I Need Help I Need Help I Need Help My Buss. Is Failing!!!

Business By rachpizano Updated 18 Jan 2009 , 11:56pm by indydebi

rachpizano Posted 31 Dec 2008 , 6:58pm
post #1 of 41

I need some real help! I need to revive some life into my business. We are getting hardly no phone calls anymore when i used to have my phone ring off the hook. I don't have a single wedding cake for Jan. when last year I had every week booked up. I need some help. I think people have forgotten about me. I'm getting ready to do a big wedding show at the end on Jan and I feel like I need to put on a "big show" I need idea on everything. I want people to really remember me. I need table design ideas and spectacular wedding cake designs for fake cakes and what ever else you guys can come up with. Can you tell I'm panicking!!! What ever advice you can give me on other then the wedding show would be great too. Thanks!!! Please help I really want my business to go places but I need some help getting it going again. Also I need help with my website. I feel like its not professional enough. I made it myself and well its looks like I made it myself. Please please please help.
website: www.whowantscake.biz

40 replies
rlowry03 Posted 31 Dec 2008 , 7:11pm
post #2 of 41

I've never been very good at business, so I wish you the best! Have you tried contacting wedding planners or venues nearby with info/discounts/etc? If you can get in good with them, they will recommend you to brides who will recommend you to friends...

alvarezmom Posted 31 Dec 2008 , 7:13pm
post #3 of 41

I like your website...I would change how your pctures are. I wouldnt have known there were pictures on the white symbol link! There seems to be allot of picture galleries. Does that make sense?

icer101 Posted 31 Dec 2008 , 7:24pm
post #4 of 41

hi, don,t know what your problem is.... your cakes are superior... i liked the website also.... hope you luck for your business to take back over like it was and more...

leah_s Posted 31 Dec 2008 , 7:24pm
post #5 of 41

Do you realize that you only have metatags on your homepage? That's the only one getting ndexed by bots and crawlers. Put some metatags into the the other pages also and you should get more hits. Also, the tags need to relate to the content on the page.

LoriRice Posted 31 Dec 2008 , 7:30pm
post #6 of 41

I just sent you a (rather long) pm. Hope you find something in it that helps! Best of Luck in getting things up and running again!

indydebi Posted 31 Dec 2008 , 7:30pm
post #7 of 41

I dont' think your website looks homemade. It looks very nice. I might expand the FAQ page ... think about the info you are ALWAYS explaining to people and add that.

Sounds like you had a great previous year. Take a minute and think about what you are doing different now from what you did then? Sometimes, if our phone is ringing off the hook, we get a little lazy because the business is just rolling in. We're happy as larks at the peaks, but when sales dip into the valley, we worry about "what's happening?" The question is "what ISN'T happening?"

I've done that .... gotten a little lazy during the peaks. And we get so busy with the peak business that sometimes there isn't time to do the sales and the promotion that we NEED to do. But that excitement and drive we had in the beginning that got us started in this venture, has to continue everyday.

The show is a great time to jump start the year. Grasp onto the excitement you feel about your craft and show your enthusiasm! People like talking to people who are fun to talk to! thumbs_up.gif

Kitagrl Posted 31 Dec 2008 , 7:40pm
post #8 of 41

Its slow for me too right now. I'm starting to contact some caterers and wedding planners to let them know about my business. I have a show coming up in March...and then I am going to be involved with a small caterer "grand re opening" thingy later in January and hope to get some business there.

I think, too, people aren't thinking about cake right now. They are thinking about New Years. I have a hunch that in another week or two people are going to start calling again.

brincess_b Posted 31 Dec 2008 , 7:58pm
post #9 of 41

first of all, your cakes look great, and ur website is actually really good too. these are just my thoughts (and some of my bfs), i know there are some web designers on here who might have a bit more technical info for you, thst will be more useful than my own feelings!
your home page is good, we liked! and your about us page has the kind of info i want to know - but i think you could move your FAQs into there, a sort of summary 'all out cakes are made fresh, from high quality ingrediants'. the faq page just seems a bit empty.
the cake info page maybe needs reworking too, its usually not a good idea to say 'we do this better than our competitor', because it might be seen negatively. it mentions aditional fees alot too, which might be putting people off! they dont want to think that without paying these additional fees you get a pretty plain cake. maybe a little 'cakes will be designed to your needs, and to meet a range of budgets' would do? and what flavours are available, in party or wedding? will you try any requested flavour you dont currently offer? (just a little point - in fondant cakes you have 'free** cake tasting' but i dont know where the ** is explained).
love the cookie page, they look great!
getting in with wedding planners and venues is a great idea, do you want to put up fliers in churches, community centers, places it will get seen?
good luck getting back to being busy!
xx

Butterpatty Posted 31 Dec 2008 , 8:04pm
post #10 of 41

I am only a "friends and family for gifts" baker, so this answer is not in the league of the pros here. I am answering from a consumer's POV.

