I’m excited to announce a new series of stories about small business owners talking entrepreneurship, marketing & technology – sharing challenges and insights to help your business growth
Today we’re talking to Nina Siljanovic ,founder of The Nutty Baker about her journey from Banker to Baker, following her passion and the challenges of an entrepreneurial life
Every great business begins with an idea !
But even if you have a great idea, what makes one person take action and another let it pass by? And for Nina what made her give up a well paid secure career in banking to follow her passion & turn an idea into a reality?
For Nina her entrepreneurial story began with some Amaretti biscuits.
“I always had the feeling I was capable of doing something less conventional. I’d quit my job in London in the thick of the European economic crisis and returned to Australia with nothing planned. People thought I was crazy….nutty even!
While I was figuring out what to do next I made some Amaretti biscuits & took them to a friend’s party and people’s reactions were way and beyond what you expect.
In that moment there was my idea”
As Nina says’ why not do something you’ve always loved doing and that you’re good at too” She’d found her sweet spot.
But passion isn’t enough .You discover a lot about yourself when you start a business and for Nina it’s been sheer determination as well as bags of talent that has seen her grow from a shared space in a pub supplying a few cafes and restaurants to her own thriving boutique cake shop in Vaucluse.
Nina’s strategy has been to take things slow and steady. Her goal to grow it to the point where it has real recognition & value in the market. To build a business that can run without her but where every product is imbued with her personality & style.
The critical drivers for marketing have been an amazing product, charming & enticing shop front and building a loyal following locally. The smell of baking wafting out of the doors sheer marketing genius!
She actively promotes her business on social media & has created an actively engaged community on Instagram in particular. Beautiful visual images of freshly baked goods see an immediate impact in-store
But growing and managing your own business has challenges – the biggest being;
- Learning to let go and not do everything yourself- especially as she builds a small team around her. Sound familiar?
- Delivering brand consistency.
“My product is my best business card and my brand is dependent on maintaining consistency – in style, taste & presentation
- Cash flow. Like many business owners balancing the demands of expansion with the day to day running costs is a constant juggle.
And one more.Possibly the most challenging- how to balance growth plans with operational capacity.
Nina recognises the opportunities to expand her business & reach a wider audience online but not if delivery can’t keep up.
The reality is that there is no point switching on the marketing engine of growth if capacity can’t be managed in a sustainable way.
To succeed as an entrepreneur you need to balance the activities that drive growth with designing your business in a way that ensures such growth is sustainable and profitable.
Interestingly for small business owners, Nina included, there is not always the awareness or knowledge of the technologies that can help them scale their growth. And for many there is a perception that any such technologies are too complicated or time consuming.
Technology lets you scale. As a marketer technology is essential as a resource & tool to support growth. The drivers of supply and demand need to work hand in hand.
Here are 5 tips to help;
- Systemise. Paper based systems and knowledge kept to yourself aren’t going to help you grow. For example in Nina’s business the recipes are all on paper whereas they could be kept digitally enabling access to more staff, so everyone can produce her recipes to a consistent standard . This means she doesn’t have to be there all the time either. Link those recipes to stock & purchases and you can see where efficiencies can multiply.
- Move your business into the cloud. Cloud services get you organised so that you and your staff can access information, customer data, projects – anywhere, anytime. It gives you immense flexibility especially if you have more than one location. In Nina’s business her recipes are critically valuable assets. Using cloud based services keeps those assets safe & secure.
- Invest in simple database & CRM system so that you know who your customers are and how they interact with you. It costs five times as much to get a customer as to keep one. As you grow you can’t have that immensely important information on your most important asset being left to chance. That knowledge can be basis for customer loyalty initiatives as well as managing ongoing communications.
- Automate. Save more time and improve results through automating key activities. Take social media for example. There are a number of great low cost, often free, tools which can help. I use Hootsuite for my social media saving huge number of hours scheduling posts and suggesting content
- Metrics. You need data to know what’s working and what isn’t. You can’t manage what you don’t measure. Tech solutions now let small businesses have access to data and key business metrics in one place. You can integrate data from other applications like Mailchimp or QuickBooks.
There’s a lot to think about when you set out on your own but there is lots of support too.
Last word to Nina. I asked her if she had one piece of advice for someone starting out what would it be.
“ If you have that feeling deep within you that you can do something, you can make a change …go for it, with all your heart and soul ”
The Nutty Baker is located at 38 New South Head Road, Vaucluse 2030. Open Tuesday to Friday, 8am to 4.30pm & Weekends from 8am to 2pm. Closed Mondays.
Sarah Denby -Jones is a Business Mentor & Strategic advisor for impact driven entrepreneurs. She’s also a Microsoft SMB Ambassador helping small businesses understand how technology can help them market more effectively.
To find out how she can help you create & build a business you love – on your terms – book in for a complementary Business Growth & Marketing Consult. Contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.