Tuesday January 8th 2019 | 06:29

How to Increase Profits for your Cake Business

How to start a cake business - making cupcakes picture

How to Increase Profits for your Cake Business

New Year, New You- thinking of How to start a cake business or whether you take the Leap, or just what you can do to improve your profits on your current cake business?

 

So many bakers have turned their passion for baking into a business, and quite unexpectedly fell into baking. Many found their passion through personal circumstances where they found solace and comfort in baking for others and receiving the praise of their creations helped gain personal growth and mental wellbeing.

Others through necessity, deciding to create family birthday cakes and realizing a flair and passion had been ignited and enjoyed. The feeling of achievement, pride, selfworth and realization that ‘not everyone’ can do this is one which stays with a baker forever. As family and friends devour the various creations, over time the comments of ‘you should start a cake business’ start to become more frequent and a seedling of an idea is born!

– But could I? Would I make a living? Self doubt creeps in and the entrepreneur is born!

 

Even Bill gates would have had doubts, but creating a baking business you have already done much of what these corporate giants have achieved and you’ve not even realized it yet.

Huge corporations have a team of developers, teams of testers, Market researchers, Competitor Analysis and Strategic advantage teams, Marketing and advertising teams, Sales teams and distribution networks

A Home baker who turns their passion into a business is no different, and have already mastered all these skills without a multi-million pound budget, without professional training in all these areas but have already begun the journey of creating a highly sustainable business

 

Team of developers- Family and friends have been asking for the impossible creations over the past few years , are critical of the smallest detail and you have spent many evening late into the night creating, researching techniques and adapting recipes to suit you

Team of Testers- Whether through work colleagues, childrens friends and family members the volume of cakes consumed now need to be channeled through other areas.

Market researchers- You have attended wedding fairs to see what is there, or have looked at local sites and see cakes being sold locally, You will have questioned family and friends to see what they think and tested support for your idea. Researched how to start a business and what costs are involved and you realise that the cost of setting up a business is not too expensive.

 

Competitor Analysis and Strategic advantage – Understanding who is also operating in your area is a great starting point. Introducing yourself and embracing competition is the best way to work, for various reasons.

1) They may have a skill you don’t possess yet, and therefore rather than turning work away you could work on this together ( creative hand made toppers etc.)

2) You may have an icing printer that would save them postage and can buy from you instead

3) Running a business can be lonely and someone in the same boat, may welcome someone in a similar situation

4) Always have ‘each others back!’ whether through a personal sickness bug where you are unable to fulfill an order or a personal circumstance, always good to know someone can be there to help out

5) They or you -maybe just too busy at certain times of the year and by understanding each others work you can confidently recommend someone.

Marketing and advertising- As your idea starts to form in your mind your desire to start is exciting and daunting. Customers buying and eating your cakes, reviewing and complimenting is the best form of advertising you can get. Recommendations although cost nothing- do cost you time, money and patience in ensuring each cake is perfect for the client. Building a business on recommendations can be a slow process and other outlets should be considered.

Deciding where to market yourself and how best to spend any budget you may have can be a minefield to start with. Look at the free options first and then develop from there, as a website is not necessarily an expense needed on day one!

1) Set up business facebook page- link your personal one, and on your personal page say OWNER OF (new cake business) and link them together.- immediately all your friends and family will know you have started and ask them immediately to follow you there too

2) Start to load pictures on your business page so people can see the types of cakes you have done

3) Set up Instagram and link to facebook and start to showcase your cakes and use of #’s

4) List yourself on yell.com directory site – you don’t need a website straight away

5) Join Mums Bake Cakes as a baker free of charge and additional exposure locally- see here

6) Inform local press and see if they can run any stories

7) Look for local network groups/ WI/ women in business/FSB all will let you attend at least once without having to pay- so take a look and see whether any of worth joining.

 

Outlets and Pricing

Having investigated all the elements of the business, the point where all bakers find the most difficult is pricing a cake. The feeling of ‘don’t want to work for peanuts’ ‘don’t want to overcharge’ ‘Don’t want to have no work!’

Fear of Failure stops may of us achieving our destiny and following our passions

Having overcome all the areas above the final hurdle is ‘Will it be enough to run a business?’

Wherever possible have a contingency plan- work with advisers- with help from the governemnt  some great advice here, and some great tips found here, could this initially work alongside your current job- just whilst testing the market and building your business.

