Well, this has been an interesting read!
I am not beholden to anyone on Cake Central. I do appreciate the wisdom of those with unique/extensive skills and have learned so very much from many amazing individuals.
For the life of me, I can't understand how you can take something so personally when you ask for other people's input! Seriously, people are going to respond to your post BASED ON THEIR PERSPECTIVE.
In my years on CC as a lurker, then a member I've been aware of SCP and Jason's particular expertise or area of interest. In SCPs case, it is her years of marketing and business experience. I know less about Jason, but have always read his posts to glean tidbits of information I may not have come across before.
Kelly M, IMO has a lot to offer too! Several years ago I purchased Cake Boss, and would recommend it to any small cake business owner who needs assistance in setting up a bookkeeping system to keep track of everything.
You see, we all have something to offer! When I responded to the OP's original request for input, MY main perspective was based on MY experience. What is your core business? Does it make you happy? Do you want to change? etc etc. I know from MY experience that there is only so much you can do in a day, before you start spreading yourself too thin! All things being equal, I would rather do something that makes me happy, than drudgery that yields an extra $400 a month profit. I can make one more wedding cake a month and get that profit without changing one thing about MY routine, my family's lives and needs and my business model. See? We all have something to offer, folks.
One thing I haven't posted much about is my past experience as a young entrepreneur (aged 19-20). I had saved up $10,000 as a teen working in both family business and a department store. I invested money (interest rates were high in the 1980s) in term deposits/security bonds. I seized an opportunity to set up from the bare bones my first business at age 20. It was a commercial/industrial estate food business. We serviced workers for morning tea/lunches and takeaway dinners, plus did catering for all the local businesses in the area. I bought every single piece of equipment for my shop at auction (except for the oven/cooktop/deep fryer unit). I researched building codes and made everything compliant and legal myself. Devised the menu, did the publicity. Hired and managed staff. Everything. I did this while also going to university studying for an economics degree and then my physiotherapy degree.
I built up the business goodwill and reputation for the sole purpose of SELLING the business as a going concern to help fund my ongoing university studies. I had help from my mother with the portion of property on which the business was based. As her return for her initial support (providing the empty space for me to build in on her property) she has received the rent from every subsequent owner of this same business, for the last 20 years.
What is interesting to ME is how many times my little business has changed hands in 20 years. Probably 15-17 times. Probably 12-13 have been abject failures. My mother, the landlord, has seen it over and over again, in good economic climates and in recession...the excited, blinkered wannabes with no business concept, no food making knowledge or training, and no business plan signing a 5 year lease in order to run this simple "lunchtime" operation on the weird belief that it will be easy hours and loads of money for doing very little. Over and over, we have seen rent falling behind, food standards slipping (food being kept too long, menu choices diminishing), hours being shortened, staff numbers being cut and finally the business owners dipping into their savings to pay their rent and other bills, before closing their doors with a whimper (often before they have found someone to take over their lease! Meaning they still need to pay the rent without actually running a business in the premises). Heartbreakingly, several have purchased the business as a retirement plan, on their savings. Several have ended up splitting from their spouses who had been expected to contribute to the failing business.
Look, failing in business HAPPENS. Even if its 50%, do you really think you are BETTER off WITHOUT a business plan, an good grasp of bookkeeping, and full knowledge of the laws and requirements of your industry? I, for one, can understand a highly experienced business forum member wanting to lay down, in plain English, the truth about what you need to be aware of and what you might want to consider when you are handed a "hot business opportunity''. Frankly I am amazed when someone takes so much time out of their free time to write a comprehensive response to a complete stranger.
This is the business forum on Cake Central. Surely we don't need to sugarcoat things here? Please, when someone writes you a 6-paragraph response chock-full of points to consider, it is not because they are a troll who wishes you ill! Its because they are being helpful in their area of expertise. When we are posting on the internet, its hard to gauge another person's intent. Maybe its best to give the generous post-er the benefit of the doubt, eh?
To the OP, good luck with the new business. As per my original response to you - I hope it fulfills you and makes you happy