Getting Publicity for Your Cake Business

A huge amount of any small business’s efforts must be public relations — getting your name into the public’s awareness through media exposure. Why?  Because exposure leads to awareness, interest and sales which ultimately leads to more money and success for your cake business. Many people are convinced that if they make the most delicious and beautiful cakes that customers will simply discover them through word-of-mouth. While word-of-mouth publicity is very important to your business, the truth is that the most successful people are not necessarily the most talented. They are the best marketers. They are unrelenting in their efforts to tell everyone about their business through every means possible.

Today I want to share a tip with you that you’ve probably seen other businesses execute, but were hesitant or unsure of how to do yourself.

Get Free Press in Your Local Media.

Free press is powerful because when someone reads a genuine article about your cake business in a local blog or community newspaper such as patch.com, the reader is actually interested in what you do, rather than being sold something.  This is great for you for a couple of reasons:

First, it gives you exposure. Local news and community websites are a huge opportunity for spreading the word about your business.

Secondly, press leads to credibility. Particularly if the article is accompanied by photographs of you and your cakes, it enables the reader to see you are a legitimate business and an expert.  In the reader’s mind, if your business is important enough to be the subject of an article or feature, there must be a compelling reason.

Your goal is to be the first item on the list when someone is looking for cakes in your area. By publishing press releases regularly on an event, holiday, or happening in your business, you are more likely to be featured in the local press. Most online press release submission sites also allow photos, which gives you the opportunity to show off your products. Press releases can be submitted to your local newspaper, announcing the opening of your business, specials you are offering, or events in which your business is involved. You can include coupons or special offers in your  press releases as well. If you wish to be featured in a website or blog, send a press release via email to the editor or journalist and provide a link back to a page on your website or blog with images and details. Continue reading Getting Publicity for Your Cake Business

How to Start a Cake Business in PA

Hey Commonwealthers of Pennsylvania! You are one of the lucky ones who can legally set up a home-based bakery under the Food Safety Act passed in 2010.

The rules are as follows:
1. No animals/pets are permitted in the home at any time.
2. Children are not permitted in the kitchen area during food processing for the business.
3. The water supply serving the home must be from an approved supply. Private sources must be tested annually for coliform bacteria and Nitrate/Nitrite by the home owner.
4. Department approval may not be in conflict with any local zoning or ordinances. A written statement from the local municipality must be obtained stating such.
5. Registration and fee ($35.00) by the Department of Agriculture are required, no exemptions.
6. All ingredients must be separate from those for personal use (separate shelves,
separate cupboards, etc…) and must be properly labeled, stored and protected.
7. There must be restricted use of the home kitchen during any commercial processing.
8. Any required laboratory testing of food products is arranged for and paid for by the producer.
9. Products must be properly labeled as follows (with some labeling exemptions for baked goods): Continue reading How to Start a Cake Business in PA

Using your 401(k) to fund your cake business

Using your 401(k) (or other retirement account)

In many cases, 401(k) savings can be used for small business start-up costs without being penalized for early withdraw or higher tax rates. Using your retirement to finance your business is a risk only you and your financial advisor can make, understanding that many businesses fail within the first year. However, many businesses fail because of a lack of capital; so, if you have a good business plan and just need the money to make it happen, it might be a worthwhile risk.

Since other lending options can come with as much risk as using 401(k) savings, it’s often a very attractive choice. Not only do you avoid having to qualify for commercial lending or commit your personal assets to guarantee the loan, but you also avoid having to give up control to an investor.

There are two different ways you can use your 401(k) savings to start your business. In one method, the process is similar to taking a loan against your 401(k), but the maximum cash you can take is $50,000 or 50% of the balance of your 401(k), and if you default on the loan repayment, you’ll be nailed with the extra taxes (unless you are over the age of 59½).

The other method may require the assistance of a CPA or tax attorney who is familiar with the ROBS loan (Rollovers as Business Start-Ups). In this method, a firm will help you create a 401(k) plan for your new business using the funds from your old 401(k). The 401(k) then purchases stock in the company, furnishing you with the start-up capital you need.

Start a Cake Business

We’ve more than doubled the content of our best selling book, Start A Cake Business Today. The newly revised and upgraded version of Start a Cake Business shares our extensive knowledge of running a small bakery business so that aspiring entrepreneurs can affordably learn the fundamentals of starting a cake business and have the necessary tools to be successful. Whether you’ve been creating cakes as a hobby or ready to take your home-based cake business to the next level, this comprehensive book covers every aspect of creating a successful cake business at home, in a shared kitchen or in a commercial cake shop. We cover everything, from writing a business plan and preparing for your first kitchen inspection to creative marketing ideas and attracting new clients. Written clearly and with specific, step-by-step advice, this book aims to pave the way for new cake business owners by informing bakers of all skill levels about:

  • Planning and preparation while in the start-up phase
  • Paperwork and organizational documents needed
  • Creating a business identity including your business name, logo and website
  • Legal issues including Business Permits and Licensing
  • Utilizing and benefit from the latest marketing strategies
  • How to create repeat customers—and stable income—by continually bringing clients back for all the cake occasions of their lives
  • Expenses and funding sources
  • Insurance, taxes, and accounting
  • How to start with a minimal investment
  • How to calculate your total product costs and price your cakes for maximum profit
  • Creating a professional publicity kit
  • Wedding-specific cake business strategies
  • Innovative places to sell your cake
  • Our 126-step start up plan
  • Tools and supplies you’ll need and much more

