flowers??? So yeah, my cake could be as crooked as a politician and they love it!!
post #27 of 50
I have owned a store for 14 years and believe me....I know what you are feeling. I remember calling my accountant one day and when he answered the phone, my first question was, "How much is my shop worth if I were to sell it!!?" icon_cry.gif

He chuckled and said,"Having a bad week?" We talked for awhile and I later decided I was not ready to sell.

Everyone has ups and downs. Try to really list what the aggravations are by priority, then see if there is any way to resolve any of those issues. If you feel like you can't and it is all too much of a burden, then find a way out. It is no sense to end up with a "crash" over cakes.

Some helps:
Keep a blacklist...really. If you have an unreasonable customer, then politely tell them you are not comfortable accepting any more orders....or tell them you are booked full with orders....whatever. Do your work for people who appreciate the effort.

We all have misread peoples visions for their cake, but try to have a check and balance with your order taking. Take time to repeat what you have written down and ask, "Did I include everything you are wanting? Do I need to make ay changes to the instructions? And always repeat the Date they are wanting the cake. You can even have them sign the order sheet if they are present, or on the phone. say, "Okay, I have your verbal agreement that the order is correct." That lays some of the responsibility on them. We are not mind readers!!

Yes, if one of our employees errors, we take the heat, not them. That is part of our responsibility as the store owner/manager. I actually cried the first few times there were problems (in the back room.) Now my skin has toughened. I do try my best to correct things. If they refuse, then that is their problem. I have gone to a few homes and corrected problems. I have also corrected problems they caused. In the end, I feel like I have done my best. I do discount for mistakes if I am liable for the errors. If they dumped the cake on the way home, then that is their fault. I will fix it, but no He complains that every time I hire more help, it doesn't ease my time commitment. I do have an assistant manager now that I trust and I can take some time off now, but it is still long days and 6 days a week most of the time. You are going to have to judge what your limits are and see if there is any compromise.

Congratulations on a successful business. Open less than 3 years and approaching $200,000 in sales is an accomplishment.

Let us know how it goes and cry on our shoulders if you need to!!
post #28 of 50
Thread Starter 
Okay, not to bump this up, but I didn't want you all to think I disappeared and just went off the deep end. (Although occasionally on my way to work I'll think, "What would happen if I just kept on driving....?")

I'm going to stick it out with this business until mid-summer and see how I feel at that point. In the meantime, I'm going to do the very best I can to perfect every aspect of my business. That way, IF and WHEN I'm ready to sell, I will have my ducks in a row.

*I have picked up the e-myth, and am on the second chapter.
*I have an inquiry submitted to a local bookkeeper.
*I am making fresh lists of the things I have been putting off, and re-committing to get some of those extra pesky things done each day.
*Blacklist of customers we no longer feel comfortable serving is posted for the staff, so names are quickly recognized.
*I have begun an order for some fresh signage with my local sign shop; one of which will be a beautifully professional "Policies" sign, which will be lovingly displayed by my register. *sparkle!*

My employees and I had a brainstorming session today regarding the Policies sign. I could go on and on with this thing,(Picture me dropping the end of a long scroll to the floor that keeps on rolling) but I know the policies should be short and sweet. Here are a couple we came up with, but they are wordy, and may be unnecessary??
PLEASE give input on specifics/if I'm forgetting anything; this sign will be pricey (it's a beauty) and I don't want to revise it anytime soon:

*We want you to be thrilled with your cake! In the event that you are unhappy with the finished design upon pick-up, we will make every effort to change it to your liking while you wait!
*7 days notice is required to place your order; orders placed with less than 7 days are subject to a rush charge.
*No changes or cancellations will be allowed with less than 7 days notice.
*Once cake has left the premises, no refunds will be given.
*We cannot be held responsible for cakes damaged after leaving our shop; cakes are fragile...please use good judgement regarding transport and harsh weather!

And we're not total jerks, if the b-day kid gets sick, we let mom out of it! If they get the wrong flavor inside, we'll give them a new cake, or their money back, etc. But it's impossible to list every scenario. Ugh!
And with these policies I am trying to avoid the folks who keep their cool in store, then call me later to scream about it. Let me fix it on the spot, or forever hold your peace, people!

Okay, sorry so long... if you have input, spill it.
Thanks,

icon_rolleyes.gif

And thanks for everyone's support and opinions. I really appreciate the support and words of wisdom!
post #29 of 50
Your list of changes looks great! One thing that you didn't post (but you probably meant to) is to take time out for yourself and your family. They come first before business! I know that it is hard to do, but it is really what we live for. icon_lol.gif

Congrats on weeding out those awful customers! thumbs_up.gif
post #30 of 50
heyyyyyyy...that sounds too cute to overlook...

"... speak now or forever hold your peace!"

There's gotta be a cute cake sign out of that! Somewhere!
"Be the change you want to see in the world."- Mahatma Gandhi

miniature cake tutorial

http://www.youtube.com/user/MyNewSneakers?feature=mhsn
Reply
"Be the change you want to see in the world."- Mahatma Gandhi

miniature cake tutorial

http://www.youtube.com/user/MyNewSneakers?feature=mhsn
Reply
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