Monday, December 27, 2010

And the universe bestows her gifts...

So, in my typical Taurus/bull fashion, I've been wracking my brains for how to get movement on The Project. I am worried I won't be able get funding in time... that the space will be rented, that Stein will need to find a job. And so...

Without going into too much detail (he is a super private person) I pitched my ex husband and asked him if I could borrow the money to get started. He still owes me some from our settlement and so he basically said I would likely be able to get the money in Feburary to get started. AND wouldn't have to pay him back...

This is a huge relief but I also have this weird feeling that the normal hoops you have to go thru to get regular business funding etc are kind of checks and balances on having a good workable plan and the more eyes that see what you are doing and give input, the better.

He made some great suggestions... because the first tear of being is business is the hardest (most businesses fail because they are underfunded the first year) he suggested I ask for a deffered lease. So I offer to pay $1200.00 a month, but not to start paying until next year. So if you have a three year lease, you would pay nothing the first year and then 1.5 the amount of the next two years.

So if I can get some kind of agreement like this, plus not have to pay myself the first year... I would be in a really good position to have super low overhead starting out.

I also talked to Mike Whipple, an old friend of Brion's who is a wine consultant about getting some premuim local small producer wines...

He is totally ammenable to helping us scout out the kinds of wines I want. I plan to do the little plastic menu holders like this with the wine and beer list to put on the counters and the tables. Mike said the typical purchase of initial wine a restaurant will buy is about $400. I want to bring some of the salumi and do at least a little bit of pairing. Anything I get will have to go with salted and heavily spiced meats.
I am profoundly grateful to know so many creative and talented people who are willing to help me. It is amazing how much easier things seem to flow when you feel comfortable marketing youself and your product and you know so many knowledgable fantastic peopele.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Deepest Sighs...

The funding group cannot fund anyone over the age of 35. This is how grants and things work and I am a bit dissapointed but undaunted. IF I could have found someone under 35 who was willing to take on the liability of the loan, they would have still gone forward, but I just can't ask anyone to do that. It is MY baby... my risk.

So on to the next possiblity!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

First steps towards being adequately funded...

Mr Sullivan from the SBDC called and said they had a group of people who were interested in investing in a new small business so we quickly got together the various items they wanted/needed and he pitched them my business on Friday morning. Then I got a call asking how old I was (40) and figured out that the group of investors was looking for a business owner who was under 35. It is likely part of their grant criteria, but Mr. Sullivan is going to see if they will make an exception. I am flattered that it did not even occur to anyone that I might be over 35!

This is just how the process goes and I am totally mentally prepared for that. I am super grateful for all the help I have received.

I did a chacuterie platter of many of the products I've done in the past year and it really made me feel like I've accomplished so much! The picture of it is above... it is really a think of beauty! I wish I could have sent in a platter like this to Mr Sullivan to show the investors :)
I've started to dream about my cafe... working in it, puttering around making my sausages with Stein. Chatting up customers... I can't wait.
I will be submitting my stuff to the next poetntial lender after the first of the year. I am so excited! I know it will be a process but I am mentally prepared for that.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Limbo... and not the fun party kind...

I am in a weird space where I am waiting for a few things to happen, but I am pretty much done with School. Only one more final this week and then finishing up my Cross Cultural healing Class this weekend and I am done with school for the semester. I have pretty much done everything else I need to do for the time being.

I drove by the space this morning on my way to county recorders office (marking one more thing off the to-do list). Martinez has such a cute downtown area but it is a bit off the grid.
I feel impatient to move forward, and strange about the lull in activity. I hung quite a bit of cured pork jowl for drying and I also started a new batch of pastrami. I tried making pastrami without the nitrates and the color was really off, so I won't likely do that again. I am thinking about experimenting with the celery powder that charcutiers are using to replace pink salt as the celery powder are natural nitrates. but I don't know if they will affect color?
The squirrels are having sex in my roof again. I know we should do something about them (they chewed a hole in my ceiling a few years ago), but they seem so happy there! And it has been brutally cold, albeit today is gorgeous.
I've been in school long enough so it feels very strange not to have school any more... I am pretty much done with the classes I need to get my Baking and Pastry and Culinary Arts certificates. Next semester I will take two general ed online classes to also get my hospitality management associates degree. Plus I need to take one more unit of PE, but the school has this drop-in program where you just have to bank a certain number of hours. I am sure getting the exercise will be good for me!
I've been feeling so stressed, I have been working out to try and mellow myself. This week should be fun though. Debbie is on vacation and Roric is in Budapest, so Rhawnie will come and hang out as well. I have really been missing feminine energy in my life.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Small Business Funding and other various mysteries...

The process is just beginning and it's already not what I expected... basically, I thought... write a comprehensive business plan and it was a big part of the funding process. But in reality, no one looks at your business plan. They are focused on your credit history because these are unsecured loans. The first round of loans you go for are from SBA lenders, who get SBA grants and charge low interest rates. Typically you fill out a short one page loan application. I have the loan application but I am waiting to submit it until I can clear a couple of things off my credit report.

I will never go an extended period of time without checking my credit again. I did not realize I was being charge unsecured property taxes on my boat in two cities and was only paying one set. Now I have three liens on my house for not paying boat taxes in Stockton. Well, I paid the taxes last week and the liens will be released soon, but it might prevent me from being able to get an SBA loan. For something so stupid... deep sigh.

Anyway, so far the Small Business Development Center has looked at my Business plan, but no lender asks for it as part of your loan application in the intial stages. I feel like the loans are not really based on anything but your credit and the merit of your business plan is not really relevant to the process... which makes sense really. Banks are really skittish after the past few real estate years. I mean, I know this is all reasonable, but I feel like I wasted two months on a business plan that no one is even going to look at.

And the one page lender form is baffling! It asks me how long I've been in business... well I've been officially catering for 6 months, with a business lisence and fictitious business name and all that. However, I've been catering since I was 19. Also I am not opening a catering business. I am opening a delicatessen. Most of the loans are for expanding a business, not for start ups... so it's been reccomended that I list the current catering business and the money I made this year, and say I am looking for funds to expland. The cost of the rent on this site is so low, it would cost me more to lease most kitchens for catering anyway. It's just... nothing is all that clear cut.

I talked to the fire inspector this week as well. I will be able to use the smoker, but I won't be able to use a deep fryer. I also received my resellers permit this week.

Also I took the Servesafe exam today. It is a requirement have someone that is Servesafe certified in a restaurant like I am planning to open. I took the class three years ago and some of the laws had changed. Thank goodness the nice lady where I took the test sent me some practice exams, they were emmensly helpful. You only need to get 75% and the stuff was familiar enough that I feel pretty good about how I did (knock on wood).

So to date (in order):
Ficticious Business Name
(Pay $75 to advertise the name int he paper for 3 weeks)
Home Occupancy Permit
Business Lisence
Federal Tax ID
State Tax ID
Reseller Permit
Servesafe Certifiction

OH plus I will have done all of the work for my Baking and Pastry Cert and Culinary Arts Cert as of next Thursday (We don't get our actual certificates until next May, I can apply for them at the beginning of the year).

The business plan is about 300 pages long as of now.