Here’s the thing, cake makers love making cake, but we know nothing about business… do we?
This was the story that I used to tell myself all the time. I used to get really frustrated with the business side of things and constantly say “I just want to make cake”.
But….then I woke up and realised that if I showed more interest in the business side of things and put more effort there, then in turn, I’d get to make more cake – the thing I loved.
Just let that one sink in for a moment before we do any further.
Passion without purpose becomes a barrier to profit
If all we ever do is spend time working IN our business (on orders for customers) rather than spending some time working ON our business (the development and securing the future of our business) then we are actually forming a barrier to the growth and success of our business.
So, what can we do to run our business with more purpose?
Here’s the first one:
STOP treating your cake business like an expensive hobby
I think we’ve all been guilty of this at some point haven’t we?
And in a way, thats totally understandable, after all, I bet almost all cake makers would say that their business did start out as a hobby
To us, making cake is enjoyable, so it isn’t something that we always consider to be work and that (as well as a lack of confidence) can lead to cake makers undercharging for their work.
In this blog, I am going to be delving deeper into simple steps that you can take to stop treating your cake business like an expensive hobby!
1. Review Your Pricing
When was the last time you reviewed your pricing?
And by that I don’t mean the last time you increased your prices by a fiver (I know you do that! 😉)
I mean the last time you actually sat down and worked out what your ingredients cost, what your oven usage is, what your hourly rate is, and how long it takes you to undertake certain tasks.
The thing is, the cost of ingredients change all the time. Plus, you might have changed your recipe, or where you do your shopping since the last time you priced your cakes.
Were you realistic in your time spent last time you priced your cakes, or have you realised that things are actually taking you longer than you anticipated?
What is your hourly rate?
Do you think that is sufficient for the skill involved in your work?
If you can’t confidently answer all of these questions (or, you still don’t feel confident in your pricing) then its time to sit down and give this your time and attention.
2. But are you actually making any money?
Eeeek thats a big question! And one that you probably would rather not have to answer. BUT, it’s time to be honest with yourself – are you making any money? I don’t just mean do you THINK you’re making any money, or do you have a spare £50 at the end of the month to go and buy yourself something nice, I mean on paper are you making any money. If you aren’t sure, then its time to get those accounts up to date!
One of the things I am forever banging on about is how you shouldn’t see your bookkeeping as a means to an end to find out how much tax you need to pay at self assessment time.
Instead, your bookkeeping is actually a mega useful tool – by keeping on top of it, you can see what products are selling well and what is not selling so well. This means that you can look to maximise your best sellers, and perhaps knock the deadwood on the head. You can also see where your main expenses lie, and look at how you can reduce those. I mean, do you really need to be spending £1000 a year on wedding fayres?!
What is your profit margin?
If you price your cakes properly, and keep on top of your bookkeeping then you should be able to work out exactly how much profit you are making out of your products, and which products are the most profitable for you.
3. Don’t Try and Be All Things To All People
Do you offer a massive array of products? If the answer to this is yes, then you need to consider why you do this. If you are doing it because you enjoy making those products, and they are worthwhile from a profitability point of view then by all means continue to do that.
However, if you are making all of those products because you feel like you “should” then it’s time to reassess the situation. This is your business a no one else’s so there is nothing that you “should” do, you are free to make the products that you want to me, and that bring you a profit.
So consider, what do you enjoy making? And on the flip side, what do you really not enjoy?
Do you have a speciality?
Then, once you have decided, be consistent in your message
Customers will buy what they can see so if you do happen to make a cake that you didn’t particularly like and don’t want to take more orders for, then don’t post images of it on your social media!
By posting images, you are advertising so only advertise the cakes that you’re happy to take order for!
4. Make Sure You’re Easy To Buy From
By our very nature, us humans have a tendency to over complicate things don’t we?
But, when it comes to getting our customers to buy from us, we need to make this as easy as possible for them!
So, I’d like you to have a think about your business, and in particular consider these things:
🤔Do your customers actually know what type of cakes you make?
🤔Do they know at least your starting prices? People are very easily put off when there isn’t any idea of how much something is going to cost them. Lots of people find asking for a price uncomfortable, so without any starting prices, people may be put off
🤔How much notice do you need for orders and do your customers know this?
🤔Do you have a flavour menu?
🤔Rather than telling your customers the dimensions of a cake, why not tell them how many servings you will get from a cake – after all, most people have little concept of size, and what they actually want to know is if the cake will serve all of their guests.
🤔Do you customers know whether you cater for allergies and intolerances?
🤔Is it obvious how your customers can order from you? And by obvious, I mean to your customers!
🤔Do your customers know what method of payment you accept?
🤔How much deposit do you need?
🤔What availability do you have?
5. Who Even Is This Girl?
I mean do your customers even know your name? Or are you just the cake lady?
People are nosey! They like to know the person behind the brand! So posting the odd photo of what you’re up on in your free time is always a welcome one, as it disclosing a few fun facts about yourself. I’m not asking you to disclose any deep dark secrets, just give your customers a little insight into who you are.
One of the things my wedding cake customers always say to me is that they chose to book their cake with me because they liked ME, not just my cakes. The felt that they could work with me and that I “got” them. Bare this in mind when it comes to building a relationship with your customers.
6. Build A Brand
So you’ve probably got a business name and a logo but have you got a brand?
Yes, you are a small business but that doesn’t mean that you can’t become a well known brand in your local area.
So in addition to your logo consider colours and fonts and how you can use them throughout your printed materials and online graphics. If you are consistent in the images, colours, and fonts that you are using then potential customers will easily be able to recognise your business when they are scrolling their phone, or going about their day to day business.
Canva is a great tool for creating social media graphics – you can save your colour codes and fonts to the brand kit for easy access.
Price is What You Pay….Value is What you Get
This is an AMAZING quote!! One of my favourites!
It is all about the customer service!
When it comes to your customer experience – how can you add value?
Consider how you can provide excellent customer service – what makes you stand out from other cake makers?
Maybe you use the best quality ingredients, maybe you deliver every order, or maybe you have the most beautiful packaging around.
Whatever it is that makes you stand out from the crowd, make sure you shout about it – let your customers know why they should order from you!
If you’ve loved this blog post and want to delve deeper into all this and more then check out Boss Your Cake Business!
You can find out all of the information and book your place here: