Hello not sure if I am posting this in the right place however any feedback will be greatly appreciated ahead of time. I wanted to get some feed back in starting my business not sure where to start and want to see if anyone on here has there own cake business and how you went about starting up. I have been baking for a few years now had to stop do to my issues with cancer (which i am cancer free now). I am reintroducing myself again and bake from home anything from birthday cakes to wedding cakes, holidays etc. and cookie bouquets. I have learned that life is to short and I really enjoy baking and seeing people smiles when they pick up or I delivery their cakes to them and I am seriously thinking of taking it a step up and opening a small business, please give me any feed back as to where or how to start this, Just to let you all know I have enrolled in my local community college for a business class I figured this will help me on how to run it. Thank you so very much in advance.
F. E. Reinhardt
Well, I think you're on the right track with your business course. I hear Texas recently passed a cottage food law (I'm orignally from Houston myself, so that made me very happy), so you can work from your house for the time being, but I'd look into any licensing requirements for a home business of this type. Also, as you say, learn as much as you can about decorating and start networking in your community so that when the time comes, you'll have a potential client base to draw from. I wish you the best in this. Since I'm in the process of doing the same thing, I REALLY want you to succeed!
Marin a thank you for your reply I was wondering if anyone was going to reply. So where are at now? How long have you been baking?
I think you are on the right track and recent laws in TX will help this dream become a reality.
In this stage, I suggest a comprehensive business plan. This, done correctly, will show you where you need to concentrate in gaining experience. I see sometimes that people look for a bakery plan, but you should learn enough in this experience to customize it yourself. If you have a friend or if your own bank will help you, ask the loan officer if you covered your bases. I'm not saying ask for a loan, but these plans are what they look at for viability. You can also run it by an accountant. Don't forget demograpgics, and these need to be real numbers on population and income levels. You will need a cost plan, both fixed and variable, and a marketing plan.
If you go this route, your home business will be controlled by you and you will know how to increase it. It won't be a hobby that hopefully makes a little money.
Best wishes for a continued healthy future and your friends at CC will always be here to help.
A night class in Quicken may also be beneficial.
Hi, reinhardt72, sorry to take so long about answering, but I'm on the road now (home tomorrow!), so my internet connecting is kind of hit or miss. I retired to Cancún two years ago from a university job in Mexico City (my children and grandchildren live there). The number in my screen name is my birth year, like yours, so obviously I need to get on with the business if I'm going to do it! I've been baking all my life and decorating decently for the last three years (since I took some courses, I don't come by this naturally). Here's a piece of sound advice: anything scp1127 tells you to do, do it. She has a VERY successful business and her advice is golden. I've been working on a business plan for a while now, but I hadn't thought of running it by bankers and accountants. Thanks again, scp 1127!
Thank you scp1127, I've been writing my ideas and looking around the the city as far as were I think my business would do well. Thank you so much for your tips and I will be checking in with my bank. A friend of mine suggested that I apply with the city for a license to run a home business, so this way I can advertise and build up a bigger cliental. What do you think about that? I personally think I should I've been wanting to locally advertise however did not want to get into any trouble. Once again thank you.
Marianna thank you and I will be taking any advice or tips from spc1127. Sounds like you live in a nice area, do you visit the beach often?
I really love living in Cancún, but I make it to the beach only when we have out-of-town visitors - isn't that awful? Mostly I'm at home baking and chasing after grandkids! Best of luck in your business. Keep us posted on your progress. I, for one, will be very interested.
Can you bake from home? If you can do this legally, definitely start there.
If you want your name out there ahead of time, go through your local HD and find out the laws for giving away cakes. Most HD's have specific rules and they are for good reason. For example, they may want you to post on the cake that it is from an unlicensed kitchen.
The biggest issue is do not give to high risk groups before you are licensed. This is another reason I am so strongly against illegal bakers. They have no regard for finding out the laws that protect the public. The very young and very old are the most succeptible to issues with food, so these groups should be avoided until you are certified, licensed, and insured. A sad example, if my niece's landlord had provided the required smoke alarms in a rental property, she and her two children would not have passed away last week. The public safety laws are not just for a few. Some bakers, like landlords, can disregard the laws and never get caught, and then one will cause a death. Just like no smoke alarms, a food item can kill a highly succeptible person.
Another issue for giveaway cakes is a posting that the item is made in a kitchen that uses nuts, dairy, eggs, soy, and wheat. These are the laws for my two counties in WV and MD. Your area will have their own.
This is a perfect opportunity to get the kinks out of your plan. My bakery took 6 months to build instead of three. In that time, because it was the serious time, I changed so many things for the better. That lag made my business 200% better than my original plan. Even little things like finding the perfect cupcake liner made big differences. My entire branding was brought to a higher level, and some amazing recipes were developed over what I already had in place.
Sorry I'm on my soapbox about public safety laws this week, but when it hits home, it is real. But this has been my stand for two years for good reason. Like this landlord who is being sued for everything he has and ever will have, a baker could be in that position. not to mention the pain and suffering of a family.
Your local Chamber of Commerce will have your demographic information down to amounts of people at different income levels. Once you find this information, make a plan to reach those people. If you are choosing the mainstream majority, this will be easy, but where the most competition may be. If you choose upper income, it will be a different maketing plan. If you are there, pm me and I will give you a plan for that.
Your website will be your first impression to most of your clients who have not tasted your cakes or have not been referred. Put money here if you can't do it yourself. Be very particular about the image it portrays. You can start on this now and just not publish it.
Get every detail you can possibly think of together. You will be surprised how much your business will change with a little more time to put it together.
Good luck and pm anytime. Susan
Susan, words can't express how saddened I am by the death of your niece and her two children. I agree that we must be scrupulous about the laws put in place to protect the public. I am in the process of finding out what the laws where I live are, and I plan to not only conform to them but to put into place any other safety measures that are within my reach to provide. For example, we're not required to notify people of any allergens in our kitchens, but I thank you for suggesting that we list them, and I will do so anyway.
Marianna, those laws are a combination of WV and MD, but every one of them makes so much sense, we have adopted all of them for both states. Understanding the health issues related to the old and young have helped me suggest safer choices for these groups, and to have very limited choices for charities for this reason.
If you take the time to study food illnesses, especially in scratch baking with natural ingredients, it will help shape your business policies and you will feel sure that your food is safe. Last year raw flour made many people sick across the US. This is why the FDA requires a license to ship, contrary to CC popular belief. Food illnesses can be serious even when you do everything right. I read the .gov sites, the egg board, dairy board, FDA site, and other legal authorities to get my information. Since a line of my products are now national, it is so important to know more than just the bare minimum. It only takes one succeptible person and I want to do all that I can to be safe. My kitchen passes all inspections at the top of cleanliness and safety. And I hate to clean. Don't get me wrong, I have the signature dusting of flour and with all the sugar work, your shoes make a funny noise by the stove even on my very clean floor, but these are not health hazards.