Tuesday, 27 November 2007

It's Not All About Me...

Since the beginning of New Moon's time I have built up the "personability" of the business. I have made the business an extension of myself. I know all my clients personally, treat my staff like family, I put my own face on a bag of cookies. On another level, I work ridiculous hours because this business is "an extension of myself".
Lately I notice that my approach is limiting.
Here I am putting heart and soul into making this business grow, for the sheer desire of fulfilling a vision. And I'm trying to do it all myself - my marketing strategy is to "offer myself" and people will somehow know to buy New Moon cookies because I'm such a nice young lady.... ha ha.
Or - my clients will continue to purchase from New Moon because they know Eden. Or - my staff will work here forever because I'm a great boss... etc etc
So if I have to keep everyone and their mother happy all the time - how in the heck do I grow my business??
What I'm noticing is that the business itself - New Moon - is outgrowing this personality. it's much bigger than me, and furthermore it wants to do its own thing. I can only liken it to a teenager whose mother wants to go to a party with it. Not cool...

So New Moon is not me, and I am not New Moon. I'm just one element in its development.
What's the key then?? I now believe that in order to have a successful business that does not suck my life-blood from me, I must create a neutral container. Wait, it's coming.... A SYSTEM!

A system in which many can shine and excel - not just one. A system which allows New Moon to stand on its own and be marketed for its own excellence.
A system which does not rely on my round-the-clock presence for success.
Of course this is an ego battle - my ego has thrived on being so damn important in my business, it's given me self-worth.
But let's face it - it's sort of unhealthy to be co-dependent with a business...

Tuesday, 20 November 2007


If there's one thing I can count on, just one thing, it's that things change. Just when I'm in a cosy pocket something happens to propel me out of cosiness.
I am starting to get used to the idea that while a business offers security, it doesn't go without a price.
When New Moon was a partnership, it was more about me. A Partnership is much like "a partnership", and I would say it's similiar to having a baby; you're both responsible for it and it doesn't do much outside of what you provide for it (like, a baby can't get up and walk around and do its own laundry).
When my partner left the business I decided to incorporate. Thus birthing an "entity". It makes sense for legal and business reasons. It also gives more potential for growth.
What I have learned about owning a corporation is that it IS its own entity, it CAN walk around and do its own laundry and make friends and all that. It can also decide its own fate. I know that sounds strange but it is the truth for me.
A corporation is the ship, it's the vessel, the vehicle. And yes, I am the Captain.
Last week the boat changed its course. There were factors involved, the winds, the weather - but I would say that the Ship also had a sense about a new direction. This was unbeknownst to me, its captain. Just all of a sudden, we were moving in a new direction. My job - well, my job is to move forward, to follow my instincts, and to let my ego take a seat.

The moral of this whole story is that the only way to prepare for change is to know that it's bound to happen. Be open to it. Accept that it may not be what I "had in mind", but if a business is strong enough, has been "raised well" it will know better than you where it wants to go. The key is to be able to listen to what it wants.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Growing Up

I've been reading this book off and on for about a year - it's called "The E-Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It". Intriguing, huh...
I got through the first chapter and felt "full". One of the first things he writes about is that a technician and an entrepreneur are two very different things. In order for a business to move from small, to medium, to big - the owner has to be the entrepreneur.

I think it's a conflict for most business owners - I see it all the time. The business owner mopping the floor at night - because nobody does it as well as they do (in their mind), the business owner doing all the bookkeeping, all the work, serving customers - because nobody cares as much as them.

I don't think it has anything to do with that! Obviously, no one will ever care as much as the owner. It's a different relationship. But I think the real reason why owners insist on STAYING technicians is fear; fear of taking things to the next level, fear of having that little business seedling go into full bloom. It's a huge responsibility - no question. And maybe it's not every business owner's dream to have a big company.
I can only speak for myself: I want that big dream. I've always seen it. New Moon wants to grow. and I want to be the one to take it there.

But here I am, stuck in a cycle of switching from Entrepreneur to technician - back and forth, back and forth. Right now we are down two bakers - and it's me and the manager pushing dough all week - on top of all the other myriad tasks.
When I am called into bake I feel confident, I know how to bake, I can do it with my eyes closed at this point. it's a safe zone for me. But I also feel stressed - if I'm baking it means I can't grow the business, it means that some things are on hold.
When there is no need for me to be in production, I sit at my desk with my head in my hands, wondering where to go from here... I am in the unknown. How DO I take my business to the next level? How DO I hand in my apron?
There's really only one way to deal with the unknown:
LEAP! eyes closed, whatever it takes - just move forward. I may fall miserably, I may stumble, or I may succeed. The knowledge I need is waiting somewhere.