In addition to the contents of the book, buyers will also have access to the members area of our website to guides, spreadsheets and forms including:

  • Recipes
  • Contracts and Order Forms
  • Farmer’s Market Guide
  • Safety and Accident Prevention Guide
  • Cake Business Pre-opening and Daily Checklists
  • Cash Flow and Cost of Goods Sold Spreadsheet
  • Budget, Start-up, Financial projections, Profit and Loss, and others

Education is a life-long endeavor. The knowledge and skills for starting and growing a business are becoming more accesible, more clearly explained, and fine-tuned. The expansion of cottage food laws is creating opportunities that were once only available to a select few. This book is an extension of our commitment to helping educate anyone who wants take their economic future into their own hands by starting a cake business. This is the first time Start a Cake Business has been offered on Kindle. If you’ve ever considered purchasing one of our books, this is a great opportunity and a great price at $9.99.

 

Contact me if you have any questions.

Paula

Cake-Pops and Other Trends

What’s happening? That’s the question you should periodically stop and ask yourself as a cake business owner. While you may have a great product, you should keep your eye on the trends that might impact your business. While you shouldn’t always be looking outward or second guessing your product-line, you don’t want to miss out on a profitable phenomenon that your clients want. Here are some suggestions on how to find out about new opportunities and the most effective way to use that information.

Network with other shop owners. Whether you do this in person as business colleagues (perhaps, a monthly group meeting) or online in industry chat rooms and forums (this may be the easiest for your time-crunched schedule, as well as the safest since you aren’t chatting with direct competition), having discussions with like-minded individuals will keep you abreast of what’s happening in other communities. I recently got back into the MeetUp community for small business in my area. It’s a great way to network and keep up with local business concerns. There are meetups for marketing, WordPress and web design, baking, entrepreneurship, business plan writing and more.

Continue reading Cake-Pops and Other Trends

Top Mistakes by Cake Business Owners

It’s one thing to be a talented cake decorator, but something quite different to be the owner of a successful cake business. In fact, we’ve seen many technically talented bakers suffer through difficult times, while observing others with less experience and skill achieve great success in business.

I would chalk up the difference in these two different results to the person’s understanding of business knowledge.

You’re A Cake Business Owner… Not A Cake Decorator.

Most people who start bakeries aren’t business people; they’re what E-Myth author Michael E. Gerber calls “technicians.” As a result, it’s not the most talented cake decorator who thrives, but the best marketer and business-minded baker. Here are a few of the most common mistakes in staring a cake business that you should strive to avoid.

#1: Undercharging For Your Time And Talent
This is a typical mistake that almost all new cake decorators make, usually because they start out as an amateur who realizes they can earn money doing what they already love to do. They spend years making cakes for free or at cost, so switching over to charging a profitable price is difficult.

The thing you have to realize is that the moment you charge for a cake, you’ve moved from amateur to professional. That 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 legal and licensed. Your pricing structure must reflect that overhead. All that is needed is a simple change in perspective: from amateur to serious business owner.

If you are really in business and not just “making some extra money on the side”, you must take seriously the cost of keeping the business open and appreciate the great responsibility just to turn on the oven. With this change in perspective and a realistic valuation of your time, you can calculate healthy prices that correctly value your work and time.

#2: Setting Prices Without Knowing The Total Cost of Goods Sold (COGS)

Continue reading Top Mistakes by Cake Business Owners

Naming your Cake Business

Creating the perfect name for your cake business

Starting a cake business involves many steps that are both creative and strategic. If you are considering how to move beyond baking cakes for friends and family, you’ve probably thought about the identity of your business — your business name and logo. One of the first steps to establish your new identity both legally and from a marketing perspective is deciding on a business name. While initially playing around with names is romantic — daydreaming your name in neon (or something more elegant), at a certain point, you need to decide on a business name in order to create business cards, a Facebook page, buy a URL, etc. This decision can be one of the most important for your cake business. Continue reading Naming your Cake Business

Regulatory Requirements of A Home Based Cake Bakery

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In the last few years, we’ve witnessed huge changes in the awareness of home food production rules and regulations. People are getting smart about getting legal and taking the necessary steps to operate and grow their cake business in the open and in full compliance of the laws!

If you’re new to the dream of having a cake business at home, here are a few simple starting points:

Every community has regulatory requirements. Some are more restrictive than others when it comes to operating a cake business from home. While each state has websites to help you fill out permits, licenses and regulations these can be difficult to weed through. Information about your legal responsibility can be very confusing and you may receive conflicting information. Persistence is important when searching for the answers about home-based food production. Ultimately, you want to hear the requirements directly from your health inspector, as they typically have the final say in what you can and can not do. That said, citizens are working hard to pass and expand cottage food laws. Check out http://cottagefoods.org/laws/ a site dedicated to the latest changes to the home food business laws. Continue reading Regulatory Requirements of A Home Based Cake Bakery

Questions for starting a cake business

There are a number of things that can contribute to success of a new cake business. One of them is to learn as much about the business as you can before you invest a single penny. As a starting point,  I always suggest the new entrepreneur do a self-evaluation. Some of the most basic skills in business cannot be transferred. They need to be innate or part of who you are.

While your commitment to starting a cake business may be strong, it is critical to take the time to answer honestly  some tough questions about running a business in general. Don’t just avoid these questions or provide quick incomplete answers. Your thoughtfulness in  addressing these questions can be very useful in realistically assessing your readiness to start a business. Continue reading Questions for starting a cake business