It was all change at Baked this week. A momentous occasion in the journey – no longer was I working solo.
Jessie officially started work.
And oh my god, how much I didn’t realise how amazing it would be to have a right hand (wo)man.
Seeing as how we’re not open (and hence not trading and not making any money) many people have asked how I can afford to have my team in place prior to opening (ironically, often the same people who have been stunned that I have decided to set up a business alone, in disbelief that a young woman could do such a thing).
My response? How can I afford not to. And my reasons for this are threefold (tip: work this cost into your start-up budget).
1. Having a team is amazing
Yes I have a great network of support and a great group of family and friends who I can call upon for favours, however, the fact of the matter is that I am not paying them and therefore always feel like I am taking advantage knowing that alongside helping me they also have families/full-time jobs etc. and may not want to be spending what little free time they have sanding walls with me. I can hear them all reading this and objecting, but I am just being honest and the fact is, I need them there to do the more pastoral sides of support that I need (i.e. the beer drinking, offloading side of things).
Having a team of people, a la Jess (and Jenny in the next week or so) all singing from the same hymn sheet, working on the same goal and motivated by seeing it succeed, is fantastic. Crucially, it means that by the time Baked opens we will be a tight-knit, fully functioning machine who are comfortable working together and know exactly what is expected of one another.
2. Delegation is key (to my sanity)
Having Jess in place has mean I can delegate, and boy, does that make a difference at this stage when the list of things to do is relentless. And growing by the minute.
I give you this example. Pinnies became an issue to me. We need them, I could order them bulk dead easily, but deep down I knew an off the shelf standard pinny didn’t really reflect the Baked vision. I knew I wanted something a bit more snazzy but until Jess, this was a task that always took a backseat (i.e. tasks like getting our electrics hooked up and pitching for money taking priority).
On her second day Jess volunteered to take the lead on this task (and no, don’t worry I didn’t coerce her into it). And now we have a just-about-to-graduate Northbrook student, Sophie Gale, on-board designing bespoke aprons for us. Amazing.
3. The experience
At the interview stage, Jess made it clear that her long-term goal was to run her own business (at this early stage, little does she know I have her earmarked to run the next Baked café). Having on her board now gives her a real insight into the setting up of a business, first-hand experience into how the machine operates and the scale of the task – the ups and the downs.
I set up Baked to do this – to really empower the young people I worked with and give them a really valuable experience that massively contributed to their personal and professional development. And from my own personal evaluation of Jess’ first week, I think it is so far so good.
Though it also helps that Jess and I have a love of similar things. Namely burgers and biscuits. Things that are crucial when spending hours on end sanding walls and scraping floorboards.