Do you want to turn your baking hobby into a business? Read our guide.
Cake is big business in the UK. Gone are the days when it was reserved for annual celebrations like birthdays and Christmas. Now, there are few events that don’t call for something in the way of cake. Just got a new job? There’s a cake for that. Bought a new car – why not celebrate with cake? Start of the week? You need cake.
With all this demand for tiers, icing and an almighty sugar fix, more and more cake makers are setting up shop in the UK, with bespoke bakeries popping up all over the place. And they’re proving to be successful – after all, who can really resist the lure of a shop window adorned with cakes in every colour of the rainbow?
If you think you could give the likes of Mary Berry a run for their money, starting your own cake making business could be a very rewarding career move. Here’s how to set off on the right foot and head towards success – and don’t forget to mark the occasion with cake.
Find a niche
Cake making in business terms isn’t the laid back pastime that it is at home; it’s dog eat dog (and a whole lot of cake). Like any food-based business, baking is competitive, so you need to stand out from the crowd if you really want to make an impact. Innovative cakes that offer something different or unique are a good way forward, and in the world of cake anything goes.
But even if you’ve found a gap in the market, you still need to make sure that your cake delivers on flavour as well as aesthetics. You might be a skilled baker already, but there’s always room for improvement, so think about investing in some extra training to really take things to the next level.
Don’t forget the most important ingredient: your business plan
You’ve got the sugar, flour, eggs and butter weighed out and ready to go – but have you got a proper business plan? Cake making can be a labour intensive business venture with large overheads, so you’ll need to think about what equipment you’ll need and how much your ingredients and set-up will cost, as well as extras like delivery and storage.
You’ll also need to think about how and when you take bookings. It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of everything if you have a sudden influx of orders, but it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to manage a large number all at once. Know how much you can handle in one go and don’t overstretch yourself, otherwise the quality of your product will suffer and you run the risk of unhappy customers.
Follow the rules and regulations
Any business dealing with food has to follow the correct safety and preparation regulations. You need to think about things like proper storage and labelling, temperatures, transportation, cleaning and ‘use by’ dates – if you don’t, your business could face closure. You’ll also have to register your premises with your local authority, think about health and safety, and draw up a formal policy for any members of staff that you take on to adhere to.
Setting up a bakery has the traction to be lucrative in itself, but you can reach an even wider customer base by selling your cakes online too. This also gives you the option of starting your cake making business at home, taking your products to customers rather than customers coming to you. You’ll still have to follow food safety regulations, but it’ll remove the expense of finding and renting premises.
If you’re going to sell online, make sure that the quality of your website really promotes your cakes and skills. Pictures of your baking handiwork will really help peddle your products, but make them as professional as possible. Consumers are less likely to buy from you if your website is rough around the edges. Besides, no one likes blurry cake.
How XLN can help
From taking bookings over the phone to showing off your latest bakes to prospective customers online, a business phone and broadband package from XLN is a cost-effective way to boost your business. Find out more about our packages and see how we can add value to your business.