For quite some time, I have struggled under the burden of a rapidly increasing customer base. The patronage I enjoy now could be said to have quadrupled compared to when I started my cake business in 2014, especially in ways I never really envisioned it would. Unfortunately, my dilemma is entirely a product of my unpreparedness for growth, and sadly, my lack of foresight.
Just the other day, I was educated further on my situation by a big brother friend of mine, who is quite committed to ensuring I make the most of the traction I have gained so far. One of the things he said to me, that stuck like glue, was that “opportunities like this will not remain forever if I didn’t seize them.” It didn’t occur to me at the time that my problem “of too many customers” was actually a blessing – clearly not in any disguise whatsoever.
Granted, I do have a good product, hence the reason for the expanding clientele. However, it doesn’t matter how committed I am to making delicious cakes. Without a comprehensive plan and implementation dedicated to managing growth, I would end up falling flat on my ass as a businessman. And consequently, Sam’s Cakes & Desserts would end up joining the group of small businesses that die out before or after 5 years.
I believe everything I have learned so far, including the words of advice, gleaned from friends and experienced entrepreneurs point to one single word: Readiness. In my case, it is not too late. There is still time to make hay for the sun still shines favorably upon me.
So if you are like me, with no sense of business, “it don’ matter” for we can yet cure ourselves. We can learn to enjoy doing what we love and at the same time make money effectively. We just have to find how to make it happen. I have begun some courses on how to better manage my customers and my finances. Also, learning a few things about branding and how I could harness the powers of creating the right perception for my evolving enterprise.
I once had no time for all this education, but necessity has brought me down to my knees. In the beginning, I naively thought going to pastry school was sufficient. “Just make awesome cakes and the money will come sloshing down.” Now I know better.
Nothing is more important to me now than being ready for tomorrow. I am afraid to fail, and I think that’s healthy and it is good for me. Making cakes is what I love. How can I not change for the better? Of course, thanks to my mentor friend who didn’t fall short in driving home the reality of things. I remember how he said, with extreme anguish, “You have gotten your breakthrough already but you are just failing to realize it.”
When you think about it, the picture he painted regarding the influence I had and the number of patrons that favored me was of a prospector who had finally struck gold but didn’t know it. Ouch! I know. Well, what can I say, at least I am now, more than ever, inclined to be a better businessman. For that am grateful.
Photo Credit: Craftsy