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how do you know when you're ready? - Page 2

post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stitches View Post

I've heard this over and over....it really scares me because in order to be in a high traffic area it's premium dollar rents (in my area). There is a spot I've been eyeing that is right behind the main downtown shopping street at 1/4 of the price the main street rentals are. I want it soooo bad, but the fear that no one will walk around the block to me stops me from renting it.

 

How are the other businesses doing on the block behind the main street?  If they get enough traffic, you may have a chance.  You could always find a park bench and do a traffic study a couple of days and see how many people venture back there.

 

Liz

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post #17 of 26

On a similar topic, our Main Street organization recently sent out a flyer saying that "70% of consumer spending happens after 5 p.m."  He sent that fact out as a wake up call to downtown/retail businesses that are only open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  I can't speak to the accuracy of the data, but his assertion was that you MIGHT be better off being open 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. (at least a few days a week).  In cities and towns with lots of office workers, he might be right.  We have lots of factory workers though, and they can work any shift, so I'm not sure how well it applies to a city like ours.

 

Liz

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post #18 of 26
This is all very helpful information
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post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by liz at sugar View Post

On a similar topic, our Main Street organization recently sent out a flyer saying that "70% of consumer spending happens after 5 p.m." 

Liz

One thing I don't get at all is, there are NO bakeries open on Sunday or Mondays with-in a 45 drive from my home in suburban Chicago. Many bakeries have limited hours on Sat. too, like only open until 3:00 p.m.

 

There's a cupcake shop (I used to work at) that's located by one of the busiest breakfast places in town. And they aren't smart enough to be open when those hundreds of people stare into their shop while they are waiting outside in line to get into the restaurant.

 

Having worked in food service for 25* years the reality of the job is you work when everyone else is off of work (my husband hates my line of work for that reason). Too many small shops set their hours for their own convenience instead of what will make the most money for them. 

post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by liz at sugar View Post

 

How are the other businesses doing on the block behind the main street?  If they get enough traffic, you may have a chance.  You could always find a park bench and do a traffic study a couple of days and see how many people venture back there.

 

Liz

There isn't much foot traffic. It's not the shopping area, that block is mainly offices.

 

It's 1/4 block from the train station and I've wondered if I could get commuters buying cinnamon rolls.

 

It's on a one way street next to a Mexican restaurant and bakery on one side and a 3 story building of offices on the other side. Across the street are a few town homes, no business. It's not office buildings that have tons of people working in them on that block, unfortunately.

post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by liz at sugar View Post

... "70% of consumer spending happens after 5 p.m." 

 

It's important to look at our own business plans for guidance. That's an interesting statistic but he doesn't include details. I would assume that this covers restaurants, bars, and entertainment, all of which usually happen after 5 pm. PR and marketing folks are adept at using statistics to their advantage. 

 

Every business is unique in its product line and location. Bakeries are traditionally open in the early morning hours to capture the coffee and donut crowd. When I moved my home bakery to a neighborhood retail store front, I started working at 3 am and opened at 7 am. I worked alone until my counter help arrived at 9. I was quite surprised that from 7-noon I had very little business - mostly neighborhood moms out for a walk and looking for entertainment. My little shop was filled with strollers and annoying questions. "What kind of butter do you use? How thin can I slice a loaf of banana bread? My little Johnny only likes square cookies so why can't you make these cookies in the shape of a small square?" They left my shop saying, "Everything looks so good, we'll be back." Some mornings I had no sales and a countergirl who helped me with small chores but mostly sat around with nothing to do. 

 

After re-evaluating my business plan (product line, advertising, etc.) I decided to change my hours and opened at noon. Many people told me I was wrong and foolish since of course all bakeries had to be open early. But my new hours made me a much happier person. I didn't have to stop working every time a bored mom walked in and I didn't have to pay an employee to sit around. (Those moms did come back in the afternoons and make purchases.)

 

I learned a valuable lesson - every business is unique and it's important to evaluate your own situation.  

 

  

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post #22 of 26

Stitches, our one bakery/cupcake shop is now open 7 days a week!  She says her business on Monday is terrible, I'm not sure why she continues to be open.  Maybe she thinks she absolutely has to be available in case someone wants something.

 

Have you all heard the "salt shaker" story?  It is from a book on a famous restauranteur, and he said a mentor taught him a valuable lesson before he opened his business.  The mentor asked the restauranteur to place the salt and pepper shakers on the table exactly where he wanted them to be placed for business.  So the man did it.  Then his mentor said "but I want my salt over here" and moved the shaker.  Then he said "and I don't want pepper at all", and put it on another table.  The mentor explained to the man that ALL DAY LONG people will want to "move his salt shaker" - they will want you to be open when they want, they will want you to serve this food instead of that, they want you to buy their products, they want you to host live bands, etc., etc., etc.  The mentor told him it is his job to be continually moving his shaker back to where his vision had it placed.  He was reminding the man that his restaurant was formed in his vision, and he would have to work every day to keep it true to that vision.

