For those of you who have a home based cake shop, did you do a business plan when you got your license or did you just gradually transition over from hobby to business?
If you did put together a business plan, did you get any help from the Small Business Administration or just wing it?
Anyone willing to share their home based business plan?
HI! My first time entering this forum because I need some friendly support and opinions on scaling up myself. I have an official home bakery now. I was inspected and its fully legal. I did not make a formal plan or hire lawyers though. I guess I took the "wing it" approach. Now that I'm getting more business and the level of loathing is increasing with my real job (I'm a chemist by trade), I want to open a shop. I have done well with out anything formal. Mostly word of mouth to get clients. I also joined some free sites to get my name out (like bridal forums and craigs list).
I wrote a biz plan because the banks required a biz plan. I had a CPA and an orgz that works with folks like me to review, critique and help write biz plans. it's a SUPER exercise that everyone really should go thru.
indy- mind saying how much all that advice cost you? because I want to scale up, i'm thinking of getting more formal contracts and applying for funding. I wonder what i should budget for pro advice
I'm going to chime in with my perennial advice to visit the Small Business Administration web site and read everything you can find about business plans. They have some free samples, although I didn't find any that worked just right for me. It will, however, give you a good idea of what needs to be included.
If you're a decent writer, you can write your own business plan. It's a great idea to have people review it, and there are SCORE counselors through your local SBA office who will do that for free. They are business professionals who volunteer to meet with you to answer your questions. They're extremely helpful.
After you've researched all of that, you'll know if you feel you should pay someone to do some or all of it for you.
For the most part, home based businesses are not eligible for SBA help. The whole idea of the SBA is to open businesses that create jobs, and your home business will only employ you.
SCORE can help you with a business plan, but don't expect to find any great deals on loans etc. Home businesses are extraordinarily high risk ( 95% fail within 5 years), so most banks won't touch them, and as far as the government is concerned you may as well be a Mary Kay lady as a home baker.
boy, i don't even know if I have a local SBA office. my inspector gave me more help and candid advice than anyone because he's inspected so many people, got to know them, and then watched him fail. he gave me loads of advice, so don't count out the scary inspector either!