Yesterday was a big day, and today has been at least as big.
Around November 2015 I came to realize a number of issues for me/WIBC to continue doing business as it has during the past year+. To this end, I identified that I wanted to keep going with a baking business in a different form and would need to cease my production of baked goods. Yesterday & today I informed the managers of the various businesses WIBC sells product through, and today I’ve made my first general-public announcements. It is my aim to transition (or in business language “pivot”) WIBC into a company that is about baking & other food preparation.
A number of things have gone very well for WIBC as a production baking company – particularly for being in business just over a year. Of these attributes I have brand & product recognition, a loyal customer base, and the company has broken even. The challenges, on the other hand, are numerous – and every new business has these – and as a small business owner you keep your chin up, eyes forward, and you constantly exercise your resourcefulness muscle.
In my case & for WIBC, there are a few primary issues and myriad secondary issues. More than anything, based on hard data & my objective considerations, the company is not making enough money to be able to grow both as a company and to where I can help provide people in my community with much needed employment (these are related). Additionally I have found the demands of this particular form of business to be very ‘grindstone’ – my passion for cooking lays in creating recipes and sharing the enjoyment of good food with others, and the labour involved in mass production leaves little time for any of this.
As said, I look to turn WIBC into a company ‘about food’ sharing my passion for creating recipes & the enjoyment of good food – but what does this mean & how do I intend to do it?
My plan is to start with producing cookbooks* and grow into presenting cooking videos and classes. Since my November awareness I have started work on my first cookbook and I am PLEASED to say that this is already going very well! At present it will feature the recipes for all WIBC products along with the recipes I had intended to bring to market – around 50 or more recipes along with other interesting beverage & cooking to-dos.
Some individuals may view the changes I am making to WIBC as meaning that the company has somehow failed or been unsuccessful – that would be a mistake, short sighted, and even to say dismissive. In no way do I consider the past year, three months and three days to be in any way bad, in error, or failed – horrendously challenging at times, sure, however never unsuccessful**. I am glad to have tried my hand at making a production baking company; I believe I have developed as an individual, a professional, and as a business person. Also important to me, given the ingredients I chose to use and not use in my WIBC products, is having to helped further the local food movement both in content & concept. From these past 428 days I have many experiences that I am grateful for and will always remember.
In practical terms ceasing production is relatively easy – on the day I determine as my last I will discontinue baking & deliveries, pack up my kitchen supplies and go home. On a personal level however, while I see ‘brighter horizons’ ahead, stopping what I have been doing is not without difficulty – I have a lot of time invested in WIBC, enthusiasm for the products I have brought to market, and the relationships that I have built with others are significant to me. While I am not closed to the idea of some day re-launching as a production baking company – it all depends on where my ‘about food’ cookbook-etc approach to WIBC leads and what looks like I will enjoy doing. In the mean time as an accent to the new direction of WIBC I may consider re-launching as a cottage business – for now, however, my focus is on everything ahead & I am excited however about what I’m going toward.
As I worked toward launching WIBC I referred to the Journey song “Don’t Stop Believin’”. I had a dream of launching a baking business – and I’ve done it! Now it’s just changing. I am thankful for the support I have received from my customers – individuals who I share the view with that food should be tasty, healthy, and made locally – and I am grateful for the loving support my friends & family gave me when I started this venture and that they continued to give me when I said that I am looking to modify WIBC. I will be pleased to have each of you join me as WIBC grows in this new direction.
Don’t Stop Believing – I still do!
All the Best, Don
Whidbey Island Baking Company – Owner & Soon-To-Be Author
* Before anyone (else) says something about the amount of effort and the years of work it takes for a company to begin to see a profit OR that you don’t make any money off of writing – trust me, I know already.
** Consider what I have done leading up to and during this production period of my business…
- Founded a business with name, logo, and image
- Developed & brought to market an array of original products
- Established brand & product recognition in the market
- Website development & online marketing
- Managed all financial aspects of the company including purchasing, accounting, and taxes
- Cultivated personal business relations with outside companies
- Lead my business & support staff to markets & sales events
- Contributed to local food banks & connected with military service personnel & their families by offering a military discount