cake mistakes

Want A Successful Cake Business? Do Not Make These Mistakes!

During my years as a cake business coach, I observed some common mistakes made by cake business owners. It’s one thing to be a skilled Baker, but it’s something quite different to be the owner of a successful Cake business.

 
Yes, making mistakes is part of life and it’s only by learning from those mistakes that we become better business owners, but knowing the common mistakes to avoid will make you more successful in the long run.
I remember when I first started and i baked a lovely 12 inch cake covered with buttercream roses. it took days to make and because i didn’t know how to price  properly, the customer only paid a very small amount and i was so angry with yourself.
Here are a few of the most common mistakes you should try to avoid as a Cake Business owner:
 

 #1: Not Knowing You Are A Legal Business Owner

Most of us started like this- you make a cake for a few friends and they like it, and tell you to go into business. So you give it a try, make a cake for someone and suddenly you’re in business. 
 
You have conducted your first business transaction. So you are no longer a hobby baker. The thing you have to realize is that the moment you charge for a cake, you’ve moved from hobby to professional. 
 
In most cases, selling your cakes means you’re already a legally registered business. Once you start collecting money for your cakes. The rules become different, and you need to think about things in a different way  – even if your cakes are not perfect or you only charged a few Naira for your cakes.
You have to conduct yourself more professionally, you need to have invoices, a dedicated bank account, email address, invoices and receipts, etc.
 

cake 20

#2: Working For Free

You need to charge adequately for your time and effort. 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.

Stop making cakes for free( I know it is usually family and friends that are guilty of this). You are a skilled professional so you should be paid a such. Not only should your costs be covered but also you should be making profit for every cake you sell.
If someone says you should bake a cake for free on the promise of future orders, Don’t do it. If it is for charity, you can decide to do it (maybe twice a year) but for anyone else, they should pay. Will they go to a doctor and tell them to treat them for free? You are providing a service, so you should be paid for the service you are rendering.
 

#3: Waiting For Customers To Just Appear

Customers do not just fall from the sky. 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.
The only way you can get business is to market, market, market. Get your business cards and flyers out and go and distribute it to where your customers are. Do Facebook Ads, be active on social media, go to events and tell people about your business. 
If you are just home waiting, you will not get customers. You need to go out there and market.
cake 25

#4: Not Keeping Track Of Your Expenses

Now that you are in business, you should know the cost of being in business. Not only the cost of ingredients, but other things like your stationary, fuel and even phone credit. All these things should be accounted for so you can add them to the cost of your cake.
You are not working for free or using your own money to stay in business.
Every expense should be accounted for and you have to keep track of such monies so at the end of the day you will know if you are making a profit or loss. So having a separate business account and bookkeeping books are essential for your business.

#5: Living In A Cake Fantasy

Running a professional cake business, is not so easy. Many feel you will become a millionaire overnight just by baking cakes.
That is far from the truth.
 
The reality is that the cake baking and decorating plays a small part.
Not only will you be baking, but you will be doing marketing, social media, customer service, selling, ordering supplies, negotiating with customers and so on. Those business-related tasks are required in running your business so don’t ignore them. 

#6: Worrying About The Competition

As a cake business owner, you need to know your competition, like what they charge and what type of cakes they sell. Knowing this is information is vital because it helps you make decisions on how you can improve so that you can stand out from the crowd.
 
However, if you’re spending the time comparing yourself to the competition and complaining about other bakers is a complete waste of your time.
Spend that time improving your customer service, marketing your business, developing new products, and getting feedback from  new and existing customers. 

cake 24

#7: Not Knowing How To Set Prices

You should not just pull prices from the air. It is a calculated process.

It’s important to cost properly. The main reasons why costing properly is very important,

  1. is because if you do it well, you will make a profit in your business;
  2. You will be able to know where to reduce your costs and expenses;
  3. You will know how to give discounts and offers without making a loss.

When pricing your cakes, you should note the cost of ingredients, your profit, your labour, utility and sundry costs.

 
To know more about pricing register for the Pricing your cakes right to build a money making cake business.
cake 26

#8: Failing To Have A 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. So it is worth having one.
 
So really the Baking is the easy part and it becomes more difficult when you have to deal with the business part. But when you avoid the mistakes we discussed above, you will be on your way to having a successful business.
 
          ‘Remember you’re A Cake Business Owner, not just a Baker
 
What mistakes have you made while being a business owner and have you learnt what went wrong. Will love to hear about your experiences.

