From the outside looking in, my journey to entrepreneurship seems picture perfect. All the headlines read “girl next door and devoted wife turns successful entrepreneur.” When in fact, starting a business—especially in a small suburban town like Madre Linda—is no easy feat.
Baking has always been therapeutic for me, call it cathartic almost. After the sudden death of my brother Forty, Joe and I moved here to Madre Linda with Henry for a new beginning. Hence the name, A Fresh Tart. I just wanted to do the thing that I loved the most and I never expected it to be successful.
The road I decided to take is not conventional nor recommended and there are some things that I wish I knew before starting out. Much like a delicious blueberry muffin recipe, the secret to a successful business lies in the ingredients.
Recipe for success
1. Have a Plan
If you really want to start a business, you need to address the reasons you think you can’t start a business and get rid of them (figuratively, of course). Countless people dream of becoming entrepreneurs, but they never do. They’re burdened with excuses and fears of failing. From money to time to responsibilities, you can make a million cases for not starting a business.
I have always had a passion for baking and a dream of having a shop of my own but you can say that I made the decision to open the bakery quite… impulsively. I definitely wish that I had a business plan and clear understanding of my finances when I signed the lease on a whim. Which brings me to my next point…
2. Keep track of your finances
As cliche as it sounds, don’t mix family and business. That is if your family is anything like mine (google it). I signed the shop’s lease on the spot, thinking I had my finances in check. Well, I was wrong. Luckily, I had enough to make it work but that’s not always the case. As a small business owner, you shouldn’t be afraid to seek out alternative financing.
Starting a business is expensive and initial operating expenses can be high. I wish I used an accounting software to give me all my financials at-a-glance before slashing my way into entrepreneurship.
By the way, a custom built glass food storage locker is not a write off (apparently) so be sure to double check what’s actually classified as a business expense.
3. Be a keen observer, and see feedback as an opportunity to grow
I wanted to open a bakery in a suburban town that’s primarily gluten and sugar free. Look, they don’t even have regular flour here. If I didn’t cater to this demographic and understand their needs then I wouldn’t be where I am today. Instead of letting myself feel defeated by this sugar void town, I observed and adapted.
Listen to what others have to say—friends, family, experts, even yourself. When it comes to things that have to do with your entrepreneurial goals, be a sponge. As you learn, start to work out the idea in your head. Write things down. Keep notes from all the resources you come across to develop your plan.
When you tell people about your new venture, read their body language. Do they like the idea? Or, are they just being nice and really think you’re going in the wrong direction?
If you’re worried what people will think about your business, you need to get over it. If you can’t convince consumers to buy from you and support your company, it’s difficult to make money. Other people’s opinions might drive you crazy and as much as you want to kill them…don’t. Just buy all the coconut flour and natural sweeteners instead, trust me.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Even when a business is on the right track, unexpected issues and growth and improvement opportunities can quickly pop up. And they always do—when you least expect it, of course. Addressing these problems and opportunities immediately is the recipe to success for long-term stability and prosperity.
Mistakes can happen, so it’s important to lean on your support system to help clean up some of the messes. Quick shoutout to Joe, my amazing husband and partner in crime.
5. Let Passion Drive You
One of the most important ingredients in a successful business is passion. Passion will consistently drive you to improve your process so your business grows.
That said, don’t let passion take over all your decisions. Passion will move you forward, but knowledge will point you in the right direction. If you steer with only passion, then you might ultimately drive your business to it’s death.
Now that I’ve shared my recipe to success you’re well equipped to start a business of your own. Now go on, take a stab at it.