Guest post by Pia Cato
So you want to start a cake business that is fantastic. A cake business is so rewarding and so much fun, us cake makers can literally bring happiness to people’s lives with a single slice of cake – how amazing is that! But running a cake business isn’t all fondant and sprinkles.
Why start a business?
Starting a business can be quite scary, you’re going into the unknown and often there is a lot of fear attached. But have you ever asked yourself, why you truly want to start a business? Why you want a career in cakes? Questioning your ‘why’ will uncover the ultimate reason, in other words your long term goal. Your ‘why’ is the feeling motivation and it goes deeper than the passion you feel for creating your cakes, it’s the core reason why you have a business dream. Quite often you may have buried it deep in your subconscious as something that is completely unachievable, but it’s time to dig it up my baker friend! I urge you to complete the exercise below to really discover what your ‘why’ is – you never know it might surprise you!
Spend 5 -10 minutes thinking about what you really want to achieve in your business. Then write this down in as much detail as possible. This is your ultimate goal.
Next ask yourself if you could achieve this goal:
- How would you feel? Invincible, powerful, fulfilled, grateful, overjoyed, loved, excited, energetic,..etc.
- What type of person would you be? More confident, interesting to your friends and family, reassured, giving, happy, financially independent, a successful business person, etc.
- What opportunities would it open up for you? More time with your loved ones, ability to travel, confidence to take part in cake competitions, appearances in magazines…etc.
Notice how writing what you ultimately what to achieve, why you want to achieve it and how you would feel if you completed it, is much more powerful than simply stating that you want to start a cake business. It suddenly brings your ‘unachievable’ dream closer to reality.
What about business skills?
You’ve discovered your ‘why’ which is fantastic but the next step is understanding what is involved in a running a cake business. If you have no business experience or a limited amount, that is ok, all of this can be learnt. There is a wealth of information around us from blogs, magazines, the TV, business mentors, google searches, online forums and simply just talking to people. If you wanted to learn a new business skill every day for the rest of your life than you could very easily. However, it is important not to overwhelm yourself with too much as then the opposite will happen and nothing will be accomplished.
So what is involved with running a cake business, well in the beginning you have to be prepared to wear many hats!
As you will need to be:
- The Finance Director
- The IT Director
- The Sales Director
- The Marketing Director
- The Customer Service Coordinator
- Delivery Driver
- Admin Support
- and of course The Baking and Decorating Director.
You will have to take ownership and understand all of these roles. It may seem like there is a lot but it’s a simple matter of learning how to manage your time, and believe me it is perfectly achievable.
I strongly suggest scheduling in a regular day each week (full or half) to dedicate your time to turning your business idea into a reality. The first few stages of any business is all about the planning and preparation, and a cake business is no different.
Schedule set times in your calendar to spend turning your business into reality.
Research is calling!
Woah there! I know it is very exciting and you are itching to get started but before you go all guns blazing into starting your business, I want to ask if you have done your research? If you have, brilliant. But I know from experience this is a step many people overlook, and it is so vital. Honestly it will save you so much time, effort and money in the long run if you understand your area and potential customers.
Research can take many forms, perhaps you have provided cakes for friends, family and colleagues and they have raved about how tasty they are and how beautiful they look. That is great, it confirms your talent. But have you asked strangers what they think? Have you researched your local area? Do you know if people would be happy to pay for a bespoke cake? Or do you need to cast your catchment area wider in order to service people who want artisan cakes?
Don’t worry this research is easy to find, it is as simple as typing it into a short survey (with no more than 10 questions) and then asking people to fill it in. Make sure you ask the questions that you really want to know, don’t just ask questions to fill space.
Google Forms or Survey Monkey are great tools to use and you can post a link on your Facebook profile/page and/or email your friends, family and colleagues. Whichever method you use make sure you ask your nearest and dearest to pass it on to their friends, family and colleagues too.
Market research is also a great way to start building up a potential client list. A good idea is to offer an incentive to your survey such as a 10% discount on their first order or a free box of cupcakes if they fill in the questionnaire and give you their email address. You can then capture their email address in a spreadsheet and when you’re ready to launch say you will be in touch with their special offer.
Write and share your own market search survey.
Example Questions to ask:
- What is your gender?
- Which age category do you fall into?
- What is your occupation?
- Would you buy a bespoke cake for a celebration
- Why would you buy a bespoke cake?
- How much would you spend on a bespoke cake?
- How important is the price? The look? The Taste? The quality of ingredients?
- Would you spend extra to have your bespoke cake delivered?
So are you ready to take the plunge! Ask yourself these 6 questions:
- Have you done your market research?
- Do you have the passion and talent to start a business?
- Are you hungry to increase your knowledge and learn new business skills?
- Can you multitask and wear many business hats?
- Are you ready to face your fears?
- Are you excited?
If you answered yes to all six questions, then you are well on your way to beginning your cake business journey. Look out for my blog next month where I will be talking about how to discover your cake business nieche and why it is so important.
Pia Cato’s website: Make Money with Cakes