Now that I'm licensed, I'd really like to sort of try to "compete" with some of the bigger name wedding cake places in the area. Not officially, but I'd like to eventually have my name up there with the other good decorators in town. I'm not saying that to be proud, but I'd just really like my business to grow.
I contacted a prominent wedding planner and asked for some tips but it seems like the only way to really get my name out there is to spend money, money, and more money...which, with four boys and a household to run, I don't have too much of! I spent quite a bit this year already getting some extra refrigeration, doing the bridal show/cake competition, and getting myself "legal" so there's not much left right now for advertising on the mainstream bridal websites or joining catering networks.
Any other ideas? I see these awesome decorators in the area (and they ARE awesome!) but then I'm like "Hey I could do that cake too, if I was just given the chance!" (However one of my weaknesses is actually coming up with designs...I can copy very well...I'm not very creative though coming up with brand new wedding designs. Wahhh!)
What can I do? Other than redesign my website, which is in the works right now.
It involves spending money, but join some networking groups. I belong to BNI and to Rainmakers. My first meeting at Rainmakers, a lady there ordered a birthday cake for her husband for that next weekend! The purpose of these groups is to share our contacts with each other and to grow everyone's business. "Givers Gain" ..... when you give referrals to grow others' businesses, you gain referrals that grow YOUR business.
You can hook up with HR people who plan office events, realtors who might be interested in cookies/cupcakes at open houses, event planners, florists, venue owners, avenues of business you never even dreamed of.
Both of these groups have websites so you can search for groups close to you.
In the business I've gained from these two groups, my membership fees have already been paid for.
And it takes time to get your name out. Volunteer your name to local radio, TV stations, magazines as a source for input when they do a story/article on weddings, baking, cake design, bridal anything.
Thanks! I had been wondering which would be a better use of my money--when I have it--the networking or the advertising. The wedding planner told me to try NACE, ISES, and/or ABC for networking. (one is catering, one is events, and one is bridal consultants).
When you join a networking thing, how much information about yourself should you take to a meeting? Photo album? Business cards I assume....flyers? Anything else?
It's a business card exchange thing. Just cards. Introducing yourself. Everyone will ask you "Who are you looking to meet?" and will help you find those people.
I found in ISES I can join a meeting as a non-member. I think I'll do that just to see what's up before putting hundreds of dollars into joining something....kind of poke around this year and maybe decide what to do for next year.
Business cards....okay. So I'm new though, so how will they know I can offer a good product, as opposed to just some kind of "home made" kind of thing? I just had a guy call yesterday, he's coming Sunday for a tasting. He said he was impressed with my work...but that he has seen alot of "home bakers" that do not look professional but that mine do. Which was really nice of him...so my question is how will I let the people at the meeting know that I have a good product to offer?
I do have a growing "client base" and word of mouth...however I really want to get more into weddings and I find that since a wedding is a one-time deal, they usually go to the more trusted vendors...and that is what I want to be! Right now I feel like the weddings I get are people looking for a deal, so they go to the home baker. I want to get to where people choose me because of what I have to offer, not because they are hoping for a cheaper cake.