Looking Back to Look Forward
Sticky Fingers Cooking made some big changes in 2023 and 2024 is on track to make the business evolve even more.
When I started Sticky Fingers Cooking in 2011, I boldly contacted 20 schools in my area. Here I was with my fabulous new business idea—that benefits children!--anticipating a full embrace from the community. Only three schools said yes to me. Great! I took three and have been growing ever since—as a business owner, mother, employer, and human—to provide after-school enrichment that teaches kids how to cook and more.
The experiences over the next nine years—along with building an excellent team--helped me to expand the business to three states. However, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, there were more hard-earned lessons in front of me to keep the business going at all, let alone make it bigger and better than ever. I’ve talked about the challenges in some recent podcasts, such as this FranchiseU episode.
Yet these ups and downs brought me to the point where my business was in a position to franchise.
Becoming a Franchisor
You can go to the store and buy instant mix for cake, pudding, all kinds of foods, but in the business world, you have to start from scratch. Making a successful business into a franchise business was not instant.
Working with a mentor in 2021, I saw the opportunity to franchise my established business that was thriving in Colorado, Texas, and Illinois. Throughout 2022 and working with my team, we laid the groundwork to franchise Sticky Fingers Cooking. Honestly, this process was much slower than I expected or wanted, but I understood the value in doing it correctly so that our launch was executed successfully, not just for the company but every future franchisee.
At Sticky Fingers Cooking, we believe our company culture is an important ingredient to our success. This was never more evident than when we learned that two of our team members wanted to become our first franchisees.
Signing Our First Franchisees
The years of building a successful business with a set of values that matched with people ready to fulfill their own dreams came together in 2023. We announced our new franchise opportunity to the world, and within a few months had signed our first franchisees, who seamlessly opened their new businesses in Austin and Chicago. The pride, the excitement, the joy!
As we were supporting these new businesses to get off the ground quickly, we were busy networking in 2023. The Sticky Fingers Cooking team attended many industry conferences to learn as much as possible about franchising. Along the way, we were hearing from and meeting with people who also wanted to buy a franchise.
Nearing the end of 2023, we welcomed two more franchisees to Sticky Fingers Cooking!
Building Momentum for 2024
Here we are, taking a moment to reflect on all that happened in 2023 as we prepare for the year ahead. The entire team at Sticky Fingers Cooking is filled with gratitude for the opportunities to grow together and to continue bringing this business to schools across the country.
Based on what I’ve learned as a business owner myself, I want to share these insights with those who are considering franchise ownership:
- Start today. This might look like clicking here to inquire about available territories in your area. Becoming a Sticky Fingers Cooking franchisee may not be a fit for you, but maybe through our conversation, you will learn what you are aligned with and take that next step.
- Just know that it’s going to take longer than you think it is. Starting a business—either from scratch with your own idea or as a franchisee—takes time. And paperwork. It’s like remodeling or building a house—there will be delays, permits, choices, and new relationships along this way. While at times this is frustrating, the lessons are important for the best result.
- Stick to your values. When you know who you are, what matters to you, and how you want to make an impact in your community, then when you have a conversation with someone about a new business opportunity, you’ll know it is either perfect for you—or not.
As I look ahead to 2024 and beyond, I see a future filled with franchisees across the country who are embarking on a new path for themselves through working with children and food.
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