Monica Mitidieri began jotting down ideas for irresistible cookies while on bedrest during a high-risk pregnancy, but she didn’t formally create Monica’s Gourmet Cookies until eight years later. Instead, she focused on her catering business.
But requests for her cookies begun to eclipse every other item on her gourmet catering menu. “My start in cookies came from needing a dessert on a weekly luncheon menu when I catered,” she recalls. “Soon after, the client didn’t care what I catered as long as the cookies were on the menu.”
Mitidieri began a mail-order business which has grown to include a retail location at her production facility and an ecommerce business. Three other gourmet food sites and 34 stores in Western Michigan also sell Mitidieri 33 flavors of cookies, which include gluten and sugar-free varieties.
Mitidieri sought a SCORE mentor to help her tackle self-doubt and get to the next level in growing her business.
Seeking help to close the confidence gap
“I had a hundred questions to ask and no one around,” she says. “I purchased my production facility after years of growing my accounts and business. I wanted to know if I was doing it right. I mean, it looked like I was, but I needed to know from an expert.”
She worked with several SCORE mentors, including Bob Cooper, Dale Ewald, and Dan Butler. Butler helped her with numbers, and Ewald assisted with production flow. “What a great team I had finally formed!”
Her mentors helped Mitidieri see the importance of becoming familiar with her financial reports. “Dan made me be responsible for knowing the numbers on the reports. Before that, I glanced at them and kept going. Revenue increased after I became familiar with where the dollars were bleeding out and how I could rein them back in,” Mitidieri says.
She says that every time she receives an invoice from a vendor, she considers how to get a better price or value from them. “Not everything is just a dollar,” she says.
From Grand Rapids, Michigan to the national spotlight
In addition to steadily growing her business for more than 18 years, Mitidieri cookies were recently featured on the shopping network QVC, an event that was featured by local press. A special assortment is now featured on the QVC website.
Her production facility also offers a storefront and cafe where fans can relax with a sweet treat.
Mitidieri offers the following advice to other small business owners: “Do not let someone else quiet your passion. Passion will drive you to seek the information you need for the rest.”
Not sure your small business is growing in the right direction? Meet with a SCORE mentor (or two or three) to talk about your goals and next steps.