In most businesses these are the key to happiness and success, and recently I was given an opportunity to tick at least two of these boxes!
As a cake decorator it is inevitable that you get approached by companies to make orders that offer ‘exposure’, based on their profile and audience numbers.
It is up to you as a business owner to decide whether you want to take that risk. Also, if you can afford the time, resources and materials in return.
It is also worth keeping in mind the ‘Fame, Fortune or Fun’ motto. Please note, this can also be applied to day-to-day order enquires.
Having set up initially as a ‘cupcake’ only business back in 2013 I began to take the business in a different direction as I expanded my portfolio. I now offer wedding cakes, tiered birthday cakes, cookies and cake pops!
This is a far cry from the days when I only offered cupcakes and giant cupcakes.
I love the variety of the work I do but I must admit I began to miss the cute little bite sized dessert AKA the cupcake.
November 12-15th 2015 saw the Cake and Bake Show being showcased at Event City, within the grounds of the magnificent Trafford Centre, Manchester.
This was my first huge event. 4 days of selling cupcakes to the public. Want to know how I did and what I’ve learnt from it?
So it’s been an entire year since I gave up the rat race and decided to start “living the dream!” Do I have any regrets? No. What have I learnt? A lot!
If you make cakes, good, tasty cakes then you may find that others make a beeline for you to make them for charity events and fundraisers. As much as cake decorators, like most human beings, would love to be able to donate products to every charity letter, email or message received, it isn’t always possible for a number of reasons.
The cake business is a fantastic business to be in! Not only is it someone’s birthday each day of the year but people get engaged, married, have baby showers, christenings and anniversaries. There are also religious and seasonal celebrations throughout the year to look forward to as well, so the demand is always there. Not to mention competitions, display cakes, taste testing and design consultations… phew enough to make you feel shattered?!
Whilst this is the positive aspect of setting up a cake business, and being very busy throughout the year, it also requires you to be an organised and forward planning person/business. The main question that everyone wants to know is “How many cake orders can I take on?” In order to do this we all have some kind of strategy that works.
Here’s how I plan ahead.
I started my small business from an enjoyable hobby, organically growing at a steady rate over a few years. Like many other small home-based businesses I then decided to create a Facebook page. Afterall it was 2011 and Facebook was the main source of free social media and great for marketing. Everyone had the Facebook app on their phone or tablet.
Fast forward a few years and there are now a number of other popular social media networks such as Twitter, Google+, Pintrest and Instagram. I have over 2600 ‘likes’ and 600 ‘followers’ fantastic, you’d think? The problem with this expansion and the evolution of Facebook is that small businesses have forgotten that these social media tools are also a business similar to our own… wanting to make a profit.
Having worked for a Manchester based Supported Housing company for the past 11 years, alongside running Candy’s Cupcakes and looking after two young children, I’ve realised that I am not Super Woman (despite trying to pretend) and something had to give!
Like many of us I follow a number of cake related companies on social media sites and forums. Not only do other companies showcase fantastic work and inspire us, they also highlight a couple of bug bears that can be easily avoided. These are; not covering cake boards and taking poor quality images of work.
Read my tips on how to complete your cakes and take great photos that will make people like and share your work.