Coupons/discounts, Etc.

Business By CreativeCakery Updated 19 May 2008 , 10:31pm by Valli_War

CreativeCakery Posted 17 May 2008 , 2:35am
post #1 of 20

As I mentioned in another post, it seems like it's taken me forever to gain a (very) small customer base, and I am nowhere near what I'd like my business to be.

Does anyone offer coupons or discounts for first time orders?

What about referral programs? Like, for every paying customer referred to me, the refer-er icon_biggrin.gif and they get discounts or something similar.

19 replies
MichelleM77 Posted 17 May 2008 , 2:42am
post #2 of 20

I've done specials in the past and I'm currently doing the referral program that is talked about here, but I haven't seen my business increase from either one to make it worth my time. Good old fashioned word of mouth is what is working for me, but I would like my customer base to increase as well. What's goin on here in Ohio? icon_smile.gif

CreativeCakery Posted 17 May 2008 , 2:49am
post #3 of 20

I have no idea!! I definitely know I could advertise more to maybe boost my clientele numbers a bit, but it DOES seem like we're on the low and slow end of things, doesn't it?

I may look at including other services in with my cakes to boost business; I may try the referral program too, just to see.

Here's to booming business for us both!! thumbs_up.gif

MichelleM77 Posted 17 May 2008 , 2:57am
post #4 of 20

Ching-Ching!! That was our toasting glasses. icon_smile.gif

I'm going the drop cookie route. I'll let you know how it goes, you let me know how your added services goes. Something has got to work!

LeanneW Posted 17 May 2008 , 3:04am
post #5 of 20

I have put a listing on craigslist a couple of times under event services and gotten an order everytime. Try your free options first.

Have you explored the very strategic donation path yet?

I go to a very funky hair salon and they were having a party for 150 ppl, I made 150 funky cupcakes for the event for free and set them up with a really cool display with my business cards in a dish on the side.

I have already gotten one order from it and it was only a week ago.

It has definately paid off, just don't make donations like this in places where you won't generate business. Know your market and then seek them out.

LeanneW Posted 17 May 2008 , 3:07am
post #6 of 20

I have put a listing on craigslist a couple of times under event services and gotten an order everytime. Try your free options first.

Have you explored the very strategic donation path yet?

I go to a very funky hair salon and they were having a party for 150 ppl, I made 150 funky cupcakes for the event for free and set them up with a really cool display with my business cards in a dish on the side.

I have already gotten one order from it and it was only a week ago.

It has definately paid off, just don't make donations like this in places where you won't generate business. Know your market and then seek them out.

twooten173 Posted 17 May 2008 , 3:10am
post #7 of 20

When I have extras or come up with something new (by way of CC - thanks), I send them to work with my husband and friends. This always reminds them that I want their money. This usually scares up work for me. icon_smile.gif

chassidyg Posted 17 May 2008 , 3:11am
post #8 of 20

I browse through craigs list, and have seen many cake decorator's on there. In fact, the nice lady who is doing my son's train cake (it's a carved cake in the shape of thomas), because I am nowhere near able to do something like that, anyway, I found her on craigslist.com. And best of all for you, it's free to advertise on there!

MichelleM77 Posted 17 May 2008 , 3:16am
post #9 of 20

There are some pretty icky ads on Craig's List, at least the one in my area, and i don't think I want to be associated with that website, even if it is free.

I have done freebies (donations to school for teacher appreciation week, participated in a CF fundraiser, but that was close to my heart and not for publicity, etc.). I think I'm just impatient. I want it now, now, now! LOL! Hubby works for a construction company and while those guys will eat anything I send in, they aren't great, okay they stink, at telling their wives about any of it. I work from home for an MT company about six states away, so that is no help.

indydebi Posted 17 May 2008 , 2:44pm
post #10 of 20

My first question is are you licensed and approved? If not, then anything you do can draw unwanted attention to you.

That said .......

A friend of mine is paying a marketer to take his biz to the next level ... marketer told him NEVER to offer discounts. It is ok to ADD value but do NOT discount. It puts you in the walmart/kmart category.

For example, I wouldn't discount my buffet, but I might throw in 2 dz choc strawberries for the head table .... no money discount .... but I added something of value.

It's a mind-thing ... but it leaves a different impression with the customer.

I started out this year planning a monthly promo each month (buy a chocolate fountain, get 2 add'l foods free) but when my friend told me this advice, I immediately dropped the idea. It hasn't hurt me at all.

Hubby has the viewpoint of being against discounts for first-time customers. Basically, you're telling your long-term loyal customer they dont' matter, but you'll do special stuff for the first timer who may or may not return to you and has never spent a dime with you.

