Debra Nixon: Sweet Dreams

I make the absolute best stovetop peach cobber you’ll ever eat. And Dr. Fran Harris, my business coach and sister, has helped me move toward bringing my cobbler on the market. I’ve made lots of progress and I’m proud of myself for many reasons. One, three years ago I would


have never considered myself an entrepreneur. Today I feel differently. Fran and I began toying with the idea of starting a restaurant or food company at least four years ago. I enjoy cooking so the thought of turning something I love into a business was actually exciting.

To date, I’ve started a company Bess Foods (named after my mother Bessie whose recipe I use); written a business plan; created business cards; conducted a taste test at a major food show; and met with a local restaurant owner who agreed to replace his current cobbler with mine.

Up to this point, I was doing very well; I was working my business plan and following my coach’s advice. Then I ran into a two-year roadblock.

Here’s what happened. The restaurant owner told me that I would need to either give him the recipe (not a chance) and let his cook make it or I’d need to get the health department to approve a distribution company to make and package the cobbler for me, and then have the product delivered to the restaurant (major expense). In my mind, I could do neither, so here I am (two years later) and my dream of getting my cobbler on the market is still just a dream. Who know? Maybe if I’d had the money to hire someone to make my cobbler for me two years ago, we’d be having a different conversation right now.

But the money was just one impediment. The other one isn’t really a roadblock at all. I’m currently a college professor; and I love my job. But one day I will retire and the time to plan for that retirement is now. My goal is to have my food company create the wealth for my future and that of my children. I have two children in college, so quitting my day job is not an option. I know that all I need to do is put the time and thought into my company and I will find some creative ways to make this business work. I’m ready to get back on track; but just how to do that is not so clear to me. I’m sure Dr. Fran can help me. So, ‘What’s up, Doc’? Where do I go from here?"

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