There are so many things that you should be doing in your baking business, it can feel overwhelming to know where to start! So in this blog, I’ll be giving you some tips about what not to do as a cake business owner – the pitfalls to avoid!
1 – Trying to be the cake maker for everyone: It is so important to find your niche. The niche doesn’t have to be tiny, but figure out what kind of bakes you like to make, and who you are trying to attract. This actually makes everything so much easier, as you get known as the go to expert for that style, and you can streamline your marketing.
2 – Saying yes to all orders: You might have chosen to do this as a business because it means you can work on your own terms. No boss, great, right? So why are you letting your customers dictate what you do and when you work?! Be fussy. OK, you might need the money, but there’s no point burning yourself out working til 1am every night and getting no enjoyment – it’s just not sustainable.
3 – Undercharging: Yeah, a biggie. We have probably all done it, especially at the start. I know I did. And of course you will probably get more orders than if you put your prices up. But who wants to be inundated with orders while earning £3 an hour? If you double your prices and lose half your orders, you’re still earning the same but working half the amount of time!
4 – Baking without payment: whether you are not asking for a deposit, or one that doesn’t even cover your costs, or allowing payment on collection, you’re going to get burned (not literally, I hope, I do that enough anyway!). I know this is contentious, but you are making a bespoke product, with a very limited shelf life. Get payment before you make the order.
5 – Forgetting to put correct Ts&Cs in place: leading on from point 4 – what happens “if”? If they have a complaint? If they don’t turn up on time for collection? If you’re ill? If they want to cancel last minute? How do you deal with this? By referring to your Terms & Conditions document that your customer has agreed to!
6 – Not setting boundaries: Do you really want to be answering messages at 10pm on a Sunday? Maybe this works for you and if so, great. But you set the boundaries – if you don’t want people to expect responses at that time, wait til the morning and reply then. Having an autoreply helps – as they can then know when to expect a reply and not chase up wondering if you’ve received the message. Train your customers and don’t be upset if they behave in a way that you have been allowing!
7 – Working IN your business with no time to work ON your business: You will find it so much harder to grow and succeed (whatever that means – it doesn’t have to be monetary) if you are just working non-stop in the kitchen. Take a breath and look at what you need to be doing to move your business forward and diarise time to implement this.
8 – Not setting goals – or rewarding yourself for achievements!: If you don’t set goals you have nothing to aim towards. They can be flexible – things change, new ideas present themselves – but don’t meander along waiting to see what happens. Set targets – small manageable ones that help you reach the bigger goal, and celebrate when you achieve them! Decide what your reward will be – a day off? Treating a friend to lunch? It’s so important to recognise when you’ve succeeded in something, even when it’s something little, it will keep you motivated to keep on.
9 – Ignoring the ‘boring stuff’ (eg your finances!): – yes, I know, I’d rather be practicing a new flower variety than inputting my income and expenses into a spreadsheet, or sorting out the receipts. But it has to be done. Simple as that. See the point above re rewarding yourself as a motivator!
10 – Treating it like a hobby:– now this is a broad one which is covered by a lot of the points above, but ultimately, it’s about being a professional. It’s a business, remember why you’re doing it and remember it’s ok to want to earn a decent living, even if it is something you enjoy!
Let me know what you think! Are you guilty of any of these, or have I missed anything out?
If you know you need to sort out your Ts&Cs, take a look at my template available to purchase for just £12 here