How much do you need to earn each week (£x minimum)- How many cakes is that (x)- what other things could you do to make money- teach/parties etc. You may have an ideal client ( wedding cakes) but you may need some ‘bread and butter’ jobs to keep you ticking over through quieter months- have these prepared and ready to go too.

January is a great month to prepare for the year ahead- although a batch of decorated cupcakes look lovely- with good photography, a picture of beautifully decorated one or two cupcakes, gives the person an idea of what is available. Plan your monthly strategy to coincide with key events

January- Wedding Planning is started by many brides/ Veganuary great time to showcase alternative tasty treats

February- Valentines day

March- Mothers Day

April- Easter

May- Time for many Christenings

June Fathers Day

July Thank you teacher

August baby shower

September New baby/ Birthday

October Halloween

November Fireworks

December- Xmas

 

Look at ways to increase profits whether using leftover cake ( from carving cakes) and put in a cake jar and sell on local sites. The cake jars are available from places like Wilkos 

Consider Cake as a competition prize to showcase your skills, Vouchers for customers to buy as gifts for others. Ask local PTA/ school if you could conduct a session of decorating where the cost of the ingredients is covered by the school, each child takes away a cupcake and a business card from you.

Look for local events where companies maybe celebrating x number of years in business and email reception to see if they have planned their event and whether cakes would be required.

 

For more ideas on setting up a business see here.

 

The Biggest Message we can say…

Thinking of STARTING a business then just START….

 

With your passion and support of friends and family- just START and give it a Go!

 

1) Value Yourself some things to consider:-

Remember Minimum wage is £8.21 per hour (2019-’20)

- Buying ingredients - ½ hour £5

- Petrol to go shopping - £1

- Time to prepare- ½ hour £5

- Time to wash up- ½ hour £5

- £x for elec/gas/hot water £4

- Travelling to deliver cake- ½ hour £5

- Time to make cake- 1 hour £10

- Profit £10+

Without ingredients you can see a standard cake should start at £45.00

- Ingredients £xx

- Detailed decoration time ‘x’ hours £xx

Costing these out per cake will give you a great starting point, obviously creating more at the same time, buying bulk etc. can start to increase profits. Delivering 2 cakes at the same etc. can all help to maximise on profits. But know your worth and value yourself and your craft. For the many years you have spent perfecting your skills with no financial gain, now is the time to earn from this time of practising.

Start your plan with a planned 3 month review know what you have achieved and prepare to adjust and accept that the first year will be a great learning curve for the future

1) What did you enjoy most what did you earn from that £xx

2) What was most profitable cake £xx

3) What was a costly mistake and why?- underpriced/ too intricate/ not enjoyed

4) What were costs and how could you reduce/ improve effectiveness

 

Now start to evaluate your ideal client- both what they would look to buy from you, what you would like to create and where you can start to target those types of clients.

Don’t forget whilst working to gain more of your ideal client- bills still need to be paid and you may have to adapt and diversify just whilst your business is establishing itself.

Apple/ Microsoft etc. all watch market trends, adapt and change being first to market in some instances gives them the advantage and so can you. Watch what is happening in your area and the trends and demographics in your area.

- Whether a Vegan restaurant is opening up and how busy- would it be worth introducing yourself to them?

- Eggless and halal cakes and understand what is required for this market.

- Movies that are due out as birthdays will surely require the new movie spectacular, or closest football team and national events going on around you- all these can give you the chance to showcase skills and gain more enquiries.

 

Some ideas for the beginning of this year to watch out for which you can include in your marketing of cakes you have created previously which are likely to tempt some people and have some fun linking with these events.-

February- The New Lego Movie out/ the fashion weeks ( New York/London/Milan and Paris)

March- The New Marvel Movie/ Dumbo movie/ Crufts dog show

April- Cake Int’l/ Harry + Meghan baby due

May- Football cup final/ Spice Girls launch tour/ Avengers Movie/ Aladdin movie

June-Thank you teachers/ Glastonbury/ Le Mans 24hour car race

July – Womens world cup final-football/ Wimbledon/ Lion King Movie/ Spiderman movie

 

Thinking of starting a Cake Business- Do IT! – Have fun and enjoy the freedom of working for yourself.