Thinking about taking your confectionary hobby to a full-time baking business? The romantic idea that you will spend your days only baking perfect cookies is far from the reality of what it takes to run a profitable baking business. Cookbook author, business owner and baking aficionado, Grace Stevens, shares her most valuable insights into what you need to do to begin your baking business.
Set informed goals
Every great cake begins with an amazing recipe. In business, your recipe should start with researching your target market, examining your competition, and setting clear, achievable goals to help you stay disciplined on the path to your sweetest business dreams.
Play to your strengths
Keep your creativity flowing and play to your strengths as a baker and businessperson. Offering something unique, delicious, and reliable to your customers will ensure you get your financial piece of the pie.
Listen to your customers
Your customers can be your biggest advocates and having a great reputation can even save you money on marketing. Being mindful of your patrons’ ideas – inputs and even criticisms will help you build a loyal base of return customers and pull in new business.
Ask for help
Identifying what is not your strong point and learning to ask for help in the right places is extremely important for your confidence, as well as the growth and sustainability of your business.
4 Tips on pricing
■ When selling your creations, be mindful of expenses like packaging, consumables, ingredients, your time and your technical skill level. Marketing for the launch of your start-up and for the long term is important to cost into every sale.
■ Certain markets, such as wedding cakes, may have a seasonal swing to them and it is important to budget to diversify your products and save for the slower months accordingly.
■ Identify exactly what each of your recipes cost as if you had to buy all your ingredients and equipment tomorrow. Even the best equipment has a lifespan so it is important to plan to improve, expand and replace your essential equipment as needed.
■ Have a contingency plan. Adding a small amount onto each of your successful orders will ensure that you have the budget to remake an unsuccessful order without running at a loss. The number of re-bakes will be unique to your skill level and should decrease as you become more experienced.
Perhaps the most important pearl of wisdom that Grace shares is that you need to know your worth and stick to it. The value you assign to your creations is pivotal to both the health of your business and your professional confidence.
If you plan carefully, never follow a half-baked idea, are mindful of your finances and never undervalue your skills or the products they allow you to produce, you should be sifting your way to success in record time.