(1) I really like the heading of your website with the ribbons of two-toned pink. Make your business name and logo "pop" more!!

(2) The photos on the home page are of beautiful cakes, but I am so distracted by the "rough" edges and the way they overlap and tilt that I can't really get the full impact of the photo. Perhaps 2 even rows of these beautiful cakes?

(3) As one with vision problems, the small font is difficult for me.

(4) With my English background showing icon_rolleyes.gif , I would recommend cleaning up the wording of your introduction and making it crisper and more professional sounding.

(5) I really like the FAQ section. I use this feature on many, many sites that I visit and know others who do this also. Therefore, I recommend expanding this section and make the font bigger.

(6) Expanded info about cake flavors, icings, fillings, etc would be a nice addition. It would also be nice to see some info about tastings (if you offer them). Talk about delivery and set up service- play this up as a service to your customers.

(7) The cakes you have posted are so beautiful! I do recommend cleaning up the background on some of them (can be done with a photoshopping program) and change the rough edges. Be very careful when taking photos to avoid a "cluttered" background. If nothing else, carry a black cloth with you, have 2 people to hold it up behind the cake while you snap a photo. A nicely done photo speaks a thousand words.

(icon_cool.gif You are so talented-- toot your horn more!!!! Your cakes are lovely and you need to really put it out there about your experience, ability to make a bride's vision come to life, and so forth. Also, I noticed your site told how long you had been open (2006?) but I didn't really get a sense of how long you have been baking and decorating. Push that experience!!
Get a really nice photo of yourself on the site (perhaps in a chef's coat or a shirt with your logo on it).

(9) When you go to the wedding shows and such, take nice photos of your booth and get those up on a section of your website. Promote, promote, promote. icon_redface.gif , when I see someone who has participated in professional things like this, I have a favorable response to such a visual proof of their professionalism. It lends legitimacy, KWIM?

Again, let me stress -- I am NOT a professional and I am NOT cutting down your website!! It looks like a wonderful site and your talent is so obvious. I just think you need to make yourself stand out more. I hope something in my reply will be of assistance to you.

littlecake Posted 31 Dec 2008 , 8:24pm
post #11 of 41

i remember the first year i was open, thinking my business was failing too in december...

these are typically the slowest weeks of the year, it will come back up the second week of january, after everyone goes off their new years diets.

almost all businesses have a slow season, i've enjoyed it myself....finally my kness and legs have gotten a chance to heal up.

i'm thinking about taking the whole month of december off next year.

vickster Posted 5 Jan 2009 , 1:31am
post #12 of 41

check out the competition. maybe there is new blood in your area. then check your prices. if you're in an area that's having a downturn, you may need to offer some less expensive products. Websites are nice, but depending on where you are, they're not necessarily the best way to reach new customers. I just don't believe a website is make or break, but just mho. I've had several business owners tell me Yellow Pages was their best business generator.

indydebi Posted 5 Jan 2009 , 1:49am
post #13 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by vickster

I've had several business owners tell me Yellow Pages was their best business generator.




I've had a guy or two tell me that but I think it depends on your demographics of your target market.

One guy I know who LUVS the yellow pages, sell high end stereo and electronic systems. His target market is the upper income, older folks who are finally able to afford the nicer stuff .... they tend to have what he calls "the yellow pages habit".

My target market is the 20-somethings who were born in the electronics age, who do everything with an I-pod in one hand and a blackberry in the other, they've never seen a yellow pages book and don't even have a landline phone.

If your target market is generic and unspecified, the yellow pages might work. I'm looking for a specified target market and the yellow pages is too expensive and too generic .... ergo not as effective for the dollar .... for what I need.

leah_s Posted 5 Jan 2009 , 6:30am
post #14 of 41

Since statistics prove that 77% of all brides shop FIRST on the internet, yes, a great website is a necessity.

