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How do I expand my little cake decorating business? - Page 2

post #16 of 22
Hopefully you didn't scare her away, I really don't think it will be necessary to post this warning in every business-related thread. The vast majority of these types of threads end up helping out the OP with a minimum of drama, let's try to keep it that way.
post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft View Post

I really don't think it will be necessary to post this warning in every business-related thread.

 

 

then don't never do it

one baker's 'never ever do' is the next baker's 'i swear by this'
Reply
one baker's 'never ever do' is the next baker's 'i swear by this'
Reply
post #18 of 22

Hi Cake a wish, 

 

Like what Jason Kraft has mentioned, it's good to have a basic business plan. That way, you would be able to map out some ideas on how to proceed to market your business.

 

Additionally, you might like to check out what sort of license you might need to apply in your country before you start your business.

 

Hope it helps! =)

Check out our creations @
Website : http://mydearbakes.wordpress.com/
Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/mydearbakeslittlebakery
Se ya there! =)
Reply
Check out our creations @
Website : http://mydearbakes.wordpress.com/
Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/mydearbakeslittlebakery
Se ya there! =)
Reply
post #19 of 22

Sorry... this is a pretty long post!

First, you need to know the reasons you want to grow your business... why is it not ok the way it already is? For me, it's just been my biggest dream to have my own bricks and mortar shop. I knew that I couldn't afford any loans due to credit issues with student loans... so I know that I have to pretty must quadruple what I did the year before while also saving for what I want...

That beings said.. I would then begin doing massive amount of homework. It can get to be complete total information overload... I started with state laws concerning food businesses. I found out that the state I live in has a cottage food law, so I'm protected to work from my home. I also contacted the state "Small Business Administration" and found out what they had to offer... My state also has a website for small businesses that acts as road to business ownership. The business plan is also a great start.

Then I decided I need to figure out what other competitors in the area are doing... who is also making cakes, do they make anything else besides cakes, are there certain areas that have total product saturation (for instance, 10 other cakers in a small town who specialize in custom cakes), etc.

Once I have a good list of potential competition that are just like me, I find out all I can about their business... prices, how they make their products, I've even stopped by actual local cupcake shops to taste the competition. If you're cake is not as good as local area competition and yet you charge $2.00 more a serving... your business will fail.

You need to price out all your recipes... the Cake Boss software is great for that. Can you afford to be in the same range as your competition? Are you using better ingredients that cost more, putting more time and effort into your designs, your cakes look/taste better... these are selling points.

Then you need to analyze all you know about competition, your own costs to bake/make and see if you can afford to run your business on the same prices... If not, you'll need good reasons for baking at higher costs and need to really work to prove yourself to your customers... most of whom may constantly ask you "Why are you more expensive than "so and so". Be prepared for questions like these with well thought out answers.

Marketing. You may think you are covered in that area... but you would be surprised. Utilize social media... cake central is great, facebook, twitter, pinterest. Scheduled posts on facebook get my business the absolute most local attention. I have a website... but what good is it if it doesn't show up in local searches for bakeries or cake makers? Utilizing "yellow pages" and certain types of directories are great for this. While you might not show up with your own website, you may show up in the searches in yellow pages directory and when they click the link, your info will come up. Yahoo listings to come up in their "local results" searches. SEO is your best friend for google and bing... but it's one of the most complicated things to learn about. I decided to see if anyone at the local college would do intern work for the ability to use my website in their portfolio.
I'm also a member of a local bridal association and work to plan a bunch of bridal shows in our area. I then attend these shows with my business to target the bridal market specifically. I attend a local artisan market and farmer's market to take orders for my business and also sell smaller, easier to carry and eat on foot goods... like candy and truffles. I do or attend personally EVERY community event... I try to attend as many town hall meetings as I can, downtown community events, help/donate goods for/with fundraisers for charity organizations and have made friends in high places. It's nearly exhausting... I buy tons of business cards and leave them with my cakes, hand them to people I meet, etc.


Which brings me to the most IMPORTANT tip: Learn all you can! To be a business owner means to not only bake and make cakes... but to be your own accountant, secretary, pr person, business researcher and putting in 100's if not 1000's of hours doing work to learn. You have to take the time to constantly upgrade your skills and learn all you can about your particular industry regarding trends, etc. You also need to be a savvy business person... you must know your tax laws, keep all of your records accurately, licensing requirements, health code requirements, marketing changes and how to best utilize what tools are available. Just to begin...

