It did however prompt me to write this post, having for some time been thinking that a blog is overdue and wondering what to write out of the many subjects buzzing around in my brain. (I really should do the sensible thing and write them down, to capture them when they fly in one ear and before they disappear out the other…)
Money makes the world go round; the love of money is the root of all evil; all you need is love, actually.
This can’t all be true surely – aren’t there contradictions in there and wouldn’t we all prefer to live a life of love where money isn’t something we need to unduly concern ourselves with ?
As a small businesswoman I have perhaps been naive in the past, believing things will all come good if you work hard, do the right thing and keep a smile on your face. The Kitchen celebrated three years in the old Blockbuster Store this week and we’ve received lots of love and congratulations from people saying we’ve come a long way. But to paraphrase the inimitable Mr Barlow there have been times where I’ve neither been too sure where we’ve been nor had a clue where we are going…
This blog isn’t about revisiting the challenges of running a small business. And it’s not about looking back and wishing we had done things differently. There are way too many points when we could have turned a different corner (thanks George…) and who knows where we’d be now.
Instead it’s about drawing that line in the sand and saying that going forward we have to become a profitable business. This isn’t so that we can fly off to the Bahamas twice a year, sale around the world on a cruise liner or even eat at swanky restaurants when we feel like it.
A business that isn’t making a profit will eventually fail at a loss not only to the owners. Obviously the staff are also affected but people sometimes underestimate the impact on customers who lose their favourite cafe or restaurant. We were big fans of the Croxley Tandoori on a Saturday night and their closure made us very sad. We know of many families who visit us regularly, perhaps to play chess or scrabble on a Sunday afternoon, and would be sorry not to have a cosy place to enjoy a hot chocolate or, in the summer, to chill out with a locally made ice cream.
We’re not about to hike up all our prices but we are making some adjustments. This may mean some items becoming unavailable and others costing a little more or perhaps coming with a minimum order. One tricky point has always been dietary requirements as we understand how frustrating it must be having to pay extra because you cannot for example eat regular bread. But for a cafe or restaurant the price difference in serving up a sandwich or afternoon tea with gluten free ingredients can really add up, especially when you factor in staff time to prepare all the food separately.
We are also going to ask those who use The Kitchen for classes and activities to contribute £10.00 an hour towards the cost of running the premises, and those who advertise with us on our noticeboard to pay a small fee. We are opening up our newsletter and website to advertising and will be looking for other revenue streams to make up the deficit caused by weeks when footfall is low and no one seems to have a birthday.
Meanwhile, if you have read this far then thank you very much and here’s one way you can help! We have a fabulous selection of gifts suitable for Valentine’s Day or why not order a beautiful box or bouquet of cupcakes for Mothering Sunday? Many of the gifts feature Craft Beer which we know is popular with many of our customers so we hope to see you soon!