There are a lot of women out there who think they could earn extra money by selling the cakes they make. Some of them are right, while others are totally wrong. Food business is a tough one, the competition is tough and you’ll need to put in a big effort in order to succeed. Here’s what you need to know.
A lot of things should be considered if you want to sell cakes from home. You need to find out if you want that to be your source of extra income or your every day job. No matter how much you love baking, you could get bored of it after some time. Think about all those things before you make a decision. If you’re still on board with the idea, these are the things you need to be informed about.
1. Licenses and Regulations
In order for your new business to be legal, you need to think about licenses and regulations. Generally speaking, you need to apply for a license to sell baked goods from your home. Other permissions you may need depend greatly on the state you are living in. Laws about this vary and while in one state you’ll only need the aforementioned license, in another you may need to pass a course for food safety standards. The best idea is to contact your local Commerce and Trade Agency and ask about the things you’ll need to do in order to sell cakes from home.
2. Business Plan
You shouldn’t really decide to engage in any type of private business before developing a good and thorough business plan. You’ll need some money to invest in your business and it’s good to know how much you’ll need and how soon you can expect it to come back.
If you’re not familiar with this, just hire a professional. Don’t try to figure things out yourself; you might end up with losing a lot more than you are gaining. Discuss your new business with a reliable accountant or tax professional and gather as much information as you can. Ask every question, no matter how stupid you think it might be.
As I already said, the competition in food business is tough. There are thousands of professionals and amateurs out there trying to sell their cakes and you’ll be just another one of them at first. You’ll need to learn how to stand out from the crowd.
First of all, you need to have a good product. You also need to have reasonable prices, good advertising and to be as professional as possible. Do your homework and search for people selling cakes in your neighborhood. Look out for good as well as for bad things they do. Implement the good ones and avoid the bad ones and you can expect success.
4. Having a Good Product
Just because your family likes your baking it doesn’t mean that your customers will. The cakes you want to sell need to taste delicious as well as to be very eye-appealing.
Make cakes and invite some friends over. Ask them to give you their sincere opinion on the cakes. Ask them to be cruel and judgmental and to point out every single flaw in your cake. Don’t be offended by this, it is the best way to correct your mistakes.
If you’re not very good with decorating, there are a lot of decorating courses out there you could take. Keep up with modern trends – cakes are today usually decorated with fondant, gum paste and sugary decorations. None of these is very easy to learn, but it is possible if you put a little effort in.
5. Setting Up a Price
Your cakes need to be affordable. If you want to make luxury, extremely expensive cakes you can – but it’s not the best idea to start with. Rather choose cakes that every mom can afford for her child’s birthday.
There are few things you need to count in when setting up a price for your cake. First and foremost is the cost of ingredients. Add up the gas or electricity you’ll spend to bake the cake, the package and the gas money for your car if you’ll be delivering the cake. Last but not the least, count in the time and effort you put into making that cake.
The best idea to set up a price is to go and see what others are offering at which prices. If you can go a bit lower than someone else without working with a loss – great! You’ll attract more customers if your prices are lower than competition’s.
Advertising your food is not an easy job, especially when there are so many people that have already established a food business. You’ll need to draw people to your product and that’s a process that needs time and a lot of effort.
Advertise in your local newspapers. Advertise on internet. Set up a website and put as many photos of your cakes as you can. People like to see their food and they need to like how your cakes look like in order to want to try how they taste. Create a Facebook page and ask your friends to like and share it. It might sound lame to you, but it’s the way it’s done.
If you have a Sunday to spare, bake a couple of cakes and stand on the street corner or visit a local fair and offer people to try samples of your cakes. Make sure you have prepared business cards or leaflets to give to everyone. Do whatever it takes to make your existence known.
7. Be Professional
Coming last but most certainly not the least – keep your professionalism to the maximum level if you want to succeed. This doesn’t mean that you need to dress up in business clothes, but some standards need to be met.
DO NOT EVER accept an offer you know you can’t meat. Only one of those and you can kiss your success goodbye. You will lose at least 20 customers for just one who has a bad word for you. Always be on time and always deliver what was agreed.
Choose a good package for your cakes. They must not reach your customer in a state different than when they left your house. Avoid raw eggs or anything else that could easily get spoiled. And one more thing, and this is a trick from a professional baker – freeze your cakes. All bakers do this. Make your cake a day earlier, freeze it and then decorate it the next day. It will taste the same as the fresh cake.
So, that’s all you need to know. Remember that you’ll need some time before your business starts earning you money, but don’t give up. Be persistent and tenacious – success comes not to those who wait, but to those who get up and do something about it.