The not-fun stuff


When PGB was broken into (twice!) in 2014, it was really an awful feeling – so on Christmas Day when two Toronto restaurants were gutted in a fire, my heart went out to the owners. I also thought about the importance of things like insurance – and how I find it a really boring topic. I should be saying here that since proper insurance is so crucial, I am enamored with the subject but the truth is that along with cash registers, payroll systems, security alarms and a bunch of other topics, my mind wanders pretty quickly.

As a small business owner you have three choices when it comes to things that bore you:

  1. Ignore them.
  2. Grit your teeth and look after them.
  3. Delegate them.

I am a big fan of (3) – but in the beginning (i.e when not a dollar of revenue is coming in), you don’t have this luxury. In 2010 and 2011 when I was working on PGB, the “not fun” stuff included incorporating the business, figuring out the maze of municipal, provincial and federal legislation that applies to small business, researching and understanding point of sale and computer systems, and looking into important matters like property insurance, workers’ insurance, automatic deposit systems for payroll, payroll deductions…are you asleep yet?

I was really lucky that right from the beginning, Andrew volunteered to take on the burden of technology, including the payroll and accounting systems. Andrew really loves technology and is exceptionally good at it.   But after he had paid PGB’s bills and done its payroll for 4 months, Andrew (exhausted) said to me (also exhausted) something like, “look, Jean, I can’t keep doing your payroll and bookkeeping, I have a full time job!”

At that point I knew I needed to have someone dedicated to the finance and operations part of the business, and in a lucky coincidence, one of the part time bakers was interested in the job. Enter Carly, Manager, Finance and Operations, who has grown with the job over the last few years and excels at all the things that I am just not good at.

So, going back to the options for dealing with un-fun things as a business owner, I don’t advocate #1 – ignoring them. You need to go with #2- gritting your teeth and doing them yourself. Applying for our federal government special milk permit was the most BORING thing I’ve ever done but even Andrew wouldn’t volunteer for that one. But as mentioned above, when no revenue is coming in, you’ll need to do things a million miles from the nature of your business, in my case, cupcakes. (People often say, Cupcakes! What a fun business!….and it is, but like every business, it has its 100% all-business side that is not all light and pretty).

Ultimately, when you can afford to (based on your company’s revenue), quickly delegate activities that you don’t enjoy to someone who can do them better, leaving you time to do things that you both really enjoy and therefore  do well.


About the author

Jean Blacklock

Jean opened the popular Prairie Girl Bakery in the financial district of Toronto in 2011. She owned and operated the business until it closed in 2021 as a result of the pandemic’s impact on downtown Toronto. Read more about her background in commerce, law, and entrepreneurship here.

By Jean Blacklock


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