cake business secrets

Should I quit my 9-5 job to start a cake business?

 

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This is a question I get asked a lot. Many Cakers are still in full time jobs and have the aspiration of starting a cake business either on the side or as a full time business.

A lot of people have romantic notions about starting a cake business. A business where you make money from your passion, where you work from home and be able to spend time with your kids and no longer have to be contend with traffic to and fro from work. This is every Caker’s dream

While cake makers may find themselves attending lots of social events, hours spent rolling fondant and making buttercream flowers, it is by no means an easy business venture, particularly in today’s highly competitive cake market.

Before you can carve yourself a slice or rather a niche, you need to ensure you’re adequately equipped to handle anything that you may get served.

For all you, would be cakepreneurs here are basically 5 things to keep in mind if you’re thinking of starting a cake business.

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Who is the cake business best suited for?

Cake making and decorating might sound easy enough but, like any business, it demands hard work and exceptional administrative skills.

The cake business is best suited for those who have a passion for baking and who love cakes. You don’t have to be exceptionally good at cake decorating, but as long as you have the basic foundation in baking and decorating, you will go a long way.

It may sound funny, but you also need to enjoy eating cake because you will spend a fair amount of time testing cake combinations and the finished products to ensure they are up to standard.

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Rules and regulations

Even if you’re planning to run your business from home, food hygiene and preparation rules apply to any premises in which food is prepared.

If you’re planning on using your kitchen or another site which isn’t purpose-built, make sure you keep all pets and soft furnishings out of the room.

 Cake making requires eggs, and eggs can spread harmful bacteria so you have to be aware of cross-contamination, particularly if you’re running the business from home.

Most cases of food poisoning occur when harmful bacteria is spread from food to food, so take extra care when handling raw meat, poultry and eggs – particularly if you are running your business from home. Also, be aware that equipment, pests, cloths, packaging and cleaning products can spread bacteria, so make sure you know what is coming into contact with your cake batter.

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Research and competition

There are plenty of cake making/decorating courses in Nigeria, and it is definitely advisable to complete one if you don’t have any cake-related qualifications or experience.

Once you have a course under your belt, you need to decide whether you want to start-up at home or in a shop, or whether you intend to sell your products online.

Because cakes are often judged on their visual value, your shop front and/or website should reflect this. People purchasing cakes are typically doing so for a party or wedding, so you want their experience to be as pleasant as possible.

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Costs and earnings

Your start-up costs will depend very much on how big an operation you wish to run. As with all businesses, the fewer overheads you have, the lower your expenditure.

The first cost you will be faced with, if you decide to run your business from a shop, is the cost of rent. Your next decision will be whether to employ staff to help out or not. Although casual administrative staff can be hired for relatively little, specialist cake decorators come at a significantly higher cost.

When you start up, you will regularly need to invest in your equipment. This is not a one-off purchase. You need to purchase equipment on a regular basis to ensure your work is of the highest standard as old equipment could compromise the finished product.

With regard to earnings, a cake maker and/or decorator can expect to take home between N50,000 and N200,000 per month.

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An average day for a Baker

There are many Cakers who have opened a cake shop even though they do not have a culinary background.

For me as a mum, there are days when I get to spend 10 quality hours a day with my children, and days when I don’t see them at all because I’m up all day and night fulfilling a cake order.

An average day for me involves sorting out cake orders, shopping for ingredients, preparing fondant decorations and taking an inventory of my supplies. Other days I will be knee deep in baking, decorating and preparing for deliveries.

One thing you have to be aware is that you have to be prepared to work antisocial hours.

Useful contacts

  • Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria
            info@lagosmasterbakers.org; lagosmasterbakers@yahoo.com
           www.lagosmasterbakers.org
  • Association of Catering & Laundering Equipment Distribution of Nigeria, (ACLEDON)
           ftansecretariat@yahoo.com, info@ftan.org.ng
  • Association of Fast Food Confectioners of Nigeria, (AFFCON)
            web@affcon.org; web@affcon.org
 

Ready to get started? Find out everything you need to know about how to start your own business here.

Found this article useful? Please leave a comment below or contact me if you have any questions.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter here for more cake business tips or read our previous blogposts.

 

It’s time to live your cake business dream

Till next week.

Happy Caking!
RotimiCakeLady

7 Steps to setting up a Marketing Plan for your Cake Business

 Hello RotimiCakeLady here, founder of Baking Business School and the Mini Course: How to start a cake business in 7 days. I help struggling home base cake business with strategies to make more sales, get more customers and start making more money.

I also help those who have a passion for baking transition from being hobby cake makers to becoming cakepreneurs.

This week I will be providing you with 7 important steps to follow in setting up a marketing plan for your cake business.

When i first started my cake business journey, I had no plan, no idea on how to tell people about my wonderful cakes. I kept posting on every social media platform hoping that will get me customers, and was so disappointed when no customers came. It was not until I created a plan on how to market to my target customers, that i started seeing results.

Taste alone is not enough to market your cake business to potential customers, so it’s important to develop a marketing plan to promote your cake business.

There are many ways of getting more cake orders and sharing with the world your cake business, but before you start you need to come up with a marketing plan. Here are a few pointers to help you know what marketing strategies to adopt for your cake business.

