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

Bakery websites, hosting and domains

Buying a Website Simplified

I see many people asking the same questions about setting up a cake business or bakery website. They vaguely understand what is involved in getting a website operational, but because of their inexperience they postpone the purchase or worse, are taken advantage of as they shop around.

Here are the basics if you still need a website for your bakery or cake business. This guide is intended to explain the basics and offer some suggestions on providers I have used and recommend.

What you need:

1. Hosting

Your website is a collection of web pages (text files and pictures) stored in a super computer with a high speed internet connection. It is the web hosting company who is responsible to host your website. You will purchase a hosting package from the company and can pay them monthly or annually.  When shopping keep in mind their lowest prices are for those customers who pay for a year or more in advance.

HostGator.com
Hostgator.com has plans starting at $4.95 a month, but that price requires you to pay for three years in advance

Webhosting will cost anywhere from $4 dollars a month upto $20-30 dollars a month. Unless you are getting hundreds of thousands of visitors a month visiting your website, I would advise a package under $10/month. HostGator is used by many bakery websites. Hostgator is a reliable, honest company offering plans from $4.95 a month if you pay in advance or a $8.95, billed monthly. SuperGreen hosting also offers a $7.95/month plan billed monthly. I like this company because they are, as their name suggests, a green company enabling you to Neutralize your website’s carbon footprint. Finally, Yahoo! is used by many cake businesses. Yahoo! Web Hosting currently has a deal where you can save 25% on your first 3-months of hosting service. They also give you a free domain name. Of course, Yahoo! is a name you can trust and they provide 24/7 support.

2. Domain Name

This is your URL or website address. Your domain name is an annual expense, and needs to be renewed each year for as long as you want the URL. Most registrars offer automatic renewal so you don’t have to worry about losing it.  You can register a domain name separately from your hosting package and it is not required that you use the hosting services of the company where your name is registered. For example, you can register a name at GoDaddy.com then host the website at HostGator. On the other hand, many companies will give you a great deal on the domain name (sometimes free) in order to get you as a hosting client. For example Yahoo! web hosting offers a free Domain when you purchase their services.

The main takeaway here is that if you own the domain, you can host it anywhere. If you want to hold it for several years without building a website, I recommend GoDaddy. Once you’re ready to build your site you can either purchase a hosting plan or tell the domain registrar (e.g. GoDaddy.com) where the website is hosted. GoDaddy is the industry leader in Domain Registration  and they offer compelling deals on webhosting services.

3. Website

Finally, you need a website. Your website is a series of files that live on your hosting provider’s computer (called a server). Many cake business owners prefer to use a template or site building tool provided by their hosting company. This is a great way to get a site up quickly and with little technical expertise. These are typically Drag-and-Drop tools enabling you to pick a pre-existing theme, then customize it with your own content. A good hosting company will provide tutorials or instructional videos on how to design and build your site. Again, I know many cake businesses who use Yahoo! Web Hosting and are very happy with the quality of their templates. Alternatively, if you wish to do something more custom, you can hire a designer or use many of the free tools available online.

If I can answer any questions about websites, hosting, domains, etc. please leave a question in the comments section below.

Register your Cake Domain for $1

If you’ve been thinking about registering a domain name for your future cake business but haven’t wanted to pay the fees,here’s a great offer for you. GoDaddy iss offering a coupon for one year domain registration for 99 cents. Enter BOWL2010 in coupon field to show the discounted price. Additional 18 Cent ICANN fee applies.

World’s Largest Registrar – GoDaddy.com

Visit GoDaddy.comDomain Registration at GoDaddy.comHosting Plans at GoDaddy.comWeb Sites at GoDaddy.comSecurity at GoDaddy.com
What is a domain name?
A domain name is a Web address, such as godaddy.com, that is linked to an IP address (which represents a physical point on the Internet). When someone types a domain name into a Web browser, the requested Web page displays.

A domain name consists of a top-level and a second-level domain. A top-level domain (TLD) is the part of the domain name located to the right of the dot (godaddy.com). The most common top-level domains are .COM, .NET, and .ORG. Some other popular top-level domains are .BIZ, .INFO, .NAME and .WS. These TLDs have certain guidelines but are, for the most part, available to any registrant, anywhere in the world.

The part of the domain name located to the left of the dot — “godaddy,” in this case — is called the second-level domain (SLD) name. The second-level domain name is the “readable” part of the address and refers to the organization or entity behind the Internet address. Second-level domain names must be registered with an Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)-accredited registrar.

Copyright © 1999 – 2007 GoDaddy.com, Inc. All rights reserved.

How Do I Get More Visitors to my Cake Business Website?

