Business and Operations
Editor’s Letter: April 2011
By Laura Aiken
Each Bakers Journal looks at entrepreneurs at different business stages;
this issue offers two businesses from opposite ends of the spectrum.
Each Bakers Journal looks at entrepreneurs at different business stages; this issue offers two businesses from opposite ends of the spectrum. On one hand, we feature Première Moisson, which evolved from one location to 18-plus stores in Quebec with wholesale distribution to major grocery chains in its home province and Ontario. On the other, we have Bunner’s, which just opened last December with five staff. While these two baking companies are worlds apart in terms of their maturity, they share one very important asset: entrepreneurial spirit.
The renowned economist Frank H. Knight first published his well-known doctrine Risk, Uncertainty and Profit in 1921. The term “Knightian uncertainty” was coined from his work and means an immeasurable, incalculable risk. Business owners make business plans, but not always. Some try to measure as much risk as possible and some just walk in and wish themselves good luck. In the middle are probably the many: those who prepared but still like the thrill of chance too much to want to know everything. At the end of the day, there is always reality, a certain dose of Knightian uncertainty.
Often, entrepreneurs have phases of insular existence, when they are caught up in the day-to-day runway wearing 50 different hats. It’s sometimes lonely; it’s night sweats. It’s also big highs. It’s winning the gold medal more than once. It’s building something bigger than yourself. Growing a business has parallels to raising a family: although it’s fraught with inevitable frustrations, it offers fulfilment.
Support systems are crucial to the well-being of entrepreneurs, as no man or woman is truly an island. Family and friends are, of course, wonderful, but the community of others who have shared business experiences is particularly important. One entrepreneur will often know just the right thing to say to another.
Trade shows are a great opportunity to find all sorts of support. This being our special show guide to The Baking Association of Canada’s Congress 2011 in Montreal, it seems fitting to consider how much can be gained by getting out of our daily existence and into the world of our industry. For me, it is always a chance to talk more with you, our readers. Nowhere do I find more of our readers in one place than at a trade show. After listening to seminars, networking and checking out products in their booths, I always leave for the day with a better big picture. Finding the big picture and developing the strategy to get there is what takes an infant business like Bunner’s to the maturity of Première Moisson. Attending your industry shows is an important part of that.
I hope to see some of you on May 1 or 2 in Montreal. Having had a taste of Montreal’s bakeries over the Christmas holidays, I have to say, I am looking forward to going back!