In the world of Franchise Development, a question we often encounter is, "What traits do your top bakery owners share?" Answering this can be a bit tricky in a Freedom Franchise system that cherishes uniqueness. When faced with this question, I think about the most successful owners I personally know.

Interestingly, they're quite distinct as individuals, showcasing that success can come in various forms. Yet, upon deeper thought, I do spot shared characteristics among these owners, either within themselves or in their partnerships.

I asked our Franchise Field Teams, the people who work closely with our bakery owners, to tell me what makes owners successful in our system. Six team members shared their thoughts, and together they have over 90 years of experience supporting bakery owners.

Tips To Make Your Bakery Business Successful

1. Passionate

Passion is key, both for your business and in your life. Mark Peterson, our Director of Bakery Support and services, emphasizes that successful bakery owners have a strong passion for running a small business and delighting customers. They find joy in creating a welcoming environment and serving others.

Lauren Johnson, Tracker & Trainer, adds that it's crucial to have passion not only for the business but also for other aspects of life. Without outside interests, the bakery can become overwhelming. Taking time for personal passions and bringing that enthusiasm into the bakery is essential.

2. Open-minded

Our model is meant for bakery owners to add their personal touch, yet it's built on more than 30 years of successfully running vibrant bakeries. We've crafted a model that works and constantly adapts to market changes using best practices. While we encourage individuality, it's important to note that following some franchise recommendations is beneficial.

Mike Ferretti, CEO of Great Harvest, highlights this, saying, "Stores that resist suggestions and change tend to struggle. Those who try to reinvent the wheel are more likely to face challenges and fail."

3. Ability to Focus 

In a bustling retail setting where everything is made from scratch using fresh ingredients, plans don't always unfold smoothly. Owners can easily get off track, immersed in day-to-day tasks. Renea Martinson, Post Tracker, noted, "The best owners excel at prioritizing their time and concentrating on the most important tasks for the day, week, or month. Those who are struggling often find it challenging to stay focused on what needs to be done."

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4. Feel Proud But Remain Humble

Being successful hinges on taking pride in your work. Celebrate achievements, but it's equally important to own up when things don't go well. Successful bakery owners analyze setbacks, take responsibility, and humbly seek help when needed.

Kayla Conner, offering ongoing support to our bakery owners, sums it up, "A bit strange, but someone with a real passion for their work, determination to succeed, and pride in both big and small wins can truly thrive. They must also take responsibility for setbacks, learn from mistakes, and communicate openly with their families, teams, and us at the franchise about strengths and weaknesses to make progress toward their goals."

5. Determined

Thriving bakery owners show persistence and resilience. They understand success takes time and isn't always instant. Lauren, with firsthand experience from numerous bakery openings and early stages of ownership tracking, emphasizes, "The first day in a bakery might not go smoothly.

Recipes may not work, new hires can make mistakes, marketing campaigns may not show immediate results, and products may not sell well initially. But it doesn't mean things are wrong — they just need time to develop, and a persistent owner can guide them to success."

6. Must Have Positive Attitude

Successful owners come in different personalities—some are outgoing, while others are more reserved. What they have in common is their ability to understand and connect with people. Bonnie describes it as having "emotional intelligence" to handle hiring, training, delegation, and interactions with employees and customers.

Mark adds that a bakery owner's attitude is crucial. They need to be positive and magnetic most of the time because attitudes impact how employees, customers, and neighboring businesses respond. Consistency in a positive attitude is key, as owners with poor or negative attitudes struggle to lead and maintain a consistent team.

7. Set Example

Successful bakery owners are ready to get their hands dirty when needed. They're masters of their craft, stepping in for production when a baker is absent and helping out at the front counter during busy times. Mark points out, "Owners who work alongside their employees from orientation and beyond tend to thrive. If an owner doesn't train and work alongside the team, they often face challenges.

Understanding the business is crucial; without it, gaining the crew's respect and commitment is tough, especially for newer owners. Once they've done the groundwork, they can step back and delegate to leaders they've developed."

8. Be A Leader

For bakery owners to succeed, they must realize the importance of being the leader. If they spend all their time doing tasks others can handle, they'll lose focus on the bigger picture and miss out on essential responsibilities. Lauren distinguishes between working alongside employees and doing their work, stating, "Owners are the face of their bakery. They delegate tasks to employees but shouldn't get caught doing jobs others are hired for. Still, they must be willing to do any job, leading by example."

Mark emphasizes key owner responsibilities, stressing the need for organization and multitasking. Staying on top of various aspects like numbers and marketing is crucial. Being organized and timely not only ensures control but also allows owners to step back, take breaks, and grasp the overall business picture.

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