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Where to start?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Ok, if you've read my question about the resident cat, then you know I said that the "work" part was a thread of its own. I've finally wrapped my poor little mind around the thought enough to put it in words....I think!

If things don't pick up here, workwise, as of the end of October, we will close the bakery and both of us hunt new jobs. In all honesty, I think it's time. We're not bringing in enough to pay the overhead and bills, I've been robbing Peter to pay Paul for so long that I'm simply tired.....tired of worrying, tired of not having enough money for things......tired of the hassle when a check bounces, etc. I was looking at my calendar the other day, and was thinking that my birthday is in a couple of weeks, what I really wanted was for hub and myself to take the Saturday afterwards and drive to Dahlonegah, GA to their Gold Rush Days.......something we've done more years than not since we've been married. Have good friends who live there, more like family, there's arts and crafts, music and food.......but I think I'd best just be hoping we have the money for cat food that week without borrowing any from my mom and maybe a haircut for me (I got a cut and a perm in June......hasn't been trimmed since!). Soooo.....changing jobs from this one to jobs that might actually make money......sounds good to me, even though I do enjoy this one most of the time!

But...here's the scary part to me......(a) I've never been unemployed....and I know that if I don't start looking now, there's a very real chance that I might be... and (b)....don't laugh.....I have NEVER since I got out of high school searched and applied for a job! Mom and dad thought it would be good for me to work somewhere else for a summer, so I applied to a certain retail giant, wasn't hired because I lived too far from the location to suit them. But seriously, I worked part time from the time I was 13 with my mom and dad at the shoe store until I married in 1990, then I went full time......have done everything from cleaning toilets to stocking shelves to clerk duties all the way up to payroll/light accounting. Then when mom and dad retired in 2006, we had started this in 2005, so I just rolled on over to full time here instead of working 3/4 time in two jobs, lol! I don't even remember how to write a resume or anything anymore! Needless to say, I'm feeling a mix of emotions right now...happy/sad/excited/terrified/worried/peaceful/depressed/.....well, to say the least, I'm quite hard to deal with right now....I spent half of yesterday crying for no reason at all.

But you know the absolute worst part? Even though hub has said we'll close....I'm still not sure that he won't change his mind and try to hang on a little while longer......and I don't think I can take the stress that will come with that !
Thanks guys....for letting me vent a bit, and put this into written perspective!
post #2 of 6
I have barely any advice as i am only 16 and never really had to worry about things like this..


write up a CV (i think this is the english version of a resume) and then go to as many shops as you want and just hand them to the owner/manager And wait and see what happens
Jess x
post #3 of 6
I'm so sorry the business isn't going well! I know it has to be painful to think of giving up on something you built yourself.

Here are some thoughts for you, okay? For whatever they may be worth...

1. In terrible times like these, there's a huge psychological benefit to regime change. If we're lucky, there may be an abrupt upturn after the election, and that's only a month away. If you can hang on for just a bit longer, the economy may pick up again.

2. The holidays are coming, and that must surely be a time of tremendous opportunity for your business. Can you keep going through December? If so...

(Now, you may be out promoting your business like crazy, so forgive me if I'm telling you things you already know -- but this is one of my few areas of actual expertise, so let me suggest a technique that works beautifully for small business

a. Go to your printer and get some of those small cardboard boxes they pack business cards in. On your computer, make a little sign that you can tape against the back of the box so it stands up and shows off your logo, location, and phone number. Across the top of the sign, put something like "Call us for your holiday gifts and catering!" Put some business cards in the box, tape it to a tray full of baked goodies, and deliver the tray first thing in the morning to a nearby business for their breakroom.

Two days later, call and identify yourself to the receptionist as the owner of the bakery that "brought the tray for your breakroom the other day." Ask for the person who does their event planning, explain the scope of your services, and ask if you can help them with their holiday parties or gifts.

Deliver one of those trays every day for a few weeks and follow up like clockwork, and you will surely bring in some new business -- possibly from the companies themselves, and certainly from their employees. (Be sure to keep meticulous notes -- partly to make sure you follow up appropriately, and partly because this list of companies and names will be invaluable in future marketing efforts.)

b. Identify some larger companies that you would like to have as clients and call them. Tell the receptionist that you'd like to make a proposal to the person who does their event planning, and ask for that person's name. If the receptionist offers to let you talk to that person, great! If not, don't press -- just call the next day, identify yourself, and ask to speak to so-and-so. (It'll be easier to get through now, because you have the name.)

Explain to the event planner that you're the owner of the bakery (people love to deal directly with the owner) and you would like to bring by some samples and make a brief proposal for him to consider. That should get you an appointment.

Show up with a box of baked goods for him personally, plus a tray for his breakroom and a proposal letter with information on your catering work, including some specific options for holiday luncheons, corporate gifts, etc. When you hand him the proposal letter, ask if he'd like you to work up something tailored to his company's specific requirements.

