The gamble of small business

When I think about what it takes to run a business, I am reminded that we are gamblers.  Not in the literal sense- I’m not spending my free time at slot machines and poker tables.  What I am talking about is taking blind chances, grounded in faith and confidence.  Not only did we have to take the chance of our lives when we decided to open shop with $50 left to our name and two small children to care for, but we entered into the realm of constant flux.

We make little bets every day.  We open our doors, not sure who will walk into our lives, needing our services.  Will there be any business today?  Will they like our food?  What if it snows? In April?  Do we have a solid, long lasting concept or are we just a flash in the pan?  Yes, this is what goes through my mind on a daily basis.

When we need to hire someone new, we are also rolling the dice.  We don’t really know who they are and what their background is.  No matter what their references are or how much experience they have- everyone’s story is different.  How they will work with us is unknown as well.  There is a lot to be said for chemistry and flow of personalities in an intimate workspace.  We have all experienced a job which looked great on paper but… and the gamble doesn’t always pay off.

I can’t always be there to bake the desserts, so my goal is to teach someone else to do it.  One of the biggest leaps I take is when I share what I love to do, hoping that the bug will catch with my current student.   I can’t tell you how many times I have taught my chocolate mousse recipe.  Or my key lime tart.  The scones, ah the scones.  I am always hoping that my next protégé will be the one that sticks.

When I share a baking recipe, I get really jazzed.  And they get excited.  I get hopeful and start to teach more recipes.  It all goes well for a while, but then starts to go downhill.  Either the level of passion that I have just is not there or their level of confidence is not where it needs to be.  I never know which one it will be, but it is pretty inevitable.  They start messing up or lose interest and stop showing up for work and I have to start all over again.  Snake eyes.  This actually breaks my heart.

I know that I am a perfectionist and that I have high standards.  I also know that baking isn’t for everyone, but I tend to see something in people that they don’t recognize in themselves.  Talent and creativity.  I am willing to put it all on the table, time and again, with the hopes that one day the bets I make will pay off. If even one of my students will find their passion run with it, maybe one day they will be willing to take the chance themselves and live the life of an impassioned gambler.