Starting your own business is a hugely rewarding enterprise. Congratulations for taking the first steps! This article will help you to think about some of the issues you’ll need to tackle in the early stages of setting up your cake-baking business.
Setting up a cake-baking business isn’t something that you can do overnight. As well as the initial idea, you’ll also need training, investment, equipment, and a marketing plan.
Let’s assume that you are already travelling down the path towards a cake business. You’ve given it some thought, and looked at the competition. This means that you’ve considered all of these questions:
This is key to your success. Your product range must fit in with other products that are offered in the area. It must be priced appropriately – no use charging twice what a nearby bakery does. This stage involves plenty of research. Visit bakeries and supermarkets, and contact party planners to find out where people usually buy their cakes, and how much they would spend.
Taste everything you can find, and decide what will make your cakes better! Research popular or trendy flavours, designs and styles of cake; hold a tasting panel and get other people’s input too. Only then will you be equipped to select a small range of products for your launch.
Drawing Up Your Marketing Plan
Sometimes, a business ‘just takes off’. Friends and family mention the service, orders begin to mount up, and the business quickly becomes sufficient. It can happen. But it’s rare. So, although you could depend on word-of-mouth to promote your business, a marketing strategy will spread the word much faster. After the investment of time and money you’ve already made, you’ll want to start making ends meet as soon as possible. Right?
Great. Your marketing plan needn’t be a complex business document – it doesn’t even need to be professionally formatted. It could be a sheaf of notes written during a brainstorming session in the garden. Or you could get a professional to do it. (The university near to us is always looking for projects for its business students – so try asking around.)
Don’t be afraid to start it yourself. The content of your marketing plan should include the following:
Who is my target market? (Working mums, schools, party planners?)
What do they want? (Don’t guess – ask them!)
Where do they find details of the services that they use?
What do they read? Do they have internet access?
How much do they spend on a food shop / children’s party?
What can I offer to encourage them to try my cakes? (Free samples, vouchers, referral discounts?)
Where should I place an advertisement? How can I measure the results?
Do I have access to anyone or anything that I could use for free advertising? (For example: could you hold a sample tasting at the school or church fete? Do you know someone who works in a large local company – and wouldn’t mind passing out samples or leaflets? Do you know the owner of your local shop, who would be able to stick up a poster? Is there a party planner in your area?)
Setting a Great Example...
If you need support and advice, it’s a great idea to join your local business associations or chambers of commerce. You’ll benefit from the friendly support of a community of like-minded people who are setting up a business of their own. When yours is established, keep in touch with the Network: you never know how it could continue to help you.
I'm making a short documentary about cakes around the world as my work takes me all over the world. Would this be an interesting documentary for anyone ? How can I get people interested as I have a friend who is willing to cut and edit my material. I'm passionate about cakes and am a cake Artist who would love to open my own business one day .
Could you help me at all ?
Steve - 25-Sep-13 @ 3:50 PM
Very useful starting point for discovering how to create a cupcake business. In London, UK, we're trying to support cupcake makers through an online directory. This partly because there are a few anomalies depending on which London borough you base you're cupcake business in.
London Cupcakes - 2-Jul-13 @ 3:58 PM
Want to start a shop where I can sell all equments nd ingredients for cake especially witon bakery equpmemt cous people search for it to buy dem but is hard to get her complete bakery equpmnt I want to specalize on dat
Berry - 11-Jun-13 @ 7:56 AM
What do I need legally to start my business properly ie health and hygiene, insurance, qualificaions etc
Dnnie - 1-Oct-12 @ 12:56 PM
myself and a close family member were planning on opening our own bakery business. we have made plans and have done lots of market research, we are taking bakery courses and use our school's kitchen facilities to practise some of the baking skills, however we need some advice on how to go about setting the initial business.
we will be very grateful if you have some advice for us.
MARZ - 30-Sep-12 @ 8:30 PM
I have just started my cake/cupcake business but need to find a courier company to courier them.
Does anyone have any advice!
