You've been making some amazing cakes for friends and family and people say 'you should sell these'. Does that sound like you? Is that where you started?! And what a great place to begin, with praise and encouragement from others. But then you soon realise that running a successful cake business isn't just a case of making beautiful and tasty cakes. There's more to it than that. Here are my 5 ways to ensure you have a cake business that thrives and makes you money.
1. Be Yourself. Make and Sell the cakes you love
This is my number 1, because it's the first thing I see people NOT doing. Finding what you love and what you're good at are your creative strengths and superpowers. Leaning into those strengths and finding a niche is one of the best things you can do for both you and your business.
This is true for so many reason. Firstly, the more you do the things you love the most, the better you will get at them. The better you get at them, the better your reputation will get for doing them. The better your reputation becomes, the more you'll be in demand. The more demand you have the more orders you'll have, and the more you can charge. And all this for doing the thing you love the most. Now, seriously that can't be bad!
Running a successful cake business isn't just about churning out cakes, and making what the customer wants. If you're not enjoying what you're making, because you're not being yourself and putting your best work out there, it will become tiring. You'll get bored, or even angry and it'll start to show. You'll resent what you're doing and then it'll just become a chore. No-one wants to run a business like that.
Leaning into what you love, and perfecting that will always help to keep you happier and motivated in your business.
2. Stay in your own lane
Try not to compare yourself to others. I know this is easier said than done when we all live on social media. But you have to remember the perfect life you see of someone else's social media feed are just the posts they want you to see.
Comparisonitis is a terrible affliction that can virtually cripple a business, especially a local business like a cake business. It can lead to you copying other designs, worrying about the other cake makers pricing, worrying that they're busier than you, and ultimately leading you to think you're doing something wrong.
Don't get distracted by others. Stay in your own lane. By all means check out the competition, it's a heathy thing to do for your business, but don't let what they're doing dictate what you do. Because when all is said and done, their business may not actually be as successful as it looks on social media.
Read my post on Why You Should Ignore the Competition when Cake Making to learn more about how this can be damaging to you running a successful cake business.
3. Charge your Value
This is as much about mindset, as actually costing and pricing your cakes. Firstly, and most crucially, you have to cover your costs. A successful cake business will never be one that's making a loss. Work out all your costs, even the hidden ones such as your utility bills, petrol and stationery costs. Then add the value.
The value is you. It's your magic, skill, superpowers, knowledge and time. It all needs to be paid for. Think about it like this - if you were employed by someone to work 5 hours, you would expect to earn, at the very least, 5 hours worth of minimum wage. Now say you've been doing that job for 3 years. You have 3 years worth of experience. 3 year's of knowledge. 3 year's of expertise and you should be asking for a payrise to reflect that.
Sadly, many cake makers don't see what they do is enough to get paid let alone acknowledge what they do is special. You are an artist, a creator, a baker, and you're making cakes for people to enjoy. You have skills that people have to pay for. And most importantly you are taking time, away from other things you could be doing, and you have to be paid for that.
I know it's tricky because you love what you do. But that's not payment, that's a bonus. In order to have a successful cake business you have to be paid. You have to cover your bills. You have value your skills and your time.
4. Find the customers that love your cakes and sell to them
Marketing is so very important in any business. Knowing where the customers that like your work the most hang out is like a golden ticket. But this isn't something that happens by accident.
Going and actively getting your cakes in front of the people that want to buy them is a skill that can be learnt and should always be used. This is all about finding your Idea Client.
Ideal Client work, along with Finding your Niche are crucial to having success in your cake business. Knowing who your ideal client are, and speaking directly to them in your messaging will attract them to you. There are a lot of quotes on the internet and in business books along the lines of 'sell to everyone and you sell to no-one'.
Finding you Ideal Client is a topic you should know more about if you're to sell to the people you like the most and who like your cakes. Read more about it with my post on Ideal Client for Cake Makers, or download my Audio Workshop on Niche and Ideal client.
5. Work ON you business and get yourself some business skills
As cake maker I know you can, literally, spend hours on YouTube watching cake decorating tutorials. But is that teaching you how to run a successful business?
Knowing how to make amazing cakes is all well and good, but selling them as a business is a very different thing entirely. Knowing how to do your accounts, or putting together your Terms and Conditions, or learning about time keeping for your admin and order system won't get you extra orders, but it will stop you stressing an make your business life easier.
It means your business will be streamlined, function well and will work to its optimum for you.
Next time you find yourself down the tutorial rabbit hole on YouTube, ask yourself which business skill you can learn to help your business run better?
For more information on all things Cake Business read an Essential Guide to Starting a Cake Business, or why not head over and listen to The Business of Cake Making Podcast - a free business podcast, by cake makers for cake makers.