I was at the GFS Food Show this week and attended a workshop in which it was said you want to reward the BEHAVIOR, not just buy them something (i.e. buy 10 subs get one free). I use the referral program in which customers earn a referral credit everytime they send me a bride/customer. I reward the REFERRING BEHAVIOR by letting them earn a discount on their next purchase. I don't want them to just buy 10 birthday cakes ... I want them to send me the bride who is going to spend $3500 on her buffet. I reward the BEHAVIOR.

HerBoudoir Posted 17 May 2008 , 4:25pm
post #11 of 20

I work at a "casual upscale" restaurant, where we *never* have coupons, discounts, early bird, happy hour, or any of that.

Contrast that to a place I worked previously: coupons...early bird specials...etc. It ONLY drew in people that basically did not want to spend money, and that was in evidence by splitting meals on the early bird specials, filling up on extra bread, poor tips, etc.

All in all it was a great business lesson. If you're good - and you know you're good - charge a fair value for what you do, make no apologies, and you WILL attract the type of customers that you want.

Too many coupons/discounts tend to errode the image of being "upscale".

CreativeCakery Posted 17 May 2008 , 8:10pm
post #12 of 20

Again, everyone is spot on! I will tweak the idea of the referral program before I try it out. As Michelle said in another post, I think I am impatient too...I want those customers yesterday! BUT, I don't want to risk losing any "upscale" in my reputation, and I don't want to look desperate either. Thanks guys!!

southerncake Posted 18 May 2008 , 2:11am
post #13 of 20

The things that worked for me were making a connection in our Chamber of Commerce office (I never knew so many people called the Chamber for info) and then diong the desserts for a local charity gala. It was not one of those donations where I just dropped off some desserts, but instead we spend the entire night there working our table, talking about our desserts, etc. We still do this gala every year and it still increases oru business each year. Tickets are really expensive, so you know most of the people willing to pay that for a ticket will hopefully be willing to pay decently for cake/desserts.

Mike1394 Posted 18 May 2008 , 9:26am
post #14 of 20

Has anyone tried the party rental places? The ones that rent out kids party equip. I haven't, since I'm in the beginning phase, but I was thinking that should be a pretty good avenue.

Mike

indydebi Posted 18 May 2008 , 12:29pm
post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike1394

Has anyone tried the party rental places? The ones that rent out kids party equip. I haven't, since I'm in the beginning phase, but I was thinking that should be a pretty good avenue.

Mike




The place I rent my linens from has a bulletin board in their entryway where we (other vendors) can post their biz card.

MichelleM77 Posted 18 May 2008 , 1:44pm
post #16 of 20

I'm looking into joining our chamber of commerce since they have a new member and home-based business membership fee that is cheaper than if I had a storefront.

LeanneW Posted 18 May 2008 , 4:27pm
post #17 of 20

One thing I have always been planning to do when I open my own shop, right now I rent someone elses kitchen, was have a cake party.

on a Sat night invite people in the industry, wedding planners, hotel event staff, florists, photogs, dress shop managers. People who would be in a position to pass along some business.

Of course it's no strings attached, I would not be obligated to recommend them and the same for them.

I thought if they could come in and see the place, taste cake, have a glass of champagne they could tell people about it.

The down side is $$$$$ and you would really have to be sure you invited the movers and shakers, no sense inviting someone who has no influence with brides.

obviously I haven't begun to plan this so I am sure there are many flaws with this idea, do what you will with it.

indydebi Posted 18 May 2008 , 10:33pm
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by leannewinslow

One thing I have always been planning to do when I open my own shop, right now I rent someone elses kitchen, was have a cake party.

on a Sat night invite people in the industry, wedding planners, hotel event staff, florists, photogs, dress shop managers. People who would be in a position to pass along some business.




What a neat idea! I would do it on a Tuesday or something ... Sat night, all of these people will be busy with weddings! icon_biggrin.gif

Check out local networking groups in your area, such as BNI and Rainmakers (both of these have websites ... check for chapters in your local area).

joy5678 Posted 19 May 2008 , 10:19pm
post #19 of 20

I am in the process of purchasing an "old school" bakery & will be using your ideas. Spoke with a small business rep. today & he suggested starting a wholesale/retail route distributing our baked goods to bring in new business. Has anyone tried this avenue before? Did it work for you? Any feedback? Thanks

Valli_War Posted 19 May 2008 , 10:31pm
post #20 of 20

If you all have some friends whose kids go to day care or your kids go there, try advertising there. Each day care will have more than 100 kids and if you get 20 orders per year from one, it is worth it. I don't know if the day care has policy of not advertising, but if you know someone there, it will help. I know it is not like a wedding cake, but something to start.

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%