Kookies Kakery - 26-Jun-12 @ 9:23 PM
i'd like your web & learnt enough as i required. I would able to migrate to Canada & hope to start a small business. I know that is not an easy task to start a business in another country. But i should survive with a small child & would like to help my husband by earning in some other way. i'm good enough to start a Cake business. So, i went through your web & learnt much. thank you'll very much. Hope to follow your cake decorating techniques.
Gango - 25-Jun-12 @ 6:56 AM
@kirstylovescake. You don't need any formal qualifications but you need to be able to make great cakes. Most people start by making cakes for family and friends and go on from there. To sell them you will need to have your home inspected for a health and hygiene certificate first. We have information on this and lots more in our starting a business category
Was wondering if you would be able to advise me on what qualifications I would need to start my own cupcake/celebrations cake and maybe even catering business from home?
Kirstylovescake - 23-May-12 @ 10:11 AM
@Cake - I have just set up my own cupcake business.I would be interested in talking to you.
Sweet Elite - 8-May-12 @ 7:06 PM
Can anyone name some famous Italian pasticceria in Italy? Doesn't have to be "big" but have to be delicious and with historical tradition.
Arson - 1-May-12 @ 1:59 PM
@Mash. We asked our expert to do a feature on this and also polled some of our regular facebook fans. Take a look here here.
CakeBaker - 20-Apr-12 @ 9:38 AM
I'm in College doing a level 2 Diploma in Bakery and hoping to continue with level 3 next year. I would like to buy a mixer that is durable, but not too expensive but one that I can continue using when I eventually have my own business. Any suggestions?
mash - 19-Apr-12 @ 4:56 PM
I am 16 and have been making cakes for family and friends! My customer base has started to widen and I really want my own business when I am older but don't know how to go about setting it up! I don't know whether to go to university to study business or to get a job and earn money to open a business or get a loan/grant from the council! Does anyone have any advice? Thanks
Fiona - 21-Mar-12 @ 5:05 PM
Hi I am selling my handmade cake/cupcake business. Anyone interested please contact me.
cakes - 25-Feb-12 @ 7:47 PM
I've already got an outlet for my cakes its just now making sure I've crossed my t's and dotted my i's. I have been advised that I need, in addition to getting my kitchen passed, the level 2 food manufacturing qualification and public liabilty insurance. What is legally required and what is ideal? I can't seem to get a consistent answer!! Thanks for your help!!
dani - 16-Feb-12 @ 8:03 PM
@ Alison - start by telling your family and friends that you will charge them for the cakes, come up with a price structure and a name for your business. You'll also need to have a hygiene inspection from your local authority.Take a look at all these articles for more information and then work out a brief plan for yourself: http://www.cakebaker.co.uk/start-business-category.html
CakeBaker - 2-Feb-12 @ 10:26 AM
Hi Ive been making birthday cakes now for work colleagues and family it really seems to have taken off in a big way, I'd really like to start my own business as there is a call for it where I live,but have no business sense what ever! Where should I begin?
alicat - 2-Feb-12 @ 12:43 AM
Thanks, I learnt a lot through this article and starting the cake business,thanks again.
party accent - 8-Oct-11 @ 4:28 PM
helloi would like to start baking with americanbaking productsbut i live in the uki would love topromote them over here how do i get round it thanks jenny
jennylightfoot - 13-Jun-11 @ 6:26 PM
I'd like to know how to work out how much gas electricity and water I'm using.
This is something I've overlooked for a long time and to keep good accountsit'd be helpful to know what I'm using.
Lucie - 16-May-11 @ 3:07 PM
Can anyone tell me the best way to breakdown the cost of making a cake?
slavetocake - 10-May-11 @ 10:23 PM
I'm looking at starting a cake making business, should I hire a delivery service or hand deliver them?
leon - 17-Mar-11 @ 8:09 AM
We interviewed someone who runs a cupcake delivery service recently. She told us: "As I need to be able to guarantee a delivery date to my customers, I work with a courier service. Since I regularly send large volumes this way, it doesn't work out that much more expensive than using the Royal Mail. The couriers are also accustomed to working with fragile packages and it works out smoothly in terms of insurance."
CakeBaker - 15-Mar-11 @ 10:26 AM
Looking at starting a small business, what's the best mail order to use?