I've just recently come to the conclusion that in order to get it all done, my employee will be my baker. She will be coming to bake all my cakes and I will focus on the rest... you'll need to be able to recognize when things will need to change and what your new roles will be in regards to everything.

 

Because the best tip I ever got... if you don't want all that (above) to manage a business... go work for someone else.

 

post #20 of 22

WOW!! That was very insightful!  Thank you for taking the time to post that!  I stumbled across this post and sooo glad I did!

post #21 of 22
Agreed, excellent post and very informative.
post #22 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeslieBruckman View Post

Sorry... this is a pretty long post!

First, you need to know the reasons you want to grow your business... why is it not ok the way it already is? For me, it's just been my biggest dream to have my own bricks and mortar shop. I knew that I couldn't afford any loans due to credit issues with student loans... so I know that I have to pretty must quadruple what I did the year before while also saving for what I want...

That beings said.. I would then begin doing massive amount of homework. It can get to be complete total information overload... I started with state laws concerning food businesses. I found out that the state I live in has a cottage food law, so I'm protected to work from my home. I also contacted the state "Small Business Administration" and found out what they had to offer... My state also has a website for small businesses that acts as road to business ownership. The business plan is also a great start.

Then I decided I need to figure out what other competitors in the area are doing... who is also making cakes, do they make anything else besides cakes, are there certain areas that have total product saturation (for instance, 10 other cakers in a small town who specialize in custom cakes), etc.

Once I have a good list of potential competition that are just like me, I find out all I can about their business... prices, how they make their products, I've even stopped by actual local cupcake shops to taste the competition. If you're cake is not as good as local area competition and yet you charge $2.00 more a serving... your business will fail.

You need to price out all your recipes... the Cake Boss software is great for that. Can you afford to be in the same range as your competition? Are you using better ingredients that cost more, putting more time and effort into your designs, your cakes look/taste better... these are selling points.

Then you need to analyze all you know about competition, your own costs to bake/make and see if you can afford to run your business on the same prices... If not, you'll need good reasons for baking at higher costs and need to really work to prove yourself to your customers... most of whom may constantly ask you "Why are you more expensive than "so and so". Be prepared for questions like these with well thought out answers.

Marketing. You may think you are covered in that area... but you would be surprised. Utilize social media... cake central is great, facebook, twitter, pinterest. Scheduled posts on facebook get my business the absolute most local attention. I have a website... but what good is it if it doesn't show up in local searches for bakeries or cake makers? Utilizing "yellow pages" and certain types of directories are great for this. While you might not show up with your own website, you may show up in the searches in yellow pages directory and when they click the link, your info will come up. Yahoo listings to come up in their "local results" searches. SEO is your best friend for google and bing... but it's one of the most complicated things to learn about. I decided to see if anyone at the local college would do intern work for the ability to use my website in their portfolio.
I'm also a member of a local bridal association and work to plan a bunch of bridal shows in our area. I then attend these shows with my business to target the bridal market specifically. I attend a local artisan market and farmer's market to take orders for my business and also sell smaller, easier to carry and eat on foot goods... like candy and truffles. I do or attend personally EVERY community event... I try to attend as many town hall meetings as I can, downtown community events, help/donate goods for/with fundraisers for charity organizations and have made friends in high places. It's nearly exhausting... I buy tons of business cards and leave them with my cakes, hand them to people I meet, etc.


Which brings me to the most IMPORTANT tip: Learn all you can! To be a business owner means to not only bake and make cakes... but to be your own accountant, secretary, pr person, business researcher and putting in 100's if not 1000's of hours doing work to learn. You have to take the time to constantly upgrade your skills and learn all you can about your particular industry regarding trends, etc. You also need to be a savvy business person... you must know your tax laws, keep all of your records accurately, licensing requirements, health code requirements, marketing changes and how to best utilize what tools are available. Just to begin...

I've just recently come to the conclusion that in order to get it all done, my employee will be my baker. She will be coming to bake all my cakes and I will focus on the rest... you'll need to be able to recognize when things will need to change and what your new roles will be in regards to everything.

 

Because the best tip I ever got... if you don't want all that (above) to manage a business... go work for someone else.

 

Are you kidding?! Every single word in your post is a gem. I just printed it out. I've been trying to get my cake-self motivated for weeks now and this post is the kick I need in the rear to get back up and focus. THANK YOU!

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