No website is foolish.

Jannie92869 Posted 5 Jan 2009 , 12:38pm
post #15 of 41

I just took a look at your site. As a consumer, I was able to see the type or caliber of work that you are able to accomplish. Looks good, I was able to tell that you are versatile and have a lot to offer.

In reading the other post, I didn't see whether you were in a store front or in your home? I was thinking along the lines of if you are in a store front what about changing up your window decor or the signage that you have? If you are at home..what about handing out flyers...if that is allowed in your area?

HTH

acookieobsession Posted 5 Jan 2009 , 1:12pm
post #16 of 41

Hi there, I have some input on your website....
- I would change the background to another color..just because it looks more professional in my opinion. Go to some other websites you likes (just searched NY and CA cake sites) and try to emulate what they do.
-I agree that the rough edges and messy backgrounds should be replaced. In my opinion (for whatever that is worth) those are the hallmarks of homemade websites.
-Can you add titles to the gallery photos so i know what I am getting when I click on the pictures?

Other ideas, call wedding planners and venues, take them some samples. Take cupcakes samples everywhere you go (I got a wedding from my bank that way).

Best of luck.

Julia

springlakecake Posted 5 Jan 2009 , 1:18pm
post #17 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by leahs

Do you realize that you only have metatags on your homepage? That's the only one getting ndexed by bots and crawlers. Put some metatags into the the other pages also and you should get more hits. Also, the tags need to relate to the content on the page.




What does this mean exactly? How do I do that? I am getting ready to upgrade my website. I too, have a homemade looking one. I just started it as a place to show off my cakes. Now I am finishing up my commercial kitchen and I want to have a professional website to go with it.

aligotmatt Posted 5 Jan 2009 , 1:25pm
post #18 of 41

I agree that it is apparent you have talent.

I mapped where you are, do you do a lot of out of town brides? That may be slowing down because of the economy... So you might want to go to different venues, party supply stores... and re-introduce yourself with some cake and new fliers.

Also, as an aside, your childrens cake section has some copyrighted cakes that you should probably take down. As you get your name out there more, it's more likely someone could see that would make your life bad...

Deb_ Posted 6 Jan 2009 , 2:04pm
post #19 of 41

First I agree with aligotmatt (love that screen name btw), before you do anything else remove the elmo cake picture and any other copyrighted cakes you have shown. That's a huge red flag and could get you into a lot of trouble.

One thing I do when I'm entering my slow time with cakes and with my hair salon which is my #1 business is............I have a promotion where I either e-mail or mail my regular clients this offer: "Refer a friend to me and receive a coupon for 25% off your next cake/haircut." The way it works is, when I have completed the order from their referral and it's paid and delivered, my client gets the coupon. I have had great success with this and each time I've done it, 95% of my regulars cash in. Most of their referrals are now my regulars and they will get the same promotion this year!

Indydebi's right about the fact that when we're busy and the phone is ringing off the hook we become lazy or complacent about marketing and trying to bring in new clients. The best time to bring in business is to market when you're busy....use your regulars to bring in new blood. I still think that next to the internet, word of mouth is a great way to drum up new clients.

Good luck......I think it's a slow time for a lot of different types of businesses right now. Hopefully, once we get our new President in the White House things will begin to turn around. Fingers crossed and praying for him daily! (and us too!)

sweettoothcakegals Posted 6 Jan 2009 , 3:48pm
post #20 of 41

You def got talent. From one biz owner to another, you have just made a crucial step in the RIGHT direction. You are noticing a downward trend in sales/calls and you want to fix them. Just as one poster put it "crisp" the wording on your site. You may want to attend events like bridal fairs in your area if you can or have never attended. These are great for people to find out about you and see some of your work up close as well as see you! I think a blog can help generate traffic to your site. It lets your customers get to know your business a bit better and is a FANTASTIC way to do free advertising. Hope this helps and stay motivated!!!

sweettoothcakegals Posted 6 Jan 2009 , 3:52pm
post #21 of 41

You def got talent. From one biz owner to another, you have just made a crucial step in the RIGHT direction. You are noticing a downward trend in sales/calls and you want to fix them. Just as one poster put it "crisp" the wording on your site. You may want to attend events like bridal fairs in your area if you can or have never attended. These are great for people to find out about you and see some of your work up close as well as see you! I think a blog can help generate traffic to your site. It lets your customers get to know your business a bit better and is a FANTASTIC way to do free advertising. Hope this helps and stay motivated!!!

aa053103 Posted 6 Jan 2009 , 4:13pm
post #22 of 41

Your work is beautiful so don't think you are not doing a good job. Everyone is suffering because of the economy. A few weeks ago people were contacting me about cakes for now in february. I contacted those people and they plans have changed becuase of financial reasons and they would still like a cake but a smaller one. I will take anything I can right now. Definitely put yor name out there more and remind people you are there.

