Small Business and Franchise Success Stories

Candy Budyta with her Lil Baby Cakes creations.
For over 21 years, Candy Budyta juggled a lengthy commute and hectic schedule working for General Motors (GM). Toward the end of her career there, the conference calls and meetings that took away from her family time really caught up with her.

"I felt I was missing out on my children's lives. I was never able to take a field trip with them; they were waking up, getting ready, and getting to school all on their own. As they were approaching their high school years, I knew it would only be a matter of time before they would be on their own life path. I knew I would look back and regret not being able to share prior [time] with them."

Tired of missing out on these milestones, and also wanting to visit with her ailing father who had been diagnosed with cancer, she and her husband decided it was time for her to resign and start her own business.

For five months, the two worked with business brokers and reviewed companies for sale before deciding on, an Internet company dedicated to making gift cakes out of diapers for expectant mothers. The business appealed to Budyta because of its creative opportunities and the time freedom it would allow for her to attend her children's activities. She named her corporation LAGM ("Life After General Motors").

Her husband researched a variety of financing options and decided on Guidant Financial. Of their time working with the firm, Budyta said, “The people at Guidant were very accessible, answered all my questions—even the same ones I asked over and over, were very patient and very organized.”

Of the continued relationship she maintains with the company, she notes, “I appreciate all the annual reporting and how they keep things on track in terms of filing required paperwork. This includes giving me a ‘nudge’ when something is due. As a small business owner in this economy, I have a ton of things to manage on a daily basis. With Guidant I only have to respond to their requests for info and they do the rest. It’s one less thing for me to worry about.”

Budyta credits her time at GM for giving her a great work ethic and teaching her many lessons that have translated well into small business ownership. Having worked in purchasing, she understood inventory control, supply base and logistics. She admits she took for granted "having a staff to prepare reports and not having to worry about paper for the copy machine."

Though every business owner faces bumps in the road (continued financing is a challenge for Lil Baby Cakes in light of the recent economic climate), there are also tremendous joys that come with being in control of your own destiny. Budyta made a list of her favorites:

  • Customers who like our product
  • Businesses that use us for their clients and employees
  • Using my creative talents and also still using my analytical abilities
  • Having been part of the kids' high school dances, matches and having the time to be with my dad
  • Having the best "free" partner, my husband Alan
She's also had time to recently pick up one of her previous hobbies—crocheting, which allows her time to relax and brainstorm on themes and products for her business.

Budyta looks to expanding her offerings in the future, possibly launching a sister site to Lil Baby Cakes called Lil Baby Gifts, which will offer more boutique gift items for the new baby, siblings, parents and grandparents.

In the meantime, though, she is enjoying her youngest child's senior year of high school and all the athletic events that go along with that—in fact, she plans to attend every varsity tennis match!

To learn more about Lil Baby Cakes, visit their official website.


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