I need some help. I've spent so much on my 'business' and so far have only had one order that was paid (the rest were 'trades'). My DH is getting perturbed. So what are some of your ideas for generating orders??
We have recently set up our business and this was a question we had.
We have had a small flow of orders starting with family and friends and that means our cakes were seen by their family and friends. Remember that word of mouth is the best thing.
The other thing we did to get our name out there was to do Christmas cakes... they were a sure hit. (We posted the pictures on this site) We had orders for 25 which means 25 FAMILIES saw them and thats a lot of people, we ensured our presentation was SUPER and included some business cards in with the invoice.
Get yourself a website, ours is under construction but at least then your family and friends can give it out, people look and remember and when they need a cake you will pop into their head. Along that line someone suggested to me to including a birthdate register on the site, the customers register their birthdate and those of their families along with their email address. 1 month before you send them a reminder about your cake business and a 5 or 10% discount if they order... hope this all helps.
I too, am just doing orders for family and friends (Mainly getting lots of people at work who are having me do birthday cakes!) After the holidays, I plan on putting out a flyer in my neighbhorhood (we are allowed to put them under a special slot on our mailboxes) with will include a 15% off coupon. I figured if I get a few cakes at some of their kids birthday parties, I may get some outside business. I also have a web site and have made up business cards. I know my cakes taste really good (people go nuts over them) and I need people to taste them. (I am still working on my techniques to make them LOOk good too! haha)
But I agree, the more people who taste your cakes, see your cakes, the more business you will get! Your product will speak for itself!
Thanks for the information. I am new to this also and windered how to get started. I will be doing my nephews birthday cake and my cousins baby shower but they are not " paid" cakes. This hobby seems like so much fun. I am also looking into doing cookie bouquets. Thanks agian for some of the info ~ Melissa Chaney~
Pair up with another cake decorator if you know any. My friend does them and works full time. When she is too busy or just doesn't want to do them she is giving them my info. I gave her a brochure with my info and pictures of my cakes. I keep this in my purse as well, because then they can actually see my work unlike using just a business card. I'm looking for more ideas to keep the orders coming sooooo........anyone else have any good ideas???? TIA
My friend told me last night that if someone agrees to let her do their childs first birthday, then she throws in the smash cake for free. She said that this almost always leads to orders for their 2nd, 3rd, 4th, ect birthday. Just an idea!
Try making small cakes, or, a large wedding cake and bringing it to a local hospital on the weekend as a 'taster' cake. Usually dropping this off at the emergency room break room will generate phone calls throughout the hospital to the rest of the departments (everyone wants 'freebies').
You'll get a lot of exposure off of one large cake (nurses, doctors, office personnel), leave business cards! We've done this when we made several cakes for a cake show (my friend works at the hospital and we didn't want the cakes to go to waste). This proved to be a lucrative business decision! (Another good idea is a large decorated cake in teachers' lounges for a special occasion, along with lots of business cards! You'll generate a lot of orders if you approach 'working' women in this way!
those are all good ideas already posted. When you go to any event where there are people, give out your business card. I did my own cards, with all info on front & the back has all my prices. You could try putting a classified ad in the paper for cake decorating services. Try going around to other party related business, like florists, party good stores etc & exchange business cards. Restaurants that cater small parties too.
One thing that I did was to contact the local chapter of 'Moms of Multiples' club. I found out that they had a vendor night coming up and participated in that. I will also be advertising in their monthly newsletter and offering a 15% discount to all members for their first order with me.
Another thought that I had (haven't done it yet, but will next week) was to contact the Priest and office staff at my church. I'm going to offer to do wedding cakes at a discount for people who probably couldn't afford a full-price cake. This works for me 2 ways, 1) I get to help make someone's day special and of course, 2) it gets my name out there.
Get a magnet or decal made for your car. Make it look just like your business card & make sure if you have a website that the address is on there! Heck, splurge for one for each member of your family if they're willing to put it on their cars!
Ask your local library if you can post a flier on their bulletin boards. LOTS of stay-at-home moms take their kids in there for story times during the day! (I know I do! And I always read the bulletin board for anything interesting and new.)
Host your own bake sale instead of a garage sale or rummage sale. Make sure your business card or a label w/your info is attached to EVERYTHING.
Offer to teach a decorating class to a group of Brownies in your area. (Contact your local grade school and they can put you in touch with a troop leader) Prepare little goody bags for the girls in your class that include coupons for future orders.
Be a little pushy. By this, I mean that you should get into conversation with people as often as possible that you do birthday cakes. Make sure that you never leave your house without a couple of business cards in your pocket. Mention casually that you do cakes, when they say, 'Oh yeah?' you simply hand them your card that *just happens* to be in your pocket, and say, 'Yeah, give me a call for your next family birthday.' I hand out several cards every time I go to Wal-Mart because I get people to talk to me all the time.
Hope these ideas help you brainstorming! Good luck!
Another good way to reach brides is at a hair salon. You could put up flyers, business cards & maybe a small display cake-if the owner doesn't mind, or you are a long term customer. Also could donate a sheet cake for tasting w business cards. Just about every bride has her hair/makeup done!
Thank-you so much for the ideas. I will try the girl scouts. That sounds like fun....Thanks agian for the info.
Thatnks for all the ideas! Now I just need to do it!
this may not be something that some people here agree with, but...
Don't think that because the cake is for family or friends, that they have to be free. Your supplies and time (and elctricity or gas etc.) are worth money. Someone has to pay the bills, Free cakes don't. I'm not saying you have to charge everyone, but you can't give everything away for free, it won't always generate income.
I would also recommend not buying every fun toy you ever wished for in Cake Decorating Land! Maybe everyone else out there has more restraint, but I spent about a year and a half collecting all kinds of equipment, so I would have it and know how to use it in case someone wanted a particular design. The thing is, I have a lot of equipment I rarely use, and I definitely didn't need to buy so much. I have to constantly fight this belief that if only I had this pan or this tool, everyone would want that new product and it would lead to huge interest in my designs! Now I have strict rules for myself before I can buy any new fun stuff for cakes . . . and the fact that I'm running out of space to put it all is a great motivator to leave it on the store shelf, too.
Restraint? What's that? LOL
I've noticed that a lot of you are passing along business cards. Are all of you licensed and/or have a certified bakery? I've been thinking of passing out cards as well, but I am terrified that I will get into trouble because I am not licensed nor do I have a certified kitchen. I just bake from home and word of mouth has been my only means of advertisement.
I also had some other ideas, but there again, I'm scared out of my wits about the card thing. Any suggestions?
Some may disagree...I was really scared too until a lady at cake show who owns a large famous bakery told us plainly that almost everyone starts in their house, almost no one is completely legal, and you can hand out business cards, get contacts, etc but just sort of lay low as far as don't make big huge advertisements, etc.
I know many will disagree but this is a well known bakery owner and if she did it in a very strict state, I was more relaxed to start handing out cards here in PA, which is a very lax state as long as you are not selling perishable (refrigerated) items.
I say check out your state's laws..if they are super duper strict I'd be kinda worried but if your house would pretty much check out fine anyway, I wouldn't worry about it.
Well, I guess I just needed to be patient! I got two orders within minutes of eachother last night. WooHoo!
As far as handing out business cards without a license, I am also scared to advertise in that manner. What I do is hand out cards with my info like my name number and email only nothing that suggests a cake business. When I hand them out I write on the back of my card the word Cakes. I have been doing this for months now and it works for me. I have gotten more orders since handing out cards.
CONGRATS ON YOUR ORDERS AMBERLICIOUS! Good things come to those who wait. LOL