The Backup Plan

I love the romantic comedies that feature a couple that make a backup plan – if neither is married by a certain age, they will marry or whatever. I started wondering how many of you have a backup plan for your business.

It seems that the majority of decorators I know work alone. If you get sick or you have a family emergency, how will your cake orders get done? Today I going to recommend that you find a friend and become each other’s backup.

Ten months into the ownership of my bakery, I went to the doctor for what I thought was the stomach flu. It turns out I had a cyst on my ovary that had ruptured and I was bleeding internally. I needed an emergency hysterectomy and was prepped for surgery the next morning. In the routine blood tests, they discovered my leukemia, which served to complicate the surgery. Long story short, I spent two and a half weeks in the hospital, had 4 surgeries and was a whopping 88 pounds when I got out. I was so frail and weak that it took a couple weeks to regain my strength for work. In the meantime, I had lots of weddings going out at my shop, not to mention birthday cakes. How were they going to get done?

I was blessed with Andrea Marshall, my dear friend that helped me open my shop. She could bake and decorate, but needed help. My sister in law, Phoebe Brummett, was working the counter for me and she started decorating at that time. But the biggest blessing came in the form of my sugar “mom” Maxine Boyington, who came in, assisted with decorations, delivered the wedding cakes and basically ensured that my business carried on until I was strong enough to return.

When Maxine’s cancer returned and she needed help, I was able to return that favor. When another competitor lost her fiancé to an overdose, Maxine and I did her weddings that weekend.

When my friend Pat Jacoby lost her husband, she only had a few orders that week, so her staff was able to handle it, but Peggy Tucker had driven in for the funeral and offered to help with the cakes.

Two years ago today, I lost my dad. My amazing team once again stepped in for me. The anniversary of his death seemed like the perfect time to ask you what you would do if the unthinkable happens.

If something happened to you tomorrow, what would happen to your orders? Have you ever talked to a cake buddy to make arrangements? If not, this is your wake up call. Life gets crazy and things happen. People get sick. People die. Please call a friend today and agree to be each other’s backup. It may be one of the most important calls you ever make!


5 thoughts on “The Backup Plan

  1. A few of us here started a Facebook page where we share information and orders all the time. I trust these people and I know they will do a great job for someone if I can’t. If I cannot do a cake for any reason it is now my top priority to help them find someone else. I believe in Karma and It will come back in some positive way later on down the line.

  2. Fantastic post! I know all too well what happens when life comes at you fast. After my hand was crushed in a fondant sheeter, I was SO blessed to have friends and peers able to help. It’s hard when you lose control of your life and the ability to take care of yourself or others. It’s even harder sometimes to ask for help. I learned that no matter how much I’d like to think the world doesn’t go on without me, it does. Excellent advice, thank you for sharing it!

  3. I am thankful I have a back up plan that was not planned …. I have a GREAT staff that has been crossed trained on every aspect of my business from baking to closing out the books for the week. I found out just how awesome my staff was when my husband “unexpectantly” passed away in January. I didnt even have to ask …they were there and handle everything as if I was there … I now call them all “mini me’s” – and they all have been highly rewarded !!! Without them my shop would have been shut down –

  4. This is SUCH an important thing to do. I have a couple of ear friends that do cakes on a smaller scale, but they have been there to help out when I had unexpected abdominal surgery an couldn’t roll out my fondant, or lift over 5 pounds. They know I have their back too, if it’s ever needed.

    Great topic!

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