Meet Kevin Ford, the founder, CEO, and Head Baker of Tell Me Something Sweet Bakery
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Kevin Ford: Tell Me Something Sweet Bakery, located in McKinney, TX is a black-owned bakery founded on multi-generational secrets through the sale of handmade baked goods crafted with real ingredients and care, from our kitchen to yours.
2020 and 2021 threw a lot of curve balls into business on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past couple years, how can businesses thrive in 2022? What lessons have you learned?
Kevin Ford: Yes, the past two years have been quite interesting, to say the least. We have learned in our company to remain resilient and to continue to dream big about the offerings to our customers. In 2021, as we took our concept to market through local retail venues and events, we were able to gauge and assess our local audience, their likes, and dislikes. Now in 2022, we are continuing to build our brand and deliver our products with a determination of a great dessert experience for our customers.
The pandemic seems to keep on disrupting the economy, what should businesses focus on in 2022? What advice would you share?
Kevin Ford: I believe if businesses remain focused on customer satisfaction and employee development, they can use these focal points to grow their business and pivot when necessary. All entrepreneurs know the risk involved in owning a business so regardless of inflation, pandemic, the great resignation, we should be prepared to follow our business plan and model, adjust where necessary, and keep forging forth.
How has the pandemic changed your industry and how have you adapted?
Kevin Ford: The foodservice industry was hit hard, but again we saw resilience and dedication to our craft that caused businesses to start delivering who weren’t delivering before. It caused our industry to focus on employee satisfaction and customer safety, where those aspects of the business may not look attractive to investors but are important to growth and sustainability.
What advice do you wish you received when the pandemic started and what do you intend on improving in 2022?
Kevin Ford: I would have loved advice in regard to funding the bakery, ensuring that working capital was sufficient in order to continue to grow and pivot during the pandemic. We are now making improvements to monitoring our overhead costs, supply costs, dollars spent, and pricing of our sweets to ensure we continue to turn a profit but more importantly have sufficient working capital.
Online business surged higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for 2022?
Kevin Ford: I believe that a continued model of hybrid selling will occur. There are areas like Texas where people love to be outside, enjoying the weather and supporting small and local crafters, However, there are still some customers who are leery of public places so we will try to meet both types of customers where they are, by continuing to offer delivery services and pick up options
How many hours a day do you spend in front of a screen?
Kevin Ford: Actually little, my position causes me to spend most of my time in the commercial kitchen
The majority of executives use stories to persuade and communicate in the workplace. Can you share with our readers examples of how you implement that in your business to communicate effectively with your team?
Kevin Ford: Our current tight knit team of employees and contractors are our greatest assests. I often encourage them with stories of me baking in the kitchen with my mother and grandmother and how they taught me to love and appreciate the art of baking and developing recipes. And even when the cake or pie didnt’t turn out the way that I expected, to learn the lesson and adjust. Baking is an art and sometimes the canvas and supplies don’t cooperate, but those are simply times to learn and grow.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as the real challenge right now?
Kevin Ford: I believe the real challenge is society acknowledging that something natural tried its best to stop us, but it didn’t and we can create a normal, not new, not old, just normal after this storm. This normal can be a place of strength for entrepreneurs, compassion for others and support of new and innovative ideas that will cause companies to grow.
In 2022, what are you most interested in learning about? Crypto, NFTs, online marketing, or any other skill sets? Please share your motivations.
Kevin Ford: I’m motivated to build our brand successfully through online marketing, social media, and online ad placement.
A record 4.4 million Americans left their jobs in September in 2021, accelerating a trend that has become known as the Great Resignation. 47% of people plan to leave their job during 2022. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. Do you think leaders see the data and think “that’s not me – I’m not that boss they don’t want to work for? What changes do you think need to happen?
Kevin Ford: I think good leaders stay humble and put strategies in place to retain their employees, using open lines of communication to ensure any issues are addressed. Now can good leaders do everything or change everyone’s mind, of course not. Yet they can ensure that their greatest assets, called people, are taken care of through good benefits, appropriate compensation, and opportunities for internal promotion.
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
Kevin Ford: The ability to connect with like-minded CEOs. It’s hard connecting when I’m always in the kitchen, but my goal is to get out more to be the face of my brand and to connect and network with other business owners to glean from.
What does “success” in 2022 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Kevin Ford: Success means the continued development of our brand and dessert items. It is my desire to launch a new product every quarter, something fun, something so delicious that customers will want us to keep it on our permanent menu. I love making folks happy through baking and I plan to do my best to create items that make palettes dance!
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Kevin Ford for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Kevin Ford or his company, you can do it through his – Instagram
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