Firstly, happy new year! We hope you’ve had a brilliant Christmas and are ready and raring to go into 2012. It’s that time of year again, to think about what we want to achieve in the coming year and make some resolutions..
Jenny and I have resolved to not eat chocolate for breakfast, Laura’s resolution is to only ever eat her Slimming World lunch when working and Gemma’s resolution is to eat more of her favourite brie and grape sandwiches that we serve as part of our class lunch selection. (Better up the sandwich order Jen’..) Anyway, true to form most of our resolutions are food related.
What are your resolutions for 2012? Lots of people have been in touch with us to book classes to inspire them in starting a cake business this year, so I thought I’d give you some tips about where to start if you’re thinking of making the same leap, and aiming to ditch the day job, as one of your resolutions.
1. Think about your strengths and weaknesses.
Yes, I know this sounds boring and like something a careers advisor would say, but really it helps in loads of ways. It allows you to prioritise your spending by getting help only where you really need it (are you a bit of a techy but hate numbers? Think about writing your own website but pay for plenty of accounts advice then). It should also influence the basis of your business and the customers that you market yourself to (do you thrive on pressure of a big project but hate waking up early all week? Think about focussing on weekend wedding orders).
2. Learn as much as possible
Learn as much as you can before you start, because when you’re in the midst of being busy with orders, it’s much harder to make time for this. So, read any business book you can lay your hands on, go on bookeeping and tax courses (often run for free by HMRC), learn about online advertising and social media and of course perfect your sugarcraft techniques!
3. Only listen to business advice that is relevant
When you start to think of running your own business, EVERYONE will have some advice for you. On pricing, who to sell to, what to sell, how to market yourself, where to advertise, the list goes on. My advice is listen to it all, but only act on the bits which come from people who have experience of what you’re trying to do.. Listen to an accountant for accounts advice, a website designer or book for web design advice and someone who has run a (successful!) CAKE business for advice on that. Selling cakes is VERY different to selling cars or candles or keys!
4. A final word on cupcake businesses…
The first question I’m often asked in our business classes, is how to survive in a marketplace that is now so full of competitors. I feel really strongly about this. It isn’t bad to have competition, it means that the market for cakes and cupcakes particularly is buoyant and people are more aware of their availability. Rather than worrying about the competition, you need to focus on two things if you’re going to be successful; firstly, what’s going to set you apart, make you different and better than them and secondly, how you are going to run a profitable business, after all, if there’s no profit, you’re not running a sustainable business. These two things will really help to take you from being a person who bakes as a hobby to someone who is running a successful cake business.
I hope the tips have helped, I ran my own cupcake business for a long time before starting to teach classes, so really understand how daunting it can be when you’re starting out. If you would like mountains more advice, tips, knowledge and questions answered, we run Starting Your Own Cupcake Business Classes and there are a couple of spaces left on 16th January and 23rd January 2011. Please note, these will be the last of this particular class until later in the year as I’m going to be having some time off on maternity leave!
Loads of luck with your resolutions, let us know how you’re getting on!