MI: What is Bayview Bread all about?
MR: I have a background in IT. I started making sourdough bread at home about 3 years ago, to the point where my wife said to stop making it. I suggested selling at Farmers market and she said “No”. Little did she know...We’ve spent the last year making bread for markets, adding new products lines, building a kitchen, and making a schedule that made sense. Somewhere around the end of last year, I realized I needed a Business Plan. I was looking to set up a retail establishment and I knew that I had the information, but I didn’t have the experience or the time to make a Business Plan.
Let me just say, it was a great experience. Not one of those money sinkholes that you usually get. The Plan Writers were professional. It was great to get someone who could work with my plan; take my ideas and generate them in a way that I could use. And you guys did an excellent job with my business plan. It was great to partner with someone who had experience in the industry. The real proof was when I went to banks and got the money.
I try to not do anything without thinking about it beforehand. Everything before Plan Writers was out of pocket. I owned it all and I had to pay it all off. I knew I was going to be retiring from the consulting business and focusing all my efforts on the baking.
The plan for me going forward was to continue to build my retail wholesale baking business and go to farmers markets, which would help sustain sales and our efforts going forward. At that point, I wasn’t quite ready. The Business Plan was there, but I couldn’t put anything into action without employing people first, and I didn’t have any experience doing that. I have had people work for me, but employing people, I had never done.
So, the next logical step for me was to expand my business into some more wholesale and retail. Within the year, I plan on hiring one person (maybe two). The next important thing after that is to find someone to work for me and eventually take over for me. I need to have that protégé who can take over for me while I continue to go to market and sell.
And now we’re here. I am at that next level step. It was great to have the Plan Writers help me with that vision.
MI: Why “Bread”? What made you switch from IT into the Baking industry?
MR: I was looking to do something when I retired. I thought it would be something fun to do on the weekends. Little did I know it would become a raging success. I’ve since learned that sleep is most definitely a luxury.
It was one of those things during the pandemic. I was bored and I started making sourdough bread. I learned that I had a gluten allergy and I went on a gluten-free diet. Even still, I am sensitive to yeasted breads. And I noticed two things about the Sourdough breads. Breadsmith are chains that have good bread, but it has a short shelf life. All I knew is that I wanted really good bread. So, I started making it myself.
I noticed that my bread didn’t get moldy for a week, sometimes two. Sourdough by itself will inhibit mold growth. It will go moldy overnight, but takes a long time for it to get that point. Taste is the most important thing for me and I really started to see that it was important for a lot of other people too once we started selling at Farmer’s Markets. The amount of people coming back week after week surprised me. To build
that relationship with return customers was so shocking and the fact that they all gave positive feedback on my breads always surprised me. That’s what kept me going when I got tired. It was inspiring.
In a way, it’s an artform. In some situations, our breads recreate childhood memories. I once made a Rye Bread for a guy who lives down the road from one of the Farmer’s Markets. He told me he used to have it as a child, and now he comes back every week to buy it for his whole family.
To bring that kind of personal connection to people, that’s what it’s all about.
MI: What would you say your mission is in the industry?
MR: To continue to make good products and not dilute it to the point where I’m cutting corners just to meet the demand. I know a guy like that. He’s only interested in the bottom line. My mission is to continue to provide meaningful experiences with my customers. We use good flour; a lot of its organic and local. I make it a point to educate people on the types of flour and what makes good flour good.
MI: Is there anything you’d say to first-time entrepreneurs starting a business of their own?
MR: Do an experiment process. Don’t jump in. Do your research. Find out if people like your product. Do test sampling. And, become innovative. Don’t just be one dimensional in what you’re doing. You have to continue to innovate and bring new products to market for people. Some of the best things I’ve made are from people coming up to me and saying “You should do this”. And although I’ve never done it, I gave it a shot anyway, and it’s always been well received.
MI: Do you have any favorite books/films/ podcasts?
MR: I love anything to do with Greek Mythology. I’ve had a multitude of hobbies in my life and baking bread is probably one of my favorite hobbies. Plus, I’m getting paid for it. Strive to reach out and learn about anything. You need to have a tactile relationship with learning and it’s important to continue to learn something. You could say that I’m into the hobby of learning.
MI: How has a Business Plan, written by the Plan Writers, helped you?
MR: It helped me sit down to think about the logistics and have a little personal interview with myself. I’m not the kind of guy that jumps up onto a podium and tells everyone how great I am. I don’t exaggerate my abilities, and when I do achieve something, I don’t gloat about it.
MI: Would you recommend the Plan Writers to other business owners?
MR: Yeah, I would. I ACTUALLY would. To me it was important to get somebody to share ideas with. The questionnaire helped me get all the info together and make it digestible for readers. I asked questions like “Is this practical? Is this real?”. Alex did a great job putting everything together with the financial information. That was something I wasn’t very comfortable with. It’s always nice to have someone with experience to tell me I could do much more. The comradery was nice to have as well. Alex was a blast to work with. I have absolutely zero buyers’ remorse. In fact, it was tremendous value for what I put into it. In a few years if I find I need another Business Plan, I’ll be coming to the Plan Writers.
Mr. Mike Riggs launched his cottage, home-based Bayview Bread in 2021. He wanted his Company to create a wide variety of artisan sourdough breads, pastries, croissants, cupcakes, shortbreads, and cookies. He has quickly developed a reputation for his unique and outstanding artisan breads and pastries.
So how do you differentiate yourself as a baker? One way is by making the best hearth bake European style artisan breads like this:
Mike is using his business plan to secure expansion funding to support his growing wholesale bakery business, and to secure a retail storefront. With Mike’s baked goods quickly garnering rave reviews his biggest problem is that there simply aren’t enough hours in a day
With a background that includes being a Chief Technology Officer at the corporate level, Mike’s background includes technical and sales skills that have proven crucial to running his bakery. He is a careful thinker and a detail- oriented person who applied a career in technology to mastering the craft of baking. Now he’s making his big move!