In Conversation: Business Status Update

 Today we are discussing the status of our business, where we are, what we are looking to transition to, and things that we are still trying to figure out.

Laurie/Mom:  Okay, we started out with farmers’ markets in order to actually see if there was a demand, or I guess we just wanted to see if our cookies would sell.  I think we realized that the markets have been a great test for us in many different ways. What sells, and how much to sell at each market; but we also discovered that the time commitment is tremendous with the payout not necessarily commensurate.

Haley/Daughter: There were a couple markets that we did really well at, but you are right- the time commitment needed to prepare for each market was something that we hadn’t really thought about especially once we took on doing more markets per week. When you calculate all the driving, the rent for each market, and then the actual time it takes to bake and package- it makes it hard to keep our cookies at a reasonable price. Plus it was hard to fit both of our schedules around the markets which ended in Mom, you doing a majority of the markets.

Mom:  Well, my doing the markets was just scheduling for the most part anyway.  But this learning curve has been good. We realized that with some of these weekly markets, we really have to be there each week for people to remember us and then hopefully get a following for our products.  At the same time, the amount of money that we make each week can vary so drastically at these weekly markets that it makes it hard to justify the time spent. It’s a Catch 22; if you’re not there and people are expecting you, then you risk losing credibility.

Daughter: I agree- and this is where we started to think about how to transition our business goals towards more specialty-type products, events and wholesales of our cookies and brownies. And of course when there is a change in direction there is also an identity crisis that comes into play! All the questions of “how would we do it?” “how much to charge?” “how do we keep the cost down?” and “who is our audience?” to “what is our market?”  just pile up and pile up to make it difficult to just…. Start.

Mom:  Yes, and wow- can we do this and why are we asking these questions all over again?  

Daughter: So lets break down where we are right now. Social-media wise we have a running Facebook, Instagram and Twitter account, which we started right-off-the-bat and have been learning along the way. Slowly we have been figuring out the best practices for each, that each have very different uses by its users and audiences and that making social media for a company is so much different than making a social media account for personal use.

Mom:  I think we did well in that area, but I think that I wanted to jump ahead too quickly by getting a website up and running.  Thanks to your husband, Daughter, we have a professionally designed logo to use, but I’m wondering if the website could have waited?  We haven’t tried to utilize FB for selling, or Instagram for that matter, but then I despise all the sponsored posts on SM. That’s also a personal thing I suppose I need to get past.  Do you think we need to take a minute to really evaluate what we have and the next direction to take?

Daughter: Well, first I think that we did not jump into the website- here’s why: our business has a double-edged sword problem. We are trying to be a memory or a thought of home, but we also need credibility and also be professional. If we sell solely off of Facebook, it sometimes makes it look like we aren’t certified, we don’t have a license, and most of all that we aren’t serious about it. But with the website, it gives us that without looking like we are a huge company that doesn’t have the capacity to care about each customer. I agree that we need to look at what we have, but we took the steps we did for a reason, and so we just need to evaluate and move forward!

Mom:  Yes, and we do have some opportunities that needed the website, so we’ll just jump in feet first and go.  In the meantime, we really need to nail down our real message and who our audience is.

Daughter: In my opinion, our social media side, and selling platform have a pretty good foundation. I think when we evaluate, we need to focus on the business side- write out a good business plan, look for business models that we can mirror or improve on, and make realistic business goals/timelines.

Mom:  Perfect; although nothing simple about that.