Month: October 2016

How to deal with Your Customers if they Complain about your Cakes

How to boost your cake sales over the coming Christmas period

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Christmas is just a few weeks away and like it or not your customers are already thinking and making plans for it.

So you have to be ahead of the game and start promoting your cakes early enough so as to secure those sales and orders before someone else does.

How can you do this? Let me show you how.

These 3 tips will definitely help you increase your sales in time for Christmas and let you have a less stressful season.

xmas4Encourage future purchases

Yes, you may think that discounting your products, or offers of big money off or vouchers for discounts may be good, but this not a great idea during this time of the year. I will tell you why.

Never discount your products too much; you are approaching one of the potentially busiest times of the year and you do not want to be working more for less money at the end of it.

Instead of discounting your cakes, look at how you can encourage future purchases from your customers; for example, you could market your cakes or cupcakes by offering           ‘N2,000 Off for every box of cupcakes purchased in November’.

This won’t give them an immediate discount so you’re still getting paid well but the discount voucher will entice them to come back and buy from you again.

However, don’t forget to add terms and conditions to the voucher to stipulate they must spend over a certain amount before they can claim this discount and that they can only use one voucher per order, otherwise you will find yourself working yourself to the bone, for little money or even free in the near future.

xmas3Solve a problem

 This is vital; your product should solve a problem. This is a sure way to entice your customers to buy from you.

You may be asking what problem does a cake solve.

 For example, when advertising your cake or cupcakes you can add a text to the photo and the text will read- ‘the perfect gift to the woman who has everything’, or ‘get on Santa’s good list by buying the gift everyone wants this year’.

Both of those lines will appeal to a male audience as they often find it difficult to shop for a woman and you highlighting what a good product you have will help them make that move to buy from you.

 For your female audience, your strategy will be different because we respond to other influences.

 Let say you want to give a gift to your children’s teacher and you are thinking of a good gift for her. If you make floral cakes or cupcakes and you display them in a pretty display case, you should highlight that your products are good because it comes packaged with a centrepiece.

Your marketing text can say. ‘Wow your guests with a table centrepiece they can tuck into for dessert’ or ‘the perfect gift to say thank you to your children’s teacher this Xmas season’.

 Simply saying, ‘teachers gifts, 6 cupcakes for N4, 000’ does nothing and is often overlooked by your potential customers.

xmas5Plan your Orders

Now this one isn’t going to be obvious to most people but at this time of the year it’s often easy to forget to give yourself some downtime.

 Planning of your time for the Christmas season will be key to maximising your time.

If you are still in full time employment or you have small children and other commitments, you will have times you cannot work on all your Christmas orders.

 Once you have the time, you should block out some time to get organised. Plan your cakes that you will be offering and then look at your timings for each order you’ll need to allow time to make them as well as to deliver them. This will help you not overbook yourself.

There’s nothing worse than being totally rushed off your feet trying to earn money for Christmas  and then falling ill when Christmas day finally comes.

So I hope you found these tips useful and will help you plan the perfect marketing campaign that will keep customers coming back for more but not at the expense of your earnings or time.

Till next week.
Happy Caking.
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RotimiCakeLady

7 ways to achieve financial security in your cake business

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As a cakepreneur it is important to plan, to reassess your strategies from time to time.

As we a coming to the end of the year, this is the time to reflect and organize your business, make any necessary changes so that you can reach and break your financial goals by Christmas.

This week we will be talking how to build a solid financial foundation for your cake business. This way you will never be broke in your cake business.

I find out that many Cakers, just like me fell into the cake industry almost by accident. It started out as a hobby and then we realized we can actually make money from this venture.

And like most people (again myself included) we entered into this business because we were tired of our job situation, needed more money, wanted to spend more time the kids at home. So we got into this wonderful world of Caking but failed to build the business acumen to ensure the success of the business.

So this week I will show you 7 ways to build a strong financial foundation for your cake business:

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  1. Have a separate current Company bank account

It is essential you have a separate current bank account for your cake business. This is to avoid mixing up your personal funds and your business finances. In addition, it will make your customers see your business as a serious brand instead of just a hobby; and it will allow you to examine your business finances more efficiently so you can monitor your cash flow.

In addition to this, get a separate business savings account from the start and always save for your business. Whatever money you have coming in from your orders, try and save a certain % to this account. In essence, whatever profit you make send this profit directly to this savings account from every order so that you will not be tempted to spend it.

Likewise, pick a set day in the month to pay yourself a salary. Don’t just dip into the business account whenever you feel like for your personal needs. It will just bring confusion and this will get worse as your business grows.