From MarketingLoudly:

Getting your small business listed on the local search engines sites is critical to getting not only more traffic to your website, but more calls on the phone and more new customers in the door.

Local search listings include not only your basic contact information, but they also include a map of your business location. Think of local search listings as the Yellow Pages ads of the 21st century – with one clear advantage – the listings are free!

If you don’t have your small business listed in the following local search engines, you are missing out on targeted FREE traffic in your area. What are you waiting for?? Read on to get your small business listed on the top local search engines..

CitySearch.com /AOL Local / InfoUSA

(Both Citysearch.com and AOL Local use listing information from InfoUSA.com.)
Step 1 – Go to InfoUSA.
Step 2 – Click ‘Add Business Record’.
Step 3 – Click ‘Submit’.

Google Local

Step 1 – Go to Google Local to create a Google Account. You will need this to create your Google Maps listing. If you already have a Google Account, you can login here as well.
Step 2 – Enter your information, and Google will send you a confirmation email.
Step 3 – Click the confirmation link in the email to login to the Google Local Business Center.
Step 4 – Click ‘Add New Business’.
Step 5 – Follow the steps and fill in your practice address, phone number, website, etc. You will also be given a chance to choose a category for your business, as well as enter your store hours, payment methods accepted, brands you endorse, parking information and a wealth of other information about your practice.
Step 6 – Once you have all of your information proofed and spell checked, click ‘Submit’.
Step 7 – Google will then either need you to confirm your submission by calling a 1-800 number (faster) OR having a postcard sent to your physical address (slower). Your listing will not go live until you confirm it by one of these methods.
Step 8 – Once you have confirmed your submission, it will take 4-6 weeks to show up in the Google Maps listings, so be patient.

Yahoo Local

Step 1 – Go to Yahoo Local to create a Yahoo Account. You will need this to create your Yahoo Local listing. If you already have a Yahoo Account, you can login here as well.
Step 2 – Enter your information, and Yahoo will send you a confirmation email.
Step 3 – Click the confirmation link in the email to login to the Yahoo Local Listings Center.
Step 4 – Follow the steps and fill in your practice address, phone number, website, etc. You will also be given a chance to choose a category for your business, as well as enter your store hours, payment methods accepted, brands you endorse, parking information and a wealth of other information about your practice.
Step 6 – Once you have all of your information proofed and spell checked, click ‘Submit’.
Step 7 – Yahoo Local Listings show up in search results very quickly – typically within 5-10 business days.

Cityguides (MSN) / YellowPages.com

(MSN’s City Guides uses listing information from YellowPages.com)
Step 1 – Go to YellowPages.com.
Step 2 – Enter your business phone number to see if your practice is already included in the directory. If it is already included, you will have a chance to update your listing.
Step 3 – If you are not already listed, enter your information on the following screens.
Step 4 – Click ‘Submit’.

Superpages.com

Step 1 – Go to Superpages.com.
Step 2 – Enter your business information.
Step 3 – Select business categories that help customers find
your listing.
Step 4 – Review your listing & profile
Step 5 – Enter account information.
Step 6 – Click ‘Submit’.

When Sister Is Your Cake Business Partner

Would you go into business with a family member?  Here’s an informative article about two sisters who started a cake business near Wrigley Field in Chicago.

There are several keys to note in this article about starting your own bakery.

First, they started off cautiously.

…holding down day jobs while they figured out their fledgling business concept. In 1998, Brenda moved to Chicago by herself and worked as an administrative assistant for a staffing company with the goal of gaining business skills and locating a viable market. “I don’t like to be one-dimensional. It allowed me to get my feet wet in Chicago and learn a variety of skills,” she says. By the time Mary came to Chicago (with a full set of professional baking and kitchen equipment) two years later—she had been working at an upscale Detroit-area bakery&—a sense of the business and the roles they would play had emerged. Brenda took the lead role in business and Mary focused on the creative side of cake baking and decorating.

Lesson 2: Word of mouth marketing was critical to their success:

“The Cakegirls got the word out themselves, telling friends and co-workers about their “night job” in the kitchen.”

Lesson 3: they used technology to market themselves:

“They gave prospective customers the impression they had a much bigger operation by using voice mail and posting their catalog online.”

Lesson 4: They were patient.

“They opened a business bank account with $500 and deposited any money they earned from baking into it. Within three years, the Mahers had saved $15,000 from sales, having continued to survived on the income from their day jobs.”

Lesson 5: They used the media for free advertising.

“When Chicago magazine ran a feature on them in 2003, orders flooded in, prompting Brenda to buy a minivan for deliveries.