 


cake business pic

 

Start an Online Course           See our Free Resource Library          Read our Blog

                Register for a Mini Course                 Start your Cake Business Today

 


 

me16

About Me:

Hello, my name is Rotimicakelady and I am a cake business coach that teaches cake business owners how to grow and have a profitable cake business so that they have a constant stream of customers buying their delicious treats.

I have been running my own successful home based cake business for some years now. I have also been teaching bakers through my online courses who are struggling with low sales, with strategies on how to market, and price their cakes for profit.

In addition I am also run a Facebook Group where I coach, offer support and help bakers in their businesses.

I have helped over 50 bakers through my online course A comprehensive guide to starting your cake business in 30 days’ with much needed information on how to start a cake business in Nigeria. I also teach close to 4000 cake enthusiasts through my Facebook Group how to run a money making cake business.

I have been featured in ‘Naija Top Baker’ magazine, one of Nigeria’s foremost cake magazines and also been a Guest Speaker at the Bakery World Convention.

If you are struggling with getting customers for their cakes, I can help you solve this problem by showing you how to market, sell, price, plan, structure and brand your business so you are constantly selling to the right people who want your cakes.

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

Top 5 Mistakes New Cake Business Owners Make

post-2

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.
 

post-1

#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.
post-2
 
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

9 Essential tips on How to Transport and Deliver your Cakes

And you thought decorating a cake was hard .Transporting cakes can be a real challenge whether in the commercial industry, or as a one-person job.Once you’ve finished decorating, placed all the fondant flowers that took days to make, it’s time to deliver it to the venue.

This is one aspect I don’t enjoy at all. My heart used to be in my mouth while driving delivering cakes especially if you also had to do school runs too. I have never had any major disaster but I know transporting cakes can be quite a hassle for bakers.

Usually, as a cake baker and decorators, you should have a clause in your terms and conditions ( I have included a sample of a standard terms and conditions for your use) that once the cake has exchanged hands to the customer, the customer is then held responsible for what happens to the cake from there on out. Such information will educate the customer, especially if the cake needs to travel a long distance, or has to be kept cool.

However, here I have listed a few tips you should bear in mind when transporting your cakes so that you avoid any cake disaster:

 Tip #1: Have someone hold the Cake

If you have an extra hand, try and get the help of someone else in the car to hold / support your cake box to ensure the cake does not slide off the seat or on the floor.

112

 

 

Tip #2: Avoid exposing the cake to direct sunlight

Cakes should never be in direct sunlight, be sure to position the cake somewhere that won’t have sunlight directly over the cake which will cause it to melt.

 

113Tip #3: keep Cake on a flat surface

If no one is available to hold the cake for you, it’s best to transport the cake in the flattest area possible of your car. For example, the passenger side floor in front of the seat. This way you can keep an eye on your cake if it’s an open box also.

TIP #4; Drive super careful

I think this is a no brainer. You have spent a lot of time on this cake, so even if drivers are abusing you for being too slow on the road. Ignore them.

TIP #5: Look Well Well

Before you remove the cake from the car, walk the path you will have to travel to the set-up site. Be alert for any bumps along the way and note any tight spaces you will have to maneuver around, always look around on what the ground is like while walking with your cake. You don’t want to trip do you?

TIP #6: The Car should have an AC

It’s always preferable to have an air conditioned car and turn it to full blast. Our climate is always hot or humid, so it always best to transport your precious cake in an air conditioned car. 

114TIP #7: Use Non-slip mats

Use Non-slip mats for the trunk or floor of your car or under each tier in the box. Most cakes are placed on a slippery cardboard base. However, when transporting a cake to the venue, this surface makes it more likely to slide around in the car.

The best way to transport the wedding cake is to place a non-slip mat under each tier, preventing the cake from moving around during transport. You can purchase one of those sticky shelf liners at most big box stores with a kitchen section. 

115TIP #8: Place cake in sturdy cardboard boxes

Place the cakes in clean, covered, sturdy boxes that are sized to the base board of each cake. This will prevent the cake from moving within the box and possibly crushing the sides of the cake.

If the box is too big, roll pieces of masking tape sticky side out and attach to the inside bottom of the box. Position the cake base on top of the tape. The tape will hold the base in place within the box. For boxes which must hold taller decorations, prop up top and sides and secure with masking tape.

 116

TIP #9: Using a center dowel

Where you have separate multiple layer cakes, it is helpful to place a center dowel through the center of a multitier cake. A common practice in creating tiered cakes is the placement of a dowel in the center of a cake, to provide stability for the cake, as well as avoiding sliding during transport. You can get dowels at most cake shops.

