Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Alicia Hommon, Owner of The Laughing Place Bakery, located in Gladstone, MO, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

The Laughing Place Bakery is a small, hometown-style bakery in the heart of Gladstone, Missouri, specializing in gluten-free treats that are as tasty as the treats and tastes you grew up with. Our customers are our family, friends, and community from both near and far.

Tell us about yourself

I always daydreamed about owning a bakery. I just never knew that is what I'd actually end up doing one day. In early 2015, after having worked out of a commercial kitchen we'd built in my garage for 2 years, we had an opportunity to open our storefront in Gladstone. It has been a dream come true. Every day as I have gone to work for the past 7 years, I've looked forward to seeing the faces of a community and customers who have truly become family. There is nothing better than getting to use my and my staff's gifts and talents to serve new friends every day.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is learning how to be a part of a real community. I'd love to take credit for it, but truly, the city of Gladstone and her residents embraced me and embraced the dream we laid before them and have supported us through every up and down, good and bad decision.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

The hardest thing about being a business owner is never wanting to let anyone down. Daily I have to make decisions about what to prioritize to best serve our customers and serve them with excellence. In order to do that, we've had to learn to say no to the less important tasks or offerings. That's TOUGH for someone who loves to give the "yes."

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

My top three tips for aspiring entrepreneurs are these:

  1. Be authentically and unapologetically you. This is the only way not to get burned out when you are in the hard moments, and there will most certainly be hard moments. A dear friend and mentor shared it with me: "do what you do best, nothing more, nothing less, and do it better than everyone else." No one in the history of the world is you, and so be you.
  2. Business is hard. Know how to tell the difference between when it is time to move on and when it is time to power through. And don't ever make that determination when you are hungry or tired. The most rational among will make an unsound decision when faced with a grumbly tummy.
  3. It is important to recognize how to measure your success, which is not always on a financial scale. What is your goal to accomplish? Do you want to serve your community? What is the measure of that service? Do you want to help a philanthropic cause through your business? How do you measure that? Healthy finances are a tool to accomplish your goals, so it is important, but in the end, what do you want to be left with? If you know the answer to that question, you'll have something to hang on to and when the going gets tough.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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