Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Paul Rhynard, CEO of Wilkinson Baking Company, located in Seattle, WA, USA.

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

Wilkinson Baking Company invented the BreadBot, the world’s first and only fully-automated commercial bread-baking robot. The BreadBot is designed to sit in the bakery of a grocery store where consumers can either vend a hot loaf out of the BreadBot or grab a sliced and bagged loaf of bread off the shelf, baked earlier that day. We serve grocery chains and deploy BreadBots directly into grocery stores.

Tell us about yourself

I'm a strategist and an operator. I am not the innovator of the BreadBot, but rather the one hired to take Wilkinson Baking Company to the next level. I am driven to create the structure and environment to enable my team to be incredibly successful. I am a former McKinsey & Co. strategy consultant and Chief Strategy Officer of Russell Investments. I'm also a husband and father of 2 young boys.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

While my tenure at Wilkinson Baking Company has been short, my biggest accomplishment is being able to craft a vision and story for the company compelling enough to convince investors to fund a $3m seed round during a time of extreme market turmoil. The summer of 2022 was not a friendly fundraising environment, and our company has a complex history. Raising capital in that environment was not easy, but we did it anyway.

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

The sheer complexity of managing a business is undoubtedly the hardest thing. I can go from building a complex legal contract to delving into how our software drives production to discussing inventory management to interviewing a potential hire, all in a matter of a few hours. It can be difficult to maintain focus on the bigger picture, prioritizing effectively across so many different draws on my time.

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

  1. Solve a problem looking for a solution, not a solution looking for a problem. The latter is a recipe for failure.
  2. Focus first, and expand later. It's easy to get distracted by all the various avenues you can explore. Pick your spot, go after it with focus, and don't stray. Once you succeed, and only then should you consider expanding (earn the right).
  3. Build a team that can do things you cannot, and then let them run. It's easy to hire people that are like you as it is comfortable. Instead, push yourself to find people who are not like you and have different skills, backgrounds, and perspectives. You then become the common thread that binds the team and enables the whole to perform.

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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