Business from Scratch: How to Start Your Own Baking Business
Finding a way to earn money from your hobbies is the ultimate dream for many. You can make a living (or pad your income) doing something you love while working for yourself. However, the process of turning a hobby into a business is different for every hobby. T-shirt designers will follow a different path than jewellery makers; woodcarvers will use a different process than knitters, and so on. So what if baking is your hobby? How would you start your very own baking business from scratch? These steps will give you a good idea of how to start:
- Pick your niche
- Consider all logistics
- Write a plan
- Create your website
- Register/license your company
- Build your brand
Pick Your Niche
There are a lot of bakeries in the world. And, chances are, there are also bakeries in your town (or wherever you plan on launching your venture). The best way to launch a new baking business and have it succeed is to make sure you offer goods not already sold by your competition. For example, if the bakery across town is known for their cupcakes, make your bakery all about cookies. That doesn’t mean you can’t sell cupcakes, just keep in mind that competing with an established company is a lot harder when you’re selling the same thing as your main product. Once you’ve selected your niche, start planning a menu.
Consider the Logistics of Your Baking Business
Once you’ve selected your niche and created a menu, you must consider the logistics of your bakery. This stage will help you determine what’s actually possible to accomplish, what’s best saved for another day, and what’s out of the realm of possibility. A few things to think about include:
- The cost of your baked goods. Take your menu to the grocery store and use it to price out every ingredient you’ll need. Once you’ve done that, calculate the cost of each baked good and compare it to the price you can reasonably sell it for. If the cost outweighs the profit, consider striking some of the most expensive items from your list. Also plan for what will happen if you can’t find or run out of certain ingredients.
- The cost of production. Where will you run your bakery? Is your home kitchen big enough or do you need/want to rent a kitchen space? What’s the cost of doing so? Do you need to buy extra equipment?
- The cost of distribution. How are you packaging and delivering your goods to customers? Do you need a storefront? Will you do delivery? If you deliver, do you need a refrigerated vehicle? How much will gas cost? How are you storing baked goods until they can be sold?
Understanding your capabilities and limitations will help you remain within the scope of your abilities so you can concentrate on establishing a solid business now, then growing it down the line.
Write a Plan
By now, you have a pretty solid idea for your baking business, which includes the concept and some financials. Take this information and go even deeper by writing an official business plan. Your plan should include things like the goals of your business, its operating plan (including hours and employees needed, location of operations, etc.), your start up costs, your financial projections for when you’ll break even and start profiting, your plans for marketing, and more. You can use this guide for writing a business plan.
Create Your Website
A website is an excellent tool for any business to have. Websites showcase your products, staff, and show customers why they should buy from you. In addition, a baking business can use a website to make sales and accept payments, which can increase your revenue by giving customers more ways to pay. When planning your website, come up with a professional and cohesive design that reflects your brand’s personality (ie. a website created in dark tones like blues and greys might not show off a bakery that considers itself to be fun and happy). Use high quality photos of your baked goods to show them off. And make sure you integrate a safe and secure payment tool like Stripe or PayPal so customers can place orders online. If web design is outside of your comfort zone, many platforms offer templates or you can hire a designer for something custom.
Register/License Your Company
For most businesses to be considered official, they need to be legally registered. Registration for a bakery may include business licenses, food safety certificates, inspections, and more. Depending on where you live, these requirements may vary so do some research based on your municipality, state/province, and country.
Build Your Brand
Once your bakery business is up and running, you need to bring in the customers to keep it that way. This is where building your brand comes in. A few popular tactics include launching social media accounts, using local advertising, hosting events, teaching classes and more. However, you can build your brand using any method you’d like as long as it’s authentic to you and your business!
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