José Cáceres | Crain's San Antonio

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

José Cáceres

Background:  

Opened by brothers José and David Cáceres in San Antonio 2014, La Panadería is a bakery that specializes in handmade bread and pastries inspired by Mexico’s Golden Era, as well as by French, Italian and American bread making techniques. Last year, La Panadería was featured on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.”

The Mistake:

Initially, when we came to San Antonio, we thought we could figure out the real-estate part of our business, ourselves; we didn’t think we needed a realtor. We thought we understood the market, and that we were capable enough to find a spot and to negotiate the terms of our lease on our own.

When we did find a location, we ended up signing a lease that, unbeknownst to us at the time, turned out to be less than favorable because we didn’t negotiate the right terms. Unfortunately, we were trapped until the lease was up.

We didn’t understand the market enough to be making those kinds of decisions on our own, and it impacted our business.

When it comes to negotiating decisions that will affect you in the long-term, always hire an expert to help you.

The Lesson:

When it comes to negotiating decisions that will affect you in the long-term, always hire an expert to help you.

My mother always used to say: “The most important decisions you’ll make are the ones that will impact you after two or three years.” Decisions involving commercial real estate definitely fall into that category. In fact, their impact could last longer than two or three years. And you have to live with that.

Many things can affect the success of your business; your location and rent and the terms of your lease are definitely three of those things. Real estate is a science; that’s why you need a license to work in that field.

If we didn’t know that before, we definitely know it now.

La Panadería on Twitter: @breadcultura.

​Photo courtesy of La Panadería