I live in a town where the "good ole boy" network is alive and well and everyone is related!!! It seems everyone has a family member that provides a service for them at a "family discount". So, my question is how do I promote myself and get much needed business? I am the worst at self promotion and need all the advice I can get!!! I have purchased business cards already, have a facebook page, put a sign on my car, and purchased postcards. I have had my FB page up a while now and still don't have many "likes". I don't want to get discouraged and stop doing what I love!
I am in the same boat! I'm not from the town I live in and I don't go to church. I do know a few people and told them about my facebook page and they told their friends/family. When I first wanted to get the word out I did a draw for a few free cakes. However, I have yet to see a return in business from this. I got a lot of 'likes' but once the cake wasn't free anymore they stopped visiting my page. I also went to the local bakery and talked to the owner (awesome lady) and she offered to send me customers when she is booked. So I left her a stack of cards and I have gotten a few customers from this partnership. I also buy some of my supplies from so she still benefits from sending me customers. Right now I am running a refer a friend promotion to try to get some business. For every friend you refer and books a cake you get a 10% off your next order (up to 50% off). I just started this the other day so I haven't seen a return yet. It's super hard to get the word out especially when you aren't in the 'in-crowd' of town. Even if someone that got a free cake liked my cake the will still buy from the girl they go to church with because they know her and don't want to hurt her feelings. I'm not about to start going to church just for cake business lol, I don't think God would like that very much
Good luck with getting business!
I just looked you up, and I am from that area. My sister actual lives in Springfield. We grew up across the Chatham Co. line in PW. You are in a very hard area to work. From what I understand from my family, that entire area has been hit hard by economy, so you are fighting a battle with the friends and family discounts.
I think you need to make sure you are marketing yourself. You should find something different about yourself from all the others. When you find it, that should be your selling point.
You may want to also look into a few of the independent coffee shops, restaurants, doctors, dentists, around the Pooler, B'dale area. Take them samples and some business cards. They are very particular about what they like, and if they like your product, they will send them your way.
Make samples and start passing them out at the bank, post office, schools, etc.
You are in a tough area, but I think if you find a selling point, you could get your foot in the door.
I also just put a post on FB page over the weekend for referrals and am offering a 25% discount but so far only 2 new likes.
Starting out my "niche" was cupcake structures. I made a huge easter basket out of cupcakes for my twins Easter party at school. Teachers all over the school were taking pictures and coming to see it. I have also made a tiki hut out of cupcakes. So far, my business has only been cakes and cupcakes but no structures. I know most be will be turned away for cost of a structure so I have been pushing just the cakes, etc.
Brenda, I can't believe you know this area!!! LOL what are the odds? Can I ask who your sister is? I have 3 girls in Springfield Elem. and one at the high school.
I think you are right about me just promoting myself more. Sooo hard for me to toot my own horn! I do like the sample idea though! We actually have friends that just opened a restaurant so I may talk to him about putting samples there.
There are quite a few bakers/decorators in that area, several (if not more) are CCers, some from there, some transplants.
Make contact with party venues like Monkey Joe's or skating rinks...maybe take in a few samples and ask them if they have a vendor board where you can place a business card or cards...maybe a cardholder on their counter.
I am a transplant here from there (Savannah) and although it's been forever ago, I can still recall when Gotlieb's was the only accepted bakery bakery.
In a town such as that, good product and perseverance will see you to your goal. "All I'm asking you to do, is tryyyyyyyyy it." Oh, yeah...keep in mind, toes (your's and others') will get stepped on.
I had an idea recently after reading some baking mysteries. Offer to help raise money for schools. In the books, the school would need to raise money for whatever it needed that was outside the budget. The heroine and her friends would bake and donate to the schools. Do the same- donate for free but include a business card.
I am in the same boat. Very small town in Texas, with the mindset! Everyone grew up together or family and they do not like going out of that comfort zone. What I do is bake for charity events, donate the item and have my contact information. I have not seen anything out of this, but I am hoping with the law passing, I will soon. If you figure out a way to get business please let me know.