(End of December 2014 and January 2015)
So I’m the baker who blogs, right? But you’re asking yourself “Where then are the blogs, why haven’t you posted lately?” While I may be a semi-blogging baker, I’m also a quite busy baker.
December 2014 proved to be all about finding my feet and getting my process to be as efficient as possible. The act of producing a high quantity of biscotti took a number of changes in my baking space. First I thought this would be limited to the layout and rearrangement of my space until I found the greatest ergonomics. Other elements followed – obviously I found how I needed to coordinate mixing & baking my dough with dish-washing and packaging, but what was unexpected was finding aspects of how I need to move in my workspace (really this too is an ergonomics thing but I’m not sure how better to describe it).
By the end of December, having sought the consultation of my SBA associate and a friend who has been further coaching me in sales, I identified that I needed to reduce my cost of labor. Please don’t mistake this as meaning I found I needed to pay my employees less because I am all of my employees – my costs where in my time and energy (and by the way, for the sake of my company, I’m not paying myself yet). In producing for businesses to sell my product, I had been offering that they could order any of my flavours, which had me drawing from a wide assortment of ingredients to make a variety of biscotto flavours having to wash my equipment at every turn.
Starting in January I made a shift – every location would regularly receive two flavours, Double Chocolate and Almond, and the flavour-of-the-month, with January being Espresso (a little caffeine to start the new year you see). I’m happy about this approach, not just for the efficiency of my baking production, but because I like what this does with presenting the public with my flavours – two tried and true flavours and one highlight.
TO BE CLEAR – Anyone wanting to place a retail order direct from WIBC may purchase from the complete flavour list of biscotti and shortbread.
So what’s the score-board look like now at the end of two months?
When I’m in the bakery my production is flowing. My company has established business with a few new groceries and restaurants and private orders are beginning to come in. Frankly, WIBC is operating below viability but I’m seeing good growth in a short amount of time. The lack of business has been an asset, giving me not only time to reach additional businesses but also to be able to refine my process with available time.
Getting placed in restaurants and stores has been going okay, however I’ve needed to get more locations faster. Frankly, I’m concerned about running out of my start-up funding before the company takes … which may well be a legit concern or may just be common new-small-business jitters. I’ve been told that there is good money to be made with selling at area festivals / events / conventions and I’ve begun looking into attending a list that has kindly been shared with me by a fellow small business person.
Whatever the case, I keep thinking back to a paper in college – moreover the subject. I wrote on the 100th Battalion & 442nd Regimental Combat Team – the all-Japanese American soldiers of WWII. Without going into a dissertation on the subject here, I will say it is a fascinating, powerful, and inspiring piece of history and I encourage everyone to do some research. Those men had a motto – “Go For Broke”. All out – that’s how they worked and that’s how they played – that’s how they gambled and that’s how they fought. Every time I wonder if the up-hill to this company is too up-hill, I remember their astounding trials & tribulations and I think “Go For Broke”.
I also remember something I learned from Journey …
Don’t Stop Believin’,