When I signed off in early February, I had pretty much finished chronicling the story of how I started my business in my home, in the early seventies, purely by accident, my only credential being that I loved to cook and had a passion for everything and anything connected to food. It took me almost two years to tell the whole bloody tale (I started in June 2010), from tentative start-up to where we are today-- a well-respected global supplier of high-end bakery products that we ship to all corners of the world.
It wasn’t even my idea to go into business; it was my friend Jill that talked me into it.
I was offered up to start my blog, kicking and screaming all the way, by my marketing department people who were convinced that it would be good for the company. Things that are good for the company are hard to refuse, so the good soldier in me got started. Once I did, I realized it was a strong story and one worth telling, and I enjoyed every minute of it; of trying to put it all together so I could tell it with a good semblance of order, with a beginning, a middle and an end; of contacting lots of my former employees to make sure I got the time lines right; of remembering all my missteps and being able to laugh about it now; of being able to make fun of myself, of remembering all the pain and the small and then larger victories, the lessons learned, and on and on ...
It has been a forty-year journey, one that started from nowhere with nothing, that has segued into a high volume private family business that adds diversity and value to the economy. It is my hope that my blog, through all the stories I told, provided inspiration and encouragement to others with a good idea, ambition and a dream. I think the lessons in business that I have learned through my personal experiences have made me a true leader and a better person. It has not been an easy path; we have battled recessions, banking relationships, 9-11, and so many other challenges that affected us profoundly, but, nevertheless, here we are. Still standing.
I urge you to scroll back through my postings if you want to, to get the whole story. Or you could wait for the book!
That is what I have been doing these last few months; turning the bones of my blog into a book, a very personal business memoir, but with much more focus and advice. I have found an excellent agent to represent me, and we are starting the process of presenting my work to various publishers that specialize in this type of management book. This will not be an easy process, but as Irwin, my husband, has said “Women are more likely to choose food than mining”, so I at least have that going for me. Mine is a business that will be more familiar to any aspiring entrepreneur, budding entrepreneur, or more seasoned entrepreneur looking for ideas. Or women from all walks of life just interested in a good story. Now my hope is that the publishing houses will think so too.
Feminism has never played a part in my business, but it is interesting to note that the very first issue of Ms. Magazine was published at about the same time that I started my business, way back in 1973. So I guess I was a pioneer, of sorts, in that regard. Manufacturing was still largely a man’s game. It is also interesting to note that I started my business two years before NAWBO, the National Association of Woman Business Owners, was even founded, in 1975.
Even today, less than 2% of woman-owned firms pass the $1 million mark in volume (although that number is growing) compared with over 5% of all US firms. So most small businesses are small. In that, I guess I have done a pretty good job. And I have never, ever, been bored. It has been a great ride.
I promise to keep blogging, now that I have brought you, my readers, up to date on what I have been doing. I read the New York Times from cover to cover every day, as well as other publications, trade papers, and all sorts of e-letters. I have a pile of notes I have been collecting to comment on in coming weeks. See you then.
Until next time...make someone happy —serve them dessert!