There are lots of things to consider when starting a new cake business. Here are some of the key things I would recommend:
1. Register with your local council and go on a food hygiene training course. You can do these courses online and sometimes they are offered for free through local councils.
2. Practice, practice, practice. Keep pushing yourself and learning new skills and make sure you have the right skill set. The best people to test your cakes on are friends and family; they are also very good at spreading the word about your new cake business.
3. Develop a niche. Decide which cakes you want to focus on, whether it be cupcakes, celebration cakes, wedding cakes or something else. Developing a niche can help you hone the identity of your company’s brand and choose the right name to stand out from other businesses. Think about what makes you different from other companies.
4. Research the industry and your market. This is essential when working out things like how much to charge for your cakes and what cake flavours to offer etc. It’s also a really fun part because you can visit lots of cake shops and eat lots of cake without feeling bad because it’s all in the name of ‘market research’!.
5. Get some good recipes behind you. I have always loved baking so I have some recipes I’ve developed over time. I tend to stick to only offering a few flavour options but I’ll do something a bit different on request, especially if it’s a dietary requirement. Also, spend some time sourcing ingredients – if you shop around you can save lots of money.
6. Be willing to put in the hours. Good business planning will help you avoid working unnecessarily long hours but you have to accept that in the early days you may have to put in a few more.
7. Know your numbers or get an accountant! One of the most important things is to work out your pricing structure. It needs to be realistic and take into account your time. Don’t under price – you are better off starting higher and lowering as it is easier than putting your prices up when you realise you aren’t charging enough.
8. Build a website. A website is key to marketing your business and it’s the easiest place for potential customers to see pictures of your cakes. If you’re not sure how to set one up, use a website-building tool such as Create. It’s amazing how easy can be!
9. Use social media. It’s a great way of spreading the word about your business. Twitter and Facebook are free and easy-to-use marketing tools.
10. Packaging and decorations. It’s important that you find reliable suppliers for your cake boxes, bases, stands and decorations. Spend a bit of time sourcing a good supplier and it will potentially save you lots of money.