You’re pretty handy with a cake lifter and a decorating tool, but are you good enough to own your own cake decorating business? Surprisingly, it’s not as hard as it sounds. Yes, you do need skill, but you don’t need to be the Cake Boss to have a successful business. You just need to know how to decorate a cake decently well and know enough about accounting to balance the books.
Determine Your Niche
Who are you marketing to? Who is your ideal customer? It’s tempting to advertise to everyone who fogs a mirror, but this isn’t realistic. You need to have an idea of who you want to sell to. Do you want to make wedding cakes? Birthday cakes? Are you specializing in corporate functions?
Once you’ve figured out who you want to serve, you can start thinking more about how to set up shop and what kinds of supplies you’ll need.
Get All The Licensing You Need
You can’t start a cake decorating business without proper licensing. Get your business license, and any other local permits you’ll need. Odds are that you’ll have to have code inspectors come in and verify that everything is safe before you start taking orders.
You’ll have to contact the board of health for this and for future inspections. Finally, be prepared to pay fees for all of this – it can get expensive.
Get Your Supplies and Equipment
You’re going to need supplies for this business – flour, sugar, decorating equipment, ovens, and various stencils and possibly even an airbrush for intricate designs. A lot of the equipment can be purchased used from existing bakeries looking to downsize or from companies going out of business.
Get yourself hooked up with a wholesaler than can sell you supplies in bulk – it’ll be much easier to turn a profit if you’re dealing with vendors that can cut you a deal as a retail business rather than buying supplies at a local grocery store.
Set Your Menu
Decide what you’ll be selling and the types of cakes you want to make inside your niche. Some cake companies will take custom orders. Others have a defined menu of cakes that they’ll offer. If you are confident in your skills, take on all-comers and ask customers to challenge you with their designs.
If you’re still learning the ropes, set a specific menu and try to sell on volume so that you can gain experience while you learn more about the personalization and customization of cakes.
Create A Business Plan
Every business needs a good business plan. If you can’t balance your company’s books, and make profit projections, you’re not going to be in business for very long. It’s also difficult to get financing from a bank if you don’t have a business plan. Since starting a cake decorating business can become rather expensive really quickly, you probably want a small margin of error. The less money you waste, the better. With a plan, you know what to shoot for so your risk of wasting money is low. It also establishes you as a serious business when and if you ever need money to expand your operation. Make sure you have a professional looking and functional website. Make sure all your products are on display like at the www.lenstore.co.uk site, and that you are easy to find.
John Sheppard has been decorating cakes to the delight of his clients for several years now. When he’s not spreading icing, he is helping others by blogging on the Internet.