 

Looking at the above, you might be getting a little overwhelmed with how much information I threw at you for transporting a cake short distance. Don’t be… it’s mostly common sense. And having common sense can save your cake’s life.

How do you package and transport such  delicate cakes without bruising it? Check out this informative video to show you how.

Like This? For more cake business tips, subscribe to our newsletter here.

Happy Caking.

Till next week.

rotimi cartoonRotimiCakeLady

Baking Bad: Common Cake Faults and their Cause

Being a cakepreneur, where baking cakes is our livelihood, it can be costly, time wasting and most of all frustrating where your cake does not turn out the way it is supposed to, especially where you are pressed for time.

Imagine trying to bake a last minute order and your cake refuses to come out of the tin, or there is a big hole in the middle. You almost feel like crying.

I remember I had an order for a 2 tier cake- Vanilla and Red Velvet. I was running late and even after baking, I had to wait for the cakes to cool, then carve, then crumb coat, cool in fridge, cover in fondant and then decorate. Talk about leaving it to the last minute to get all these done.

I guess I was too much in a hurry because when I got out my Red velvet cakes out of the oven, both had sunken so bad, that it was unusable. I had to start all over again. Let’s say I didn’t go to bed that night.

Anyway, I learnt from my mistake. So it is important to be able to identify what went wrong in order that you do not make the same mistake again.

I have identified some of your most common pitfalls when it comes to cake making, so you should get the perfect rise every time. Enjoy.

bbb

Problem: My cake has sunk in the middle

Causes: There are a number of reasons why this might have happened. Too much of a certain ingredient can cause the cake to rise quickly but then collapse. The most common causes are as follows:

  • The oven door was opened before the cake had time to set;
  • the cake didn’t go in the oven as soon as the mixture was ready;
  • Too much raising agent was used.

ccc

Problem: My cake is burnt on top but still isn’t cooked in the centre

Cause: The cake tin was too small or the oven is too high when you placed the cake mixture in the oven.

ddd

apple cake

Problem: Cake falls during Baking

Cause: Excessive jarring or moving of the cake during baking.

  • Oven temperature too low.
  • Excessive mixing

eee

Problem: The sides of my cake are crunchy or burnt.

Cause: There are quite a few reasons you could end up with this result. It could be that:

  • too much fat has been used to grease the tin;
  • the cake tin wasn’t lined sufficiently;
  • the oven was too hot;
  • the cake was left in the oven for too long or
  • a fat that is not suitable for baking has been used

fff

Problem: Fruit sinking in the cake

Cause: This is a very common problem. The most common causes are:

  • Pieces of fruit were too large and too heavy.
  • Sugary syrup on the outside of the fruit was not washed off- causing the pieces of fruit to slide through the mixture as it heated.
  • Washed and dried fruit was not dusted with flour before being added to the mixture.
  • Cake mixture was over beaten or was too wet so it could not hold the fruit in place.
  • Oven temperature was too low, causing the mixture to melt before it set to hold the fruit in place.

 ggg

Problem: Top of cake peaks and cracks

Cause: Oven temperature was too hot (the outside of the cake baked to form a crust too quickly. As mixture in center of the cake continued to cook and rise, it burst up through the top of the cake.)

  • Cake wasn’t baked on the center rack of the oven.

 

hhh

Problem: I can’t get my cake out of the tin.

Cause: You need to ensure your tin has been well lined. Baking parchment is ideal for this.

iii

 

Problem: My cake is very dense.

Cause: This could be because the cake mixture didn’t have enough air beaten into it or perhaps eggs were added too quickly and curdled. Another reason could be that there wasn’t enough raising agent.

jjj

Problem: My cake is flat and has large air bubbles on the top.

Cause: This could either be because the cake didn’t go into the oven as soon as the mixture was finished or because the oven wasn’t hot enough when the cake went in.

 kkk

Problem: Cake rose unevenly

Cause: Flour was not blended sufficiently into the main mixture.

  • Temperature inside the oven was uneven.
  • Oven temperature too high.

lll

Problem: Cake staling quickly

Cause: This has a number of causes

  • Oven too cold so the cakes are in the oven too long, and the crumb dries out
  • Too much baking powder
  • Not enough liquid in the batter to keep the cake moist

Please leave a comment below if you found this article useful or have any questions. I am here to help.

Happy Caking!

Till next week.

RotimiCakeLady