Read the full article at Business Week.

via When Sister Is Your Business Partner – BusinessWeek.

Divorce cakes sweeten business

We covered this once before, but here’s an update. Also, I’m curious what you think about this. Kind of a gloomy addition to a cake business, but maybe in some places the consumer is ready for divorce cake. Is there any risk of scaring off the new bridal customer who doesn’t want to think about the possibility?

On a typical Saturday, Elite Cake Creations delivers 18 wedding cakes from Miami to Palm Beach, Fla. But it recently added a novelty to its traditional line: divorce cakes.

No milestone should go unnoticed — even divorces, said Beatriz Otero.

Divorce cakes look and taste like wedding cakes, but the cake-top depicts scenes of domestic discord, not bliss. Scenes portray chaos and mayhem: A bride takes her groom out with the trash; a man sits dejected on a curb; a woman is about to dump her man over a waterfall. A cemetery of broken marriages is marked by tiny tombstones, an open casket bears a ring.

It’s about looking at life with a wider lens, said Otero.

Recently divorced Tony Farina of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., had purchased cakes from Elite before. On a recent visit, he was in the market for closure. He’s getting a cake for himself and two friends also recently divorced. They’ll get all their buddies together and — eat cake.

Farina perused the mini- dramas played out atop a carpet of chiffon icing and fluff, but left the final choice to the shop.

“I completely trust Beatriz,” Farina said about picking out a divorce-themed cake. “She’ll come up with something we like, she always does.”

Elite makes about 1,500 novelty cakes annually: for corporate events, to celebrate a new job or to reflect a passion for cars, fishing or pets.

The bakery handles more than 1,200 wedding orders annually.

To debut the divorce cakes, Otero created a sidewalk reception and trade show in front of her shop. She spent about $1,500 for marketing materials, invitations and fliers, samples and displays.

She invited people she knew were divorced — some had even purchased wedding cakes from her. Party planners brought clients. A linen supplier, DJ and photographer came.

Wedding cakes lined the walk. Another newly launched product: Cake Bites, were displayed.

But the spotlight was on the crushed dreams of brides and grooms.

The 2002 U.S. Census Bureau reported about 50 percent of marriages end in divorce nationwide. Though that figure has remained fairly steady, there has been a drop off.

Elite’s premium cakes that serve 100 guests begin at about $350.

Not everyone is ready to celebrate their divorce right away — if ever, said Otero.

Healing from her own divorce about five years ago was a long, painful process, Otero said. “In no way are we encouraging or being flippant about a serious situation,” she said. “On the other hand, when people looking for closure are ready to move on, we can help them celebrate that.”

via Divorce cakes sweeten business | MyDesert.com | The Desert Sun.

Marketers find Twitter a tweet recipe for success – USATODAY.com

A great article on how one cake business is using social networking to reach her customers for repeat business. If you’re not using Facebook and Twitter to market your business, read this article and get on these sites!

LOS ANGELES — Cake decorator Suzi Finer fills in spare time during the workday updating her “status” on Facebook, telling about 2,000 customers about what she’s working on.

It’s no frivolous exercise: Finer is looking to boost business for her employer, Hansen’s Cakes of Beverly Hills, and says that sales are up 15% to 20% since she embraced Facebook as a sales tool in September. “That’s even in a recession,” she says. “People are still having birthday parties and weddings, and seeing these little bits about cakes on updates get them excited about the possibilities.”

via Marketers find Twitter a tweet recipe for success – USATODAY.com.

Cake Business Cards

Get 250 Free Business Cards At VistaPrint.com!

One of the best ways to promote your cake business is to leave business cards with everyone you know. Attach your cards to every delivery you make, hand them out to anyone who asks about your baking, and always have plenty of cards on hand.

While there are plenty of high-tech networking solutions you may inevitably use to market your business, a low tech but equally important step in marketing your cakes in a personal and cost effective way is business cards.

Never be shy about passing out your card. As so many bakery owners will tell you, everyone you meet is a potential customer.

I used to suggest simple black and white cards, but as this business has become more competitive, you really need to distinguish yourself from the crowd. Invest in professional color cards. If you’re just starting out, there are plenty of free business card offers.

Be prepared to talk about your passion for cakes as you hand over your card. This is often called the elevator speech – what you would tell someone about yourself and your business if you only had about 25 seconds (the time it takes you to ride an elevator with a stranger). In your elevator speech you have the opportunity to introduce yourself in memorable fashion.

Be yourself and your sincerity will come through. At some point, this person will be in the market for a cake or perhaps pass along your card to a friend who is getting married and looking for wedding cake vendors. Your card is the key to future business referals.