 

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  1. Have a Buffer

In most business books, it says you must always have a minimum of a 3 to 6 months business expenses buffer in your company account. This cushion should cover all the costs of running your business for that time period. So let’s say it costs N30,000 per month to run your business (this may include, utilities, website, marketing, salary, buying ingredients, equipment etc), you’ll need at least N90,000 in the bank account at any given time. You can build up this buffer by not paying yourself for the first few months of your business and trying to keep your expenses low.

If you can discipline yourself to do it this way, it’ll be great. You will enjoy your business because you won’t have to be taking every single order that comes your way in order to survive. You’ll be in control of your business and you will have some funds in those slow weeks when you don’t get as much orders. I know this method will take some sacrifice, especially when money is already tight. But know there is a light at the end of the tunnel and your cake business will have a better chance to survive.

 

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  1. Stop offering Discounts

I know we leave in a society where asking for a discount is the norm. However, when you give a discount you are sending the wrong signal to a customer about your business. This kind of situation can rapidly get out of the hand to the point that you are actually working for nothing.

 Nonetheless, because of the environment we are in and we Africans are born negotiators, what you can do is to price your cakes a little higher so when potential customers ask for a discount, you can readily give them a reduction which will not affect your profit margin. So both of you will be happy. You- still making money; Customer- feels that she got a good deal and most likely will recommend you to her friends and will come back.

Another thing to mention is if you wish to donate a cake, like for instance for church or family functions, then just donate it completely free of charge and count it as your marketing cost. Also try and donate cakes to customers where you know you can network which in turn will bring you more customers.

Also when you donate cakes, bake the cake you want to bake, not what they tell you to do, because they are not paying you anything and just because you want to market, does not mean you should run your business into the ground.

 

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  1. Keep accounting records

Schedule a day and time each week to analyze your cash flow so to know your weekly income and expense accounts. I know this may seem boring especially for those like me who dislike maths. But believe me this is essential. Doing your accounts weekly will help you know what is coming in and what is going out.

Keeping an account does not have to be complicated and you don’t have to hire an accountant. Just have columns for date, credit and debits. Also make sure you keep your receipts. This will help you know what you buy each week and also useful for tax purposes.

 

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  1. Diversify

As your cake business grows, you should look into diversifying. In the beginning you can have one great product, for instance, character cakes, because it will allow you to perfect your skills in this area and be well known for it. But as you grow, this will limit your profit growth.

By offering other products and services it means that your business will not be at risk if a new competitor comes into the scene or if cake orders do not come in quickly especially during recession times

You need to develop new sources of income to supplement the dry months and keep you relevant in the industry. For example, you could offer cake decorating classes for adults and kids, start a cake blog, write a cake decorating book, sell custom made cake toppers, etc.

These are only a few ideas to making more money without much capital investment. So try and think of new ways to develop new products that you can do with little effort so as to gain maximum profits.

 

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  1. Offer great customer service to your customers and followers

Focus your products on your customers (i.e. your subscibers). This is really important because if you can identify the customers and what type of cakes you are make the most money from, you can start to focus on those products and customers.

This is where the 80/20 rule comes into effect. The 80/20 rule states that 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers. So all you need to do is identify your 20% and focus a little more on them by giving amazing customer service.

You can do this by sending them weekly newsletter informing them of your new product, offering them special deals if they refer you to someone else or organizing a tasting party for your loyal customers.

 

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  1.  Think of your return on investment (ROI) before you spend

Try and spend money on what will bring money quickly first before anything else.

For instance is let’s say you want to take a new cake decorating class but you also need to buy an additional mixer or a good quality camera to take better quality pictures of your cakes rather than on your mobile.

A good ROI will state you should buy the mixer or the camera first because you already have good cake decorating skills so you need to bring in more customers to use those already acquired skills to generate income before spending money for this class.

With an additional mixer you can make faster cakes so you can take more cake orders and with a good camera, you can take good quality picture which will draw more customers when you post them on your website or on social media pages.

You have to understand that the cake business is not a get rich quick scheme. But you can make a lot of money from this business. With passion, persistence, determination and developing your skills, you can always make good money from cakes to become a CAKE BOSS.

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Finally, as a final tip the most effective way for financial security for your cake business is simply to spend less money. Only spend money when it is absolutely necessary.

Happy Caking.
Talk to you next week.
rotimi cartoon
RotimiCakeLady

Top 5 Mistakes New Cake Business Owners Make

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When I was complying materials for the Baking Business School. I observed some common mistakes made by new cake business owners. It’s one thing to be a skilled cake decorator, but it’s something quite different to be the owner of a successful cake business.

 
Making mistakes is part of life and it’s only by learning from those mistakes that we become better business owners. Having a cake business is about figuring things out as you go along, but knowing the common mistakes new baking business owners make is a good way to avoid them entirely.
 
