Thursday, September 16, 2004

Still Waiting 

To hear back from the bank on the loan progress.

We shaved $70,000.00 off the projected budget for the start-up and first 6 month's expenses, and it looks as if we could shave off another $30,000.00.

Problem with that, of course, is if we do, we might be able to succeed, but we'd have no financial cushion in case something unexpected pops up.

And when has something unexpected not popped up at the least convenient time?

Leaving the budget as is means we have that cushion that will save us in a disaster, allow us to open up to 7 days much faster, and guarantees we won't fail due to underfunding.

In the scheme of things, we aren't asking for a large loan - and perhaps that could be a problem. Maybe we aren't asking for enough.

We are acustomed to using innovation and guerilla tactics to accomplish our goals - nothing in life has been easy, but we've always gotten there. Through a back door, by a fortuitous circumstance, by taking a risk and having it pay off, by the help of friends, by any number of converging circumstances.

The Cracked Cauldron will be no different, we expect. Success will come, and it will alwys be through the cooperation and support of people.

Our mailing list of customers is growing, every time we go somewhere, and all are chomping at the bit to see the doors open up.

In addition to the Three Graces Cookie (a raging success among our Official Guinea Pigs), we've developed a Rice krispy Treat/S'mores type cookie. We haven't fed this to our taste testers yet, but it has the graham cracker taste, the chunks of chocolate, and the puffs of marshmallow. It's a no-bake cookie, because baking it would cause the marshmallow to melt, defeating the textural needs of this cookie.

We do have a finalized Opening Menu of 6 breads, 10 rolls, 5 muffins, 8 pastries, 20 cookies, 3 basic soups (and a couple of dozen variants), 7 cakes, 8 hand pies, and 12 dessert pies, in addition to our coffees, teas, Italian sodas, sodas, milks, and cocoas. That gives lots of choices for our Menu Decision Team to make in future months, lots of room for additions and expansions, for customizations, and for holiday additions and specials.

What is angsty-causing is that our Grand Opening (the first one, the main one, the one we want to have happen on schedule) is set for 6 weeks from now, and we still don't have the bank loan approval.

We have some stock sold, and that helps, and we sent out stock purchase proposals to potential investors, but that's not enough without the loan.

Not in time to open in six weeks.

Opening in time for Thanksgiving is a possibility, it would still fit with our marketing plan. Hampered, but possible. We really want and need the build up to the Yule baking season to begin with Halloween, so when the baking "slump" of summer is reached, we'll have enough loyal customers to see us through.

We've begun the initial marketing plans anyway - with deliveries of sample baskets to the radio station DJs, and with small caterings.

We really want to be able to place our address on our business cards instead of the "Coming Soon" plastered across the middle.

We want to be able to tell our suppliers to "Start shipping!"

We want our customers to have a location they can visit, and ovens large enough to handle the load, so we can bake the goodies they are demanding from us in the quantities they want, not the trickles we currently offer.

It's all about our hungry customers.

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