Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Ana Fanakra, Owner of Ana’s Norwegian Bakeri LLC, located in Centennial, CO, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I run a small Norwegian-style Bakeri. I started the business with a focus on other Norwegians in the Denver Metro area in mind, but I have now shifted my focus to anyone interested in high-quality, lower-sugar sweet products.
Tell us about yourself
When COVID-19 hit and everything shut down in March 2020, I was furloughed 50% from my newer position with an entertainment security company as their Human Resources generalist. In May of 2020, I decided that sitting idle didn't do me well and thought to myself that since I'd been trying to locate Norwegian-style baked goods in this country since I moved here out of high school in 1999, I would try my hand as a cottage food business to offer my baked goods to the surrounding communities. In June 2020, I was laid off from my position with the entertainment security company and decided to focus my attention fully on my small business. I attended multiple farmer's markets and grew an amazing and supportive following. In April 2021, I decided to look for a place to open my first brick-and-mortar bakery, and in May, I started renovations, which led to us opening our doors at the end of June 2021. Since then, we've grown steadily. I was able to hire someone to help me on the weekdays, which really helped my productivity and gave me the time I needed to increase the kinds of products I now offer daily. I am incredibly grateful to share the type of food I make with the community. I love to get in here every morning, knowing I'll make someone's day as they find us for the first time.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Overcoming my fear of not being good enough. For a large part of my life, I believed I couldn't do things like run my own company, but now I know better. It's not always easy, and doubts creep in, but I know now that I am capable of pretty much anything I put my mind to. I learned that the only limitations I have are the ones I put on myself, and now I try to help others to learn that as well.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
For me, it is the balance of business versus family. I started this business not only to provide for my family but also to have more time with my family. I work long days, get up early (2-2:30 am Tuesday through Saturday), and go to bed early (8-8:30 pm Tuesday through Saturday), but I feel like I have more quality time with my family than before. Sundays are family days where I get to sleep in and then just be with those I love. On Mondays, I get ready for the week while everyone else is at work/school, so although I'm busier now than ever before, I still feel like I have more time.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Trust that you can do it.
- Believe in yourself.
- Believe in whatever product you want to put out there.
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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