 

Anyway, our new bakery sure lets her salt shaker get moved often.  She opened up on Sunday because someone requested it.  She occasionally serves all kinds of odd items that don't fit in with cupcakes, because she asks her customers what they want.  (The list included soup, smoothies, pretzels, sandwiches, candy, iced coffee.)  But they are only around for a few days until she gets bored making them.  Maybe she had no idea where her salt shaker should go, and that is why she asks for input?!

 

Liz

Follow me on my Twitter handle: @Sugar_Iowa

Or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SugarFineBakedGoodsAndConfections

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Follow me on my Twitter handle: @Sugar_Iowa

Or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SugarFineBakedGoodsAndConfections

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post #23 of 26

MimiFix - I agree that the statistic above may not be accurate for all markets,  But maybe there is some hopping downtown area in some city where a late night bakery could really make a go of it, where all the young hipsters hang out. :)

 

Sometimes you need to think outside of the box, and that may include what hours you are open - traditional might not get you far!

 

Liz
 

Follow me on my Twitter handle: @Sugar_Iowa

Or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SugarFineBakedGoodsAndConfections

Reply

Follow me on my Twitter handle: @Sugar_Iowa

Or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SugarFineBakedGoodsAndConfections

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post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft View Post


Starting a business is only like having a kid if you were required to pay for all the kid's expenses for the first 18 years of their life before they are born.

 

Love this!!

 

1.  You have to have a Business Plan. 

2.You need LOTS of capital upfront.

3. You need working capital for the first several years since not only will it keep the shop operating,  you will be living off of it. 

4. Be prepared to skip vacations.

5. Be prepared to work 12 hours a day, 6 - 7 days a week.  I did take off 2 days last weekend so my husband and I went out of town,  it was the first time out of town in over a year and I've been in business 4 years now. We used to take 2 vacations a year, minimum.

6. Be prepared lose your social life - you are too busy working.

7.  Be prepared to spend most of your time running your business, not decorating cakes.  If you want to spend your time decorating, it's better to go to work for someone else.

 

No one understands how hard it is to run a business and how hard it is to get good employees and that stay with you. 

 

Number one - make a business plan.  Do your research. There are a lot of templates out there for business plans.  I used several different, some that I got from my local Small Business Association and made them work for me.  

 

Good Luck!

post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by liz at sugar View Post
Have you all heard the "salt shaker" story?  It is from a book on a famous restauranteur, and he said a mentor taught him a valuable lesson before he opened his business.  The mentor asked the restauranteur to place the salt and pepper shakers on the table exactly where he wanted them to be placed for business.  So the man did it.  Then his mentor said "but I want my salt over here" and moved the shaker.  Then he said "and I don't want pepper at all", and put it on another table.  The mentor explained to the man that ALL DAY LONG people will want to "move his salt shaker" - they will want you to be open when they want, they will want you to serve this food instead of that, they want you to buy their products, they want you to host live bands, etc., etc., etc.  The mentor told him it is his job to be continually moving his shaker back to where his vision had it placed.  He was reminding the man that his restaurant was formed in his vision, and he would have to work every day to keep it true to that vision.

 

Anyway, our new bakery sure lets her salt shaker get moved often.  She opened up on Sunday because someone requested it.  She occasionally serves all kinds of odd items that don't fit in with cupcakes, because she asks her customers what they want.  (The list included soup, smoothies, pretzels, sandwiches, candy, iced coffee.)  But they are only around for a few days until she gets bored making them.  Maybe she had no idea where her salt shaker should go, and that is why she asks for input?!

 

Liz

I LOVED that story Liz! Thanks for sharing it.

post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by tracycakes View Post

 

Love this!!

 

1.  You have to have a Business Plan. 

2.You need LOTS of capital upfront.

3. You need working capital for the first several years since not only will it keep the shop operating,  you will be living off of it. 

4. Be prepared to skip vacations.

5. Be prepared to work 12 hours a day, 6 - 7 days a week.  I did take off 2 days last weekend so my husband and I went out of town,  it was the first time out of town in over a year and I've been in business 4 years now. We used to take 2 vacations a year, minimum.

6. Be prepared lose your social life - you are too busy working.

7.  Be prepared to spend most of your time running your business, not decorating cakes.  If you want to spend your time decorating, it's better to go to work for someone else.

 

No one understands how hard it is to run a business and how hard it is to get good employees and that stay with you. 

 

Number one - make a business plan.  Do your research. There are a lot of templates out there for business plans.  I used several different, some that I got from my local Small Business Association and made them work for me.  

 

Good Luck!

Woohoo! I already have no social life and don't get to take vacation!

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