First step: I have to make a clear decision - I have to draw a line in the sand. Take off the apron, make sure I have a solid foundation. and go for it.

Second Step: Hire people who will be part of the movement forward.

Third Step: I have no idea. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Hello My Name is Eden and I'm a Businesswoman

Originally uploaded by edenarabella
The other day someone introduced me as "a baker", i quickly corrected them with: "businesswoman".
It struck me afterwards - this moment of dichotomy in my little life. Obviously, I love baking - but I'm not a baker anymore. Baking got me where I am today - in this new and deserved seat of Entrepreneur.
It has taken me a long time to equate myself with business. Business has such stigma attached to it; dark suits, crisp ties, wheelings and dealings, clammy handshakes. And I just never wanted to be that! But I admit it - I love Business. I love the maneuvering, the problem solving, the multi-tasking, and the inevitable win of bringing a company to its next level.
People often ask the question, 'what gets you up in the morning?' and for me it's the prospect that every day is a day to make my business grow, to nurture it, discover it, navigate it. It's always exciting.

This is the nerdiness of the entrepreneur! I am letting you all in on my secret here. I'm a business nerd - but I don't wear a dark suit or crisp tie and I sure as hell hope my handshake isn't clammy.
We're all in business in some way or another; whether working for one or owning one. I think people get locked into believing that business is solely about the pursuit of money (which it may be for some). There's another side though - the awesomeness of being able to create something and watch it grow. This is a win far greater than anything else. True success comes from how you achieve something, not what you achieve.

Those are my deep thoughts for today.

Sunday, 26 August 2007

What Makes It All Worthwhile

Most of the time I am on the inside of my business: staring at a computer, looking at cookies, working with staff, answering the phone, running up and down stairs. But on the rare occasion I get to see what actually happens when the cookies make impact.
Last week my driver went on Holiday in the Dominican Republic so I became Delivery Girl for 10 days. I had a blast; driving around the city in Sadie (New Moon's big blue delivery truck), singing to the radio, and taking cookies to the masses. I got to talk to my clients, take a look at the displays, shake a lot of hands, and have a generally good time driving around. It was a break somehow, I was in the cookie delivery bubble where I didn't have to answer a phone or check email or do anything but get cookies from Point A to B.

Last Wednesday, I left Hamilton and headed for St. Catherines. It's a long stretch - 45 minutes on the QEW. I was tired, the day was getting on, and traffic is always a bummer.
So there I am zooming along with the radio on, and a car comes up in front of me. The passenger window rolls down and a guy starts waving to me. I wave back. And then he pulls two bags of New Moon cookies from the car and starts waving them out the window, then he gives me an exuberant thumbs up and we honk back and forth.
I'm quite sure I was grinning for three hours. Because really, at the end of the day, this is what it's all about. And there's nothing like a magic moment...

So whoever that was in that car with those cookies - thankyou! You made my day. I hope the cookies made yours.

xo Baker Babe

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Welcome to my Blog!

ciao cookies
Originally uploaded by edenarabella
After a few months of procrastination, some cross-identity confusion, and a couple of vacations under my apron, I am finally blogging.
Believe it or not, this is exciting. In fact, it's monumental. I think there is a day that comes (hopefully) for an entrepreneur when they are no longer swamped, exhausted, and completely overworked. It's bold to say - but I think my time has come.
As you may or may not know, I started up New Moon when I was 19 years old. It was completely unofficial (and was called "eden's edibles" yikes!) but something was starting... Since then it has been full-force for ten years; work like you can't imagine, every aspect of myself completely engaged in birthing the New Moon baby.
And here it is - New Moon is almost a teenager. The reward of my investment became very clear this year when I was able to actualize a lifelong dream of going to Italy. Over the years I have been fortunate to take vacations here and there - but my Italy trip was three weeks!! The longest I'd been away since I was 18.
Needless to say, it was not just an exquisite adventure, it was a triumphant victory as well. I flew home the day before my 3oth birthday.
Those of you who are entrepreneurs will understand the meaning of that! And hopefully, those of you entrepreneurs who think it's impossible to get away from your business will delight in the fact that it's not.

So what am I saying here? What is this first message I am sending out?
My dream (and goal) with New Moon was to create a vehicle for myself. Other than having a knack for baking and a love of business - I am also a writer, a singer, an apprentice, and a traveler. I want to express all these parts of myself - and New Moon is definitely the vehicle which allows me to do that.
So now you know why the Blogging is exciting! Because I now have the time and energy to do it.
How I got here is a whole other story... stay tuned.
xo baker babe