                    ‘Remember you’re A Cake Business Owner, not a Cake Decorator
 
To thrive in the cake business world, you have to be a good marketer and be business-minded.
 
Here are a few of the most common mistakes in staring a cake business that you should try to avoid.
 

 #1: Undercharging For Your Time and Talent

Most of us started like this- you make a cake for a friend and suddenly everyone is telling you to go into business because your cakes are great. Then a friend asks you to make a cake for her child, gives you money and suddenly you’re in business. You have just conducted your first business transaction. Yay!
 
The thing you have to realize is that the moment you charge for a cake, you’ve moved from amateur to professional. This shift requires a change in thinking, especially when it comes to how you view the value of your time.
 
In most cases, selling your cakes means you’ve already made an investment in becoming a legally registered business. All that is needed is a simple change in perspective: from amateur to serious business. The rules are entirely different, and you need to think about things in a different way  – even if your cakes are not perfect and you only charged a few Naira for the cake.
 
If you are serious about your cake business and it’s not just “a side hustle”, you must think seriously about the cost of keeping your business open. With this change in perspective and a realistic valuation of your time, you can calculate accurate prices that reflect your work, effort and skills.
 

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#2: Working For Free

Even if you are new in the cake business, my advice is to always know what your cakes are worth, and refuse to negotiate below a certain price.

Making a cake for free in the hope of future orders means you won’t be in business for very long. If someone asks you to bake a cake for a very low price saying that your sacrifice will lead to more highly-paid opportunities in the future. Don’t do it! This is an insult to any baker and does a lot of damage to your business and the cake industry at large. You risk being known as a cheap cake maker who will negotiate at any price.

#3: Waiting for cake customers to just appear

 You’ve got the business cards, the cake equipment, the website and the logo, but no cake orders are coming in. New cake business owners forget that it’s not enough just to be a great baker; you’ve got to go out there and get customers. You need to market and get on social media to advertise your cake business. Word of mouth is good and helps bring in customers, but you can’t always rely on that.

#4: Not keeping track of your expenses

While you were still an amateur baker you never thought that such things as your cake equipment and ingredients were ‘expenses’. When you start selling your cakes as soon as you start, you should start keeping track of what you’re spending.
 
So keep track of the items you’re buying and note your expenses even if it’s just in a notebook and also keep your receipts. This exercise helps to keep a business mindset.

#5: Living in a Dream Fantasy

Running a professional cake business, is not so easy. Most cake business owners feel u will become a millionaire overnight just by baking cakes.
 
The reality is that the cake baking and decorating is only a small part of your business efforts.  The rest is selling, accounting, marketing, social media, customer service, ordering supplies, negotiating with customers and so on. Those business-related tasks are required in running your business so don’t ignore them. However, the good news  is that now when you’re doing those tasks, you’re and investing in your future cake business long-term success.
 

Other Business Mistakes worth noting include:

Worrying about the competition

As a new cake business owner, you need to know your competition, like what they charge and what products they sell. Knowing this is information is vital because it helps you make decisions.
 
However, if you’re spending the time comparing yourself to the competition online, complaining about other bakers doing better than you is a complete waste of your time. Spend that time marketing your business, developing new products, and surveying new and existing customers. Remember this is a business and you are doing this to make money doing what you love.

Setting Prices Without Knowing your total Cost of Goods Sold

Pricing is not discretionary. It is a calculated process. Costs includes all the direct costs necessary for making a sale such as ingredients, but not fixed costs such as internet, telephone, rent etc.
 
Take note that you should also include your time in calculating your costs. Your time is your most valuable asset and you need to charge for it.
Having determined the cost for any cake you sell, its good practice to mark that up at least 3 times or 50% to give a final retail price. Try and resist the temptation to reduce your prices for fear of not being able to make a sale.
 
To know more about pricing with pricing guides.  Register for the Start Your Cake Business in 7 days free Mini Course..
 

Failing to have Business Plan

I know! I know! this can be a hassle, but it is worth doing. When you’ve started your new cake business try to take a break and write a business plan.  Know this can be quite boring especially when you not only have to bake, but market, sell and so on. However, without a plan, you are unlikely to achieve long-term success. A business plan helps you plan your goals and tracks your progress.
 
It provides a continuous frame of reference for your cake business, defining your goals, and making you accountable.
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In conclusion, in the cake business, the easy part is the baking and decorating but the tricky part comes once you are actually in the business. Staying in business, and being successful at it, is most challenging thing you may have to face.
 
If you remember one thing, is that, this is your cake business and is not just about the baking, it’s about the business side of it too.
Happy Caking.
Talk to you next week.
rotimi cartoon
RotimiCakeLady