3. Here's another thought: can you come up with some kind of unique item that might get you some free publicity? For example, perhaps a big frosted cookie that spells out the name of your city, or depicts the city skyline or a well-known landmark in the area. Whatever you come up with, put it out there for sale (especially in these proposal efforts), and then send some to the local newspaper and TV station assignments editors. Enclose a note about how these are very popular with your customers, and wouldn't they make a cute news story?

And if you do have the ability to produce that sort of thing... maybe you could even reproduce the logos of some of the companies you want to approach. You could propose logo cookies as holiday gifts for their employees and customers!

I know this sounds like a lot of work, and it is... but if you're able to hang in and give it a try, it could create the greater awareness and the ongoing client relationships that would give your business a good stable base to count on. And just feeling like you're TAKING ACTION has got to be good for your state of mind!

I sure hope something here is helpful to you. I hate to see your business fail!
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
CP...thanks! There's a funny story here.....when we started this in early 2005, we started out as just a bakery and did a LOT of what you have suggested, which now a wee bit over 3 years later I find out we were on the right track....makes me feel good!
The only problem is, we're in a small Southern town, not a lot of "big" business here (unless you count Wal-Mart, lol!), but we did hit everything in town that we could think of. Unfortunately, around here, the mentality is as a general rule, "I can get those cakes/cookies/etc. cheaper at XX-name-XX large retail store", nevermind if ours are better, if its cheaper, thats where they go. We never would have survived the first few months if I hadn't been working two jobs at the time, but we learned what we could and couldn't do, we're also a full-service catering company, and did a lot of parties/meeting/social functions, and as the year wore on, we got involved in what really has been our mainstay ever since, feeding dr's offices for pharmacutical reps.....they order x number of meals to be delivered to dr. so and so's office at a certain time for breakfast or lunch, sometimes even dinner, and we cook it, bulk pack it and deliver it. The past year though has seen us lose our biggest client (his budget was cut from close to $10,000.00 per month for meals to about $200.00 due to the loss of a patent on one of his drugs and a lawsuit involving another....he may be out of a job himself come Christmas :-( ) and two of our other bigger reps have lost mega amounts of their budgets due to lawsuits and their drugs being pulled from the market. The slowdown over the past year in the local economy has also meant a drop in the number of "fancy" meetings and social functions in town.....its not that we're not getting the business as much as they're just not doing them like they used to.

In all honesty....I think I'm ready for a change of pace. I'm almost 40 years old and although it will be a huge change, the more I think about it, the more I am ready to take a job where I work the number of hours that someone tells me to and someone ELSE has all the responsibility of money/management/failure/growth/etc., lol! But I waffle a lot on that thought, hence the emotional see-saw of late......and that drives me crazy of its own right, lol!!!
post #5 of 6
Well, obviously you are indeed a savvy marketer! I'm sorry that so much of the demand has dried up... and you're right, of course, in a small town, your base is limited from the start.

But the fact that you understand the power of personal marketing gives you a great advantage in anything you choose to pursue. I hope you find a new challenge that you really love. Good luck!
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by CarolPetunia View Post
Well, obviously you are indeed a savvy marketer! I'm sorry that so much of the demand has dried up... and you're right, of course, in a small town, your base is limited from the start.

But the fact that you understand the power of personal marketing gives you a great advantage in anything you choose to pursue. I hope you find a new challenge that you really love. Good luck!

Thanks Carol.....and thanks again for the advice, you don't know how much it meant to me.

Changes since last week? I spent the best part of last weekend with no internet because the phone was cut off.......when I got home last night at midnight (after working since 2:30 a.m., my lights at home had been cut off, since apparently the last two automatic withdrawals didn't come out of the account.....and the power bill for here is due Monday or else. *sigh* I also made husband a little more upset than he already was this morning, because I told him that I had given up, and come the end of the month if our numbers were not up signifigantly I was going to get out and find me another job, that I was sorry, I just can't handle this anymore. I know him, and I know he loves this business, but I can't take the stress anymore. To top it all off, I talked to a good rep of ours and come December, at least three of the major drug companies will be doing major layoffs, possibly including his, and as he put it, come the first of the year, there's going to be a lot less reps to feed for, period.

Now....I have a thought about this, and when hub and I both get in a little more settled mood about this ( I still don't trust him to keep his word about closing come month end)......we have a handfull of families who once a week like for us to cook and deliver dinner for them.........why not lose the expense of the kitchen rental, clean my house up spick and span, and let him continue to cook for them from there (they're friends, can't much be said about feeding friends !), and let me get a job too....he'd still be doing what he enjoys, and we'd be making enough money to live on!

So many thoughts, so little time!
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