So How Long Does It Really Take?!

Business By Jessica1817 Updated 26 Oct 2007 , 5:03pm by sewlora

Jessica1817 Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 1:33am
post #1 of 15

I became licensed the beginning of August, and it seems business is either feast or famine. I will be jamming one week, then go another with absoultely nothing. I have advertised in a local magazine, online, and have ordered a car magnet. It seems when people call to inquire they either want a cake I can't do because its a copyrighted character (and they don't want a cake kit), or they don't want to pay $32 for an 11x15 cake. I don't want to lower my prices because I don't think its unreasonable, and I know it takes time, but meanwhile I'm still paying for liability and extra car insurance, advertising, etc. So, how long does it really take to get things really going?

14 replies
kathik Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 1:59am
post #2 of 15

I don't know the answer either. I just started in July and it's the same way with me. I can't figure out how to keep people thinking about me regularly. I just finished my first newsletter that I will be sending out Sunday morning. I'm hoping this will drum up interest!

Good luck, maybe we will both get some answers.

Kathi

Jenn2179 Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 1:52am
post #3 of 15

i wish i knew cause i am right there with you. i am getting calls from the bridal show i did in august though.

sweetcakes Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 4:56am
post #4 of 15

same here too. i have advertised on decidio.com. and it has already got me a wedding cake order and another one im meeting with next week. it only costs $1 to get the lead, if you so choose. and its not just wedding cakes, people are looking for party cakes too.

cakesbyamym Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 5:21am
post #5 of 15

I was the same way for probably the first 10-11 months that I was legal and "in business." I took a ton of sample cakes *with business cards and brochures* to more businesses than I care to recall and that got the ball rolling. However, the BIG turning point for me was to instate Indydebi's referral discount plan for my customers. All that I can say is, "WOW!". Since last November, the start of the referral program, my business has been booming. I stay booked for 2-3 weeks out, so I can't complain. However, if I see that I can squeeze in another order, I'll send out an e-mail to my customers, and boom...orders come in. I just did that on Tuesday, stating that I had AN opening for next Tuesday (for Halloween orders for schools, etc.), and I took an additional four orders for last-minute cupcakes.

In addition, I send out a weekly newsletter to my customers. I include new cake photos; updated referral discounts; upcoming cakes to expect photos for; congrats to wedding couples that I do cakes for on the weekends; openings in my schedule; dates that are no longer available; holiday menus; new items, etc. That brings in a lot of orders, too.

Good luck!!!
Amy

wespam Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 11:06am
post #6 of 15

I think the most important thing I did was get my web site up and running with my information and photos on it. I became legal Sept 1st of this year. Before that it was just word of mouth, hit and miss. I took samples to the area bridal shops and gift registry stores and left my business cards. I have seen a marked increase in my orders. I haven't done a bridal show yet but I'm looking forward to it next year. Pam from Bama

elizw Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 11:47am
post #7 of 15

i was the same way at first. feast or famine! i do have times of year that are busier than others....april, may and august, sept, oct. i also have times of year that i take a break (take less orders)....june, july.

when i first started out about 3 years ago, it was spotty at best. i have 2 customers (moms) that i get tons of referrals from. to this day, they always get a discount for their loyalty. whenever there is an opportunity to "be the one that brings the cake" i jump on it. i volunteer to bring the cake for school and kids functions. that has gotten me a lot of exposure. i give the teachers that my children have free cakes. i also give the teachers at my kids' schools discounts. i have found that if you get in with a few moms that love to have mega parties for their kids, you name will get around quick!

it will pick up. it takes a little time to get yourself known. make yourself unique in some way ... deliver, offer a frequent buyers card (every 10th cake free or every 5th cake 1/2 price). you want to give reason for people to choose you instead of the grocery store.

someday you will be at the point that you have to schedule a weekend off by refusing orders!

i can't begin to count how many free cakes i did in the beginning!

schildwaster Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 1:03pm
post #8 of 15

I started in May but pretty much took the summer off. Now I get a few orders a week which is perfect for me. I have a one year old and a 3 year old. I joined a local business womens group and I have gotten a number of orders from there. I've done a ton of chinese auctions. I'm advertising next week for Christmas cookie platters in the local paper. I'm not looking for it to pick up until next year when my 3 year old is in kindergarten.

