When I was a child I used to come home from school and be sent straight to work, making bagels in the back of the shop. It wasn’t because Mum and Dad were mean, they just didn’t have a lot of money so we all had to pitch in. They were teaching us to fend for ourselves, if no one was hiring when we graduated from Uni, we could always start our own business. I learned more about business working at Pop’s Bagel Shop (that’s what we called it) than from all my years of business school exams, theses and lectures.
I never ended up opening a bagel shop of my own, but I used the money from my own company to help my parents retire. Everything was going well until one day in September of 2008 everything collapsed. World stocks plummeted and everything I had worked for was in tatters.
Adam and Louisa, my brother and sister, were working as freelancers at the time. I was desperate and I needed all the help I could get. We got together, brainstormed ideas and that’s when it struck me. Why not expand on what we all knew how to do best: make bagels? Only we didn’t want to open a shop, we wanted to distribute across the country. Why should only a handful of people try our delicious product when the whole country could enjoy it?
We drew up a plan and pretty soon Pop’s Bagels were hitting supermarket shelves. To distinguish our product we also distributed our own Pop’s line of cream cheese, smoked salmon and capers. It wasn’t instant smooth sailing but the business picked up and mum and dad couldn’t have been more proud.
We hired people to help us streamline processes. One advisor recommended we use project management software to help our teams drive creative projects, incorporating our distributors in on the latest developments.
I’m back on my feet, my team is happy, my brother and sister are back to freelancing and remote working(although now they have a little set aside for when work is a little sparse) and Mum and Dad, well they passed away but I’ll always be grateful for the lessons they taught us when we were kids.