By the way, your red and gold wedding cake was 1 of my inspirations for the red and gold wedding cake I did. It's beautiful!!!

Ana

KieslerKakes Posted 6 Jan 2009 , 4:35pm
post #23 of 41

I thought your website was very user friendly. You might add headings like - "The Jones Wedding June 2008". Just a suggestion. Also offer something different, like birthday parties where kids come in and decorate there own cakes. Only if you have room, alot of business is word of mouth. Contact churches in the area, some people get married privately, but still may need a small cake. Good luck!

tonedna Posted 6 Jan 2009 , 4:40pm
post #24 of 41

I agree with everybody, you got talent.
I am with those that say the rough edges in the photos are distracting.
I would put a really nice cake in a bigger size in the homepage showing the calibre of your work. That makes me want to go in and check the other photos. I think every gallery needs a name.

On the other hand, do bridal shows, the always bring people, go to hotels and check if they have a package cake for weddings, maybe you can offer them one.

Here and there is good to give cakes for special events so people know who you are.
This are just a few thing...remember the economy is bad and the season after Christmas might be rough on peoples budget. Dont despair and start pushing your business into other business.
Go to caterers reunions, go to bridal shops and offer them a dummy to complement their decor..
Hope things get better.
Edna

Larrimore Posted 6 Jan 2009 , 4:57pm
post #25 of 41

I liked your website and your cakes are beautiful! I am not in the cake business, I only play or do cakes for family and friends. In my opinion, the only thing that did not look professional was the aluminum foil on the cake board, even most of the wedding cakes (love the sea shell cakes by the way). I would look into other ways to cover the cake board.

Penny7271 Posted 6 Jan 2009 , 5:25pm
post #26 of 41

I agree that the jagged edges of the pictures are distracting from the beautiful work that you do.

I hope that the show works out for you and the phone starts ringing soon!

ladyonzlake Posted 8 Jan 2009 , 12:03am
post #27 of 41

Do you have a retail location? Maybe you could offer cupcakes and espresso? There are also lots of bridal sights on the internet that you can subscribe to as well.

I am a small owner/operator cake business and I rent a shared commercial kitchen to be licensed. I have a web site and I have gone to many bridal sites to place "free" adds. onewed.com bridesclub.com gatheringguide.com and I do have one paid site with theknot.com While I am slow right now too as far as actual baking, I am actually getting tons of inquirys for tastings and bookings for the summer and future dates and most of these inquirys are from these sights.

Good luck!

meancat Posted 8 Jan 2009 , 4:58pm
post #28 of 41

I would agree w/ everyone else that your cakes are awsome! But as a consumer, looking over your website I would probably pass you up for 2 reasons - one I didnt see where your prices were listed and second the fact that you charge extra for using more than 2 colors just sounds like you are trying to nickle and dime people. Figure out what it would cost to use 4 colors and have that be your price. Good luck and I hope you get busy again!

meancat Posted 8 Jan 2009 , 4:59pm
post #29 of 41

I would agree w/ everyone else that your cakes are awesome! But as a consumer, looking over your website I would probably pass you up for 2 reasons - one I didnt see where your prices were listed and second the fact that you charge extra for using more than 2 colors just sounds like you are trying to nickle and dime people. Figure out what it would cost to use 4 colors and have that be your price. Good luck and I hope you get busy again!

meancat Posted 8 Jan 2009 , 5:00pm
post #30 of 41

I would agree w/ everyone else that your cakes are awsome! But as a consumer, looking over your website I would probably pass you up for 2 reasons - one I didnt see where your prices were listed and second the fact that you charge extra for using more than 2 colors just sounds like you are trying to nickle and dime people. Figure out what it would cost to use 4 colors and have that be your price. Good luck and I hope you get busy again!

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%