Bakers Journal Editor’s Letter: Ask for help!
October 4, 2023
By Colleen Cross
You are not a superhero. Despite what everyone around you may think, you are a human being who cannot work miracles.
A talented, hardworking, creative, high-achieving human being. A jack or jill of all trades with a can-do attitude. But still a human being with needs and, yes, limits.
Bakery owners and other entrepreneurs often are seen as having the answer to every question, the solution to every problem and ideas for the next big thing at your bakery.
You are leaders by nature and put pressure on yourselves to tackle every question and run down every answer. The buck stops with you and you willingly accept the responsibilities of running your dream business.
Recently I was honoured to attend the BAC’s town hall gathering in Barrie, Ont., and meet hard-working bakery owners who came out to learn from and network with other bakeries and suppliers, and share their own experiences, challenges and successes.
There were many surprises that day but the biggest a-ha moment came when one brainstorming groups identified one of their current priorities as “Knowing our limit.” Seemingly simple, common-sense advice. But it quieted the room.
I suspect there were a few light bulbs going off as I heard some words of agreement. “That’s so true,” said more than one attendee thoughtfully.
By the way, just because you know your limits, doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t strive to surpass them. Go ahead, hereoes: hunt down free-from ingredients for an allergy-suffering customer, mentor a young employee who needs special attention, work the weekend to fulfil a last-minute order or raise money to help a local child battling health issues.
But do so when inspiration (not obligation) hits and knowing that you are a human being deserving of the same care, attention, patience and pep talks you regularly give to others.
Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for help! There is help out there. Technical baking advice baking instructors, experts, master bakers, problem solving from equipment and ingredient manufacturers and suppliers.
Business advice and strategies from your local Chamber of Commerce, Business Improvement Area, your local college business entrepreneurial program. The list goes on.
Ideas, encouragement and moral support from fellow bakers and owners of complementary businesses such as coffee shops, restaurants and retail shops.
Encouragement, word-of-mouth promotion, ideas to pull in new business and employee referrals from your customers. Don’t underestimate the loyalty of that core of regular customers who are invested in your story and your success.
All of this help and more from the Baking Association of Canada, which exists to help you and has the resources and connections with bakeries, suppliers, the schools and other associations to do just that.
Finally, we at Bakers Journal are always ready to listen and help by providing content to help keep you informed and inspired. Reach out!
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