Don’t try to do it all yourself Get The Help You Need

The opening of a second location for the Noe Valley Bakery has been speeding along. Last month I shared a bit about securing funding and the process of getting a loan. But now that the money is in the bank, we’re starting to ask ourselves “What have we gotten ourselves into?” and “How are we physically going to do everything that needs to get done to get this bakery opened?”


The answer is that we aren’t going to be all of it. In fact, our team is going to be doing most of it.


You can’t do it all yourself. Nor should you.

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When to Expand to a Second Location Look for these signs

Earlier this month I announced in my newsletter that Michael and I are expanding the Noe Valley Bakery to a second location in West Portal (a nearby San Francisco neighborhood)!


I am experiencing what I have seen so many of you as my clients experience: the rollercoaster of thrill and fear that comes with this crazy ride of being a food business owner. We signed the lease last Friday, and since then I have been wanting to both laugh and cry at the same time.


I know I am making the right choice in creating a second bakery. Michael and I have thought long and hard about why we need to expand, and have a meticulous plan for how we’ve approached expansion. But now that we’ve signed the lease, it is so easy to second guess myself and think we’re making a mistake. I’ve committed to going through this expansion out-loud, sharing all of my learnings and discoveries along the way.


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Managing the Fear How to deal with the voice in your head

Often times when I sit down with a client who is growing their  business, expanding or trying new things, they are scared. They’re unsure if they’re making a huge mistake, they can’t sleep at night, or they’re having trouble focusing on their day-to-day tasks. Fear is such a real part of owning a food business.

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I Learned More From Failure Than Success Keys to Success in Business

This is a hard story to tell…

We all open our artisan food businesses to succeed.

Failure is not an option.

We fear that if we fail, no one will trust anything we do ever again.

We fear that no one will ever loan us money or fund our future projects.

We fear that if we fail at our artisan food business, we will lose everything.

So why am I so passionate about failure? Because, I have had a business fail.

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Who You Callin’ Small? There is NOTHING SMALL about running your own business

I have never been a fan of the label “small business”.  Why?  Because there is NOTHING SMALL about running your own business!  I know, I know, it’s used to refer to the size of the business in terms of sales and employees; but I really prefer calling us “unique businesses”.  In my own experience with Noe Valley Bakery, running a successful business is a 7-day-a-week job and it takes a team of dedicated employees working tirelessly and staying motivated to keep it successful.  Even after 20 years, we all are fighting hard to stay fresh and interesting, and meet our customer’s needs.   Read more

Formula For Business Growth Increased sales, but no profit?

I was sharing this story with a food business workshop I did this week for SF Made.  There were attendees at the workshop that wanted to start wholesale businesses and I knew they needed to know this.  I remember when Michael and I figured this out for our business, Noe Valley Bakery, we looked at each other and said, “why haven’t we known this all along”?

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Getting Sh*t Done Time Management To Drive Your Business forward

Last week, I took a workshop in time management from Megan Flatt, a business coach and time management strategist for busy moms.  My motivation for taking this class is the persistent thought I have when I observe other businesses, “how does s/he find time to do all that”?  I have things that I wish I could do, but never seem to get done.  I also love to learn new things and attending workshops is a perfect way for me to fit some professional development into my week.
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Belly Dancing Grits Chef Creative food businesses

Not too long ago I flirted with getting a corporate job in the machine tool industry.  Three generations of my family owned a machine tool company and I was offered an opportunity to interview with a competitor that had associations with my family that wanted to expand their reach in California using a local entrepreneur.  I interviewed in Connecticut and seriously opened my mind up to the possibility.  I went on a trip to make sales calls in Portland, OR and I travelled to Chicago to the huge trade show FABTECH.  It was frightening to consider changing fields, but opportunities don’t often present themselves like this one, so I pushed past the fear and doubts and really leaned in.  In the middle of the first day at the trade show in Chicago, a question popped into my head, “where is my belly dancing grits chef”? Read more

San Francisco Manufacturing The Movers & Makers

Something exciting is happening in the food manufacturing world in San Francisco!  Last year, the city government commissioned a study detailing what steps they should take to encourage food and beverage manufacturers to remain in the city.  The city decided that the food manufacturers are an important segment of the business landscape in SF and they want to encourage growth.  They retained the services of SPUR to conduct the study.   Read more

Taking a Break Clear your mind and renew focus

Food business management sometimes can feel that in order to move things ahead, you need to work harder. If you just sit at the desk longer and your list of to-do’s completed, you will be better off. Recently, I have been feeling that way; I have been striving to make everything work…to make it better. I have been reading blogs, gathering advice, making lists, writing and gathering content, losing sleep, removing your money blocks, and trying to force things ahead. I thought that if I applied myself enough, the answers would come to me because I had momentum on my side. I became overwhelmed. I also hear the same thing from my clients -they get overwhelmed and can’t move their ideas forward.

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