Erdica Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 1:14pm
post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by elizw

i was the same way at first. feast or famine! i do have times of year that are busier than others....april, may and august, sept, oct. i also have times of year that i take a break (take less orders)....june, july.

when i first started out about 3 years ago, it was spotty at best. i have 2 customers (moms) that i get tons of referrals from. to this day, they always get a discount for their loyalty. whenever there is an opportunity to "be the one that brings the cake" i jump on it. i volunteer to bring the cake for school and kids functions. that has gotten me a lot of exposure. i give the teachers that my children have free cakes. i also give the teachers at my kids' schools discounts. i have found that if you get in with a few moms that love to have mega parties for their kids, you name will get around quick!

it will pick up. it takes a little time to get yourself known. make yourself unique in some way ... deliver, offer a frequent buyers card (every 10th cake free or every 5th cake 1/2 price). you want to give reason for people to choose you instead of the grocery store.

someday you will be at the point that you have to schedule a weekend off by refusing orders!

i can't begin to count how many free cakes i did in the beginning!




I agree with making cakes for school or kids functions. It's a great way to get your name out there and help people out. I am doing a cake for 450 for my daughters cheer banquet. All donated. But the chance to reach 450 is great! I took a year off because I have 2 kiddos under 2. They are 11 months 6 days apart. So I pulled all my advertising then was on the fence a lot with picking up and doing this again. Finally I just decided to take the plunge and be serious about this. So I am starting my advertising at the beginning of the year. I have a bridal show in January as well. II'm hoping this will drive some business.

I think I read somewhere that it takes 5 years to get a good business flow? Not sure. Of course that's not true for all business ventures.

absijails Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 1:33pm
post #10 of 15

I've donated various items to a local spa (to serve to customers) and put business cards and coupons out with the items. It's worked great on spreading my name to people I usually wouldn't reach.

bmullard Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 4:42pm
post #11 of 15

Does anyone send out post card reminders? It's a whole lot easier to keep customers you already have then to try to find new ones. How about a phone call just to check in with people? Remind them about Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up. Keep in touch with the people you have already done business with.

jennifer7777 Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 4:47pm
post #12 of 15

Hey guys. First off, let me say congratulations to those of you with "legal" businesses. I must admit I wish California (where I live) still allowed home based operations. Anyway, from what I have read, everyone who has posted so far is on the right track as far as your marketing is concerned. One thing you must continue to understand is that your product is cakes, but your business is all about marketing, for that is what eventually can make or break you. People have to know you exist for you to get business.

If you want to really expand and/or learn great marketing techniques, it is a must that you check out this site. I have learned a great deal of information! Don't miss out on this great marketing tool!

http://www.sellcakeslikecrazy.com

jennifer7777 Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 4:48pm
post #13 of 15

Hey guys. First off, let me say congratulations to those of you with "legal" businesses. I must admit I wish California (where I live) still allowed home based operations. Anyway, from what I have read, everyone who has posted so far is on the right track as far as your marketing is concerned. One thing you must continue to understand is that your product is cakes, but your business is all about marketing, for that is what eventually can make or break you. People have to know you exist for you to get business.

If you want to really expand and/or learn great marketing techniques, it is a must that you check out this site. I have learned a great deal of information! Don't miss out on this great marketing tool!

http://www.sellcakeslikecrazy.com

Good luck with everything!

Jennifer

justsweet Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 5:02pm
post #14 of 15

I maybe this will help?

Any regrets? Their was some good and helpful stuff posted

http://forum.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-391413.html

or

http://forum.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-556513.html

Good luck with your business

sewlora Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 5:03pm
post #15 of 15

One thing I like to get from businesses is business card MAGNETS, so I can put them on my fridge. Then when I am at the fridge (hundred times a day LOL!) I see that magnet and thing, Oh yeah, I need to call that dentist, or that Tupperware lady or whatever...
out of sight, out of mind...

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