Your cakes go viral on social media, you’ve saved up plenty of cash, and you’re ready to live out your fondant-covered dreams and go pro. Your goals: turning your love of baking into a business.
But before you do anything you need to write a business plan. This document works through every last detail of your cake business: its focus, what the cakes will look like, who your customers will be, and what everything will cost. It’s also an essential part of applying for loans from investors or banks.
You may be an incredible baker with a secret sugar-flower formula up your sleeve, but launching a business is no cake walk. Still, if you’ve got a smart business plan — and truly extraordinary baked goods — you might just see your profits multiplying like mini cupcakes.
Ready to document your dream?
1. Know Your Product
You need to be able to describe in detail what you’re planning to offer customers and why it’s unique. Maybe you want to sell chic, modern wedding cakes. Maybe you want to focus on charming, quirky cakes for kid’s birthday parties. Write it all out! This will help distill your vision and strengthen your brand.
2. Research Your Competition
Chances are there are several if not dozens of bakeries in your hometown. Do some research on their pricing, customer base, cake flavors, and branding — not to copy them, but to see what’s out there and help you find your own niche.
3. Identify Your Target Market
Think about the kind of person who might want to buy your cakes. It may help to create a survey that you can send to friends and family (ask them to pass it along to their networks as well). This will help you figure out what your customers want and how to give it to them.
4. Make a Budget
How much money will you need? Create a realistic budget — and don’t assume your numbers will be the same as your competitors. Anticipate bumps in the road and plan for them.
Think about your monthly revenue. What’s your best-case scenario? Worst-case scenario? Contingency plan? Can you squirrel some money away in case things get really tight? Think about what you’ll need down to the last dollar.
Remember, you may be writing checks for a commercial space to lease, commercial ovens, refrigerators, workspaces, lighting, flooring, and seating. You may need to hire contractors and other workers to help install equipment, plumbing, and lighting. You’ll need a logo for your business, signage for your shop, a website, and possibly staff. You’ll need cake boxes, cupcake liners, cake boards and of course lots and lots of butter, cream and eggs.
That’s a lot of wear-and-tear on your credit cards. Before you move ahead, make sure you’ve got everything covered.
5. Nail Down a Marketing and Promotion Plan
It doesn’t matter if you bake the best cakes in the universe if no one knows you exist. Make sure to get the word out on social media — an online presence can really lift your business.
6. Prepare to Work Hard
Like any successful business, you’ll need to work 24/7 for a good long while to achieve success. But if this is your dream, go for it. You’re about to jump onto a very exhausting, exhilarating ride!