You went to culinary school (or maybe not) and you have a passion for baking. You are ready to pursue your dream of having your own bakery. Before you make this big investment, there are two things you should do:Get a job as a manager at a major chain bakery or restaurant -- Panera Bread, la petite boulangerie, even McDonald's -- that hires predominantly low-skilled labor, for at least six months.
You need this experience for three main reasons.
First, you should learn how to deal with someone else's employees before you hire your own. You need to learn first hand that your employees may not have the same passion for the bakery as you have. You will not feel so bad about firing them if you are just the manager carrying out company policy.
Second, you will get a chance to deal with complaints in an impersonal way. There will always be employees or customers with problems. You need to NOT take it personally and it's easier to disengage when it is not your business. If you work for a large enough company, they will even teach you how to do this.
Third, as a manager in a large corporation, you will have health insurance which you can take with you when you leave. Assuming you live in the United States, your employer is required to offer you COBRA, which will allow you to continue (and pay for) your existing health insurance for 18 months.
The other work experience you need before you invest in your bakery is to work in a high volume kitchen for at least six months. Pay attention to how things are done, how the kitchen team works together, and ask lots of questions. Don't worry about the low salary because you'll appreciate any income at all during the first few years of having your own business. High volume kitchens do things over and over, and most are extremely efficient. During this internship you will learn that it CAN be done. Kitchen workers can multitask and work together to accomplish incredible things. And do it again the next day...and the next...and the next...
One more thing, save your money. As much as possible. No matter how much you think you will need, something will come up and you will need more.