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June 06, 2018 10:04 PM

Sioux Falls Smallcakes: A Story Of Risk & Success

Starting your own business usually involves taking risks. How do you make sure you don't go in over your head?

That's a question Shawn and Dannalee Nordhagen have asked themselves many times. The two own Smallcakes Cupcakery and Creamery in Sioux Falls.

"Everyone loves cupcakes and ice cream, right? We want to put smiles on people's faces," Dannalee said.

However, the path to get here hasn't been all smiles.

"I thought she was crazy," Shawn said.

Dannalee worked as a dental assistant for 25 years. Shawn was in sales.

"I was just getting bored of it. I was getting tired of it. I thought there has to be more to life than this," Dannalee said.

The two decided to quit their jobs seven years ago and open up a Smallcakes and a frozen yogurt shop in Rapid City.

"It was definitely a big leap. We decided life is short. You only live once. Let's go for it," Dannalee said.

The couple found a lot of success, but then two of their kids moved to Sioux Falls. They felt the urge to close the Rapid City location and open up the store in Sioux Falls.

"It's really different starting all over. We had all our groundwork laid, and we were building our business," Dannalee said.

How do you take risk without going in over your head?

"Don't wait. We work with a lot of startups. The biggest thing that we see is people who have too much riding on their current income from a job. It's hard to quit," Five J Marketing & Design Founder Jake Peterson said.

At the same time you have to do your research. Form a budget. Consider who your customers will be, and target them.

"Make sure you do your homework before you get into something you can't handle. Maybe you thought you had a good idea, but it's not because it's only been your idea, and you haven't talked to anybody about it," Peterson said.

Meanwhile, the Nordhagens are enjoying sweet success, but they have more plans. They want to open another business in Sioux Falls--a business that they hope will put the frosting on customers' days.

"I like just seeing the look on people's faces when they come in. Everybody is so excited to see our stuff. When they try it, the grin gets even bigger," Shawn said.

Here are some other things you'll want to consider before starting your own business. Will you have to hire employees, and how many. Also, make sure you know and follow all of the health and safety regulations, and continue to identify milestones you want to reach.




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  • Business
  • Banking/Finance
  • General
  • Industry
  • Retail & Restaurants
  • Shops
  • Sioux Falls, SD
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