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Step 1

Create an avatar of your ideal customer. This means that you should have a clear idea of the profile of your target market. You may think that your customer is everyone, but it isn’t. Yes, it is mostly women that order cakes, but not all women are your customers. You will go a long way if you know who your customer is in order to create your marketing and advertising strategies.

In order to create your customer’s avatar, think of whom you want to be your customer. You need to build an outline identifying the age, location, income level, occupation, schooling level, lifestyle, hobbies, interests, fears, worries and stresses of the customers you plan to market your cakes to. This profile will help you develop marketing strategies and tactics to attract your core customers.

Once you have completed this exercise, you will have heaps of information on your target market, where to find her, how to help her and connect with her. For example, you may plan to focus on creating character cakes for kids, so your customers will be mothers of children between the ages of 1 to 8.

Step 2

Another thing to consider when developing a marketing plan is the location you plan to market your cakes to and what type of competition is around there. If there are several cake shops in the area where you are located, you will have to get more aggressive in your marketing to be ahead of the competition. One way is to either create a niche or find something unique in your products to sway customers to you.

Compare the types of cakes and the services you offer with that of your competitors. This way you will know if you should offer something extra, such as next day delivery or cake decorating classes.

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Step 3

Perform a S(strength) W(weakness) O(opportunities) T(threats) analysis for your cake business.

For example, a strength of yours may be that you have excellent skills in creating character cakes while a weakness may be that you are a one man business so cannot take up a lot of orders. Likewise, an opportunity may be the fact that you’re the only homemade cake baker within your area while a threat might be that a local supermarket also sells cakes.

Step 4

Now develop a list of marketing objectives and goals for your cake business.  It has been proven time and time again that those that write their goals usually succeed than those that don’t.

Your goals and objectives may include: setting up a Facebook Business Page, advertising in school newsletters, to set up a blog, inform your neighbourhood about your cake business, participate in church programs and get media coverage in local magazines or cake blogs.

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Step 5

Try and set aside a marketing budget for your cake business each month. It is suggested that you dedicate about 10% of your sales to marketing purposes. If you have just started your cake business, it is important you spend a little more on your marketing to increase your business’s visibility.

Step 6

Develop a list of strategies that will help you achieve your cake business goals and objectives, and that are within your budget.

For example, you might decide to participate in some marketing tactics such as donating a cake or cupcakes to your church each month, advertising in your local school newsletter, offer cake decorating classes, contacting your local supermarkets to sell your cakes at wholesale price, setting up social media pages to display pictures of your cakes or offering discounts.

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Step 7

Track your results to determine which marketing strategy is best for you to achieve your cake business goals and objectives. Measuring your results will ensure you know what marketing strategy you employ works or not. For example, you might find out that you get more likes on Facebook than on instagram, which shows most of your potential customers are on Facebook.

As a special bonus for you, i have included a Sample Marketing Plan which you can incorporate for your cake business. Click here to access it.

Found this article useful? Please leave a comment below or contact me if you have any questions.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter here for more cake business tips or read our previous blogposts.

It’s time to live your cake business dream

Till next week.

Happy Caking!
RotimiCakeLady

How Many Days Before a Cake Order Can I Start Baking

Time Management is very important for your cake business.  Having your own business does not mean you should work for 24 hours straight, having sleepless nights or try and manage a cake disaster.

 So the secret to dealing with all this is the No.1 secret for all cake decorators and it is so simple. This is known as the  4 Day Cake Rule

 What is the 4 Day Cake Rule?

 When you have a large cake order such as, tiered cakes, wedding cakes or a big birthday or novelty cake or fondant decorated cakes, then the 4 Day Cake Rule Applies. 

 You should try not to bake big cake order the day before. Infact it is a recipe for disaster. First you will have to measure the ingredients, make the mixture, bake in the oven, leave to cook, make the buttercream, crumb coat, cook off in the fridge, cover with fondant, make decorations and then decorate the cake. I will like to see you try all this in just 24 hours.

 It’s not possible, plus you need time to fix any errors that may come about.

Some may say that the cake will not be fresh, but most cakes are still fresh and taste more amazing 3-5 days after baking. A good chocolate cake recipe can last up to 10 days and will still taste scrumptious. 

 

The main reason for 4 Day Cake rule, is that you are not doing any decorating on the delivery day and you are able to fix any cake decorating disasters that may crop up. This will enable you to take care of the ‘what if’s’ or ‘just in case’ like for example if the cake burns you can do it again.

 By breaking all the steps down in the 4 days, you wont feel all flustered about all the cake orders you will be getting.

 So here is a timetable to follow where you have a big cake order 

                   The 4 Day Cake Rule

Day 1                                                                            

  • Bake Cakes

  • Cover cake board in fondant

  • Moisten the cakes with sugar syrup

  • Start on your fondant decorations such as flowers or figurines, etc

Day 2  

  • Start to layer the cakes

  • Cover each cake in fondant and  leave to ‘set’ overnight.

  • Finish up fondant decorations

Day 3

  • Stack the cakes.

  • Decorate the cakes

  • Take Photos

Day 4

  • Cake is ready for pickup or delivery.

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 Cake Regards,