I’m guessing most of us won’t be entering into the cake business in such a cutthroat manner. Most of the folks I know who have cake and cupcake decorating businesses are pretty content to fulfill orders at the local rather than national level.
If you are one of the ones who would pretty much like to have a cake or cupcake decorating business on the “home-business” level, then here are a few tips and ideas I’ve come across that can help you get started.
A Business Plan is a must… Even if you only want to run a small business.
Ok, if you are truly only going to run a part-time cake business and are not going to be borrowing money to get started, you may not quite need a 20-page business plan – but believe me on this: You definitely want at least a small plan in place. Remember the old saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
A business plan is kind of like a blueprint for building a house. It’s critical to have something in writing – almost like a “checklist” of steps to follow. I know a person who wanted to start up a restaurant and catering business. I asked, “Do you have a business plan?” The answer was, “No, I don’t know much about that kind of stuff…”
I said, “You can call the Small Business Administration or look it up on line.” The person continued to balk, and to my knowledge never did have a business plan. Last I heard, there was no restaurant.
If you have a dream, that’s great! But dreams take work to make come true. You need to know how much money you have, what licenses you’re going to need, what equipment you have and what you’ll need to move forward, and much more.
You need to also determine where you are going to work. Your own kitchen may not pass local regulations (and there are usually lots of regulations when it comes to handling and serving food).
If you can write out, step-by-step, the things that must be considered before you begin investing in the business, you will save yourself a lot of time and heartache.
Here’s A Great Approach To Market Research and Preparation Many People Don’t Take…
It’s important – I think, to really get a “feel” for what this business is really like. A quick way to get an idea about how to do a business plan on this particular type of business as well as the realities of this business is to visit bakeries, “cupcakeries” or other home cake decorators in nearby towns (places you aren’t necessarily going to be competing with ). You can find listings on line (search for “Cake decorator” and then put the name of the towns in the search). You can also check local newspapers and “Pennysaver” types of shoppers. At small businesses and convenience stores, you may find a cake decorator’s business card tacked up on the bulletin board.
Offer to take the owners out for lunch in exchange for some advice on how to get started. I actually did this years ago when I was considering opening a specialty goods store in a town some distance away. I took the owner of a similar type of store out to lunch, and she gave me so much information, I almost bought her dinner as well!
I am really glad I did take that afternoon with her, because after I learned what it would honestly take to even open my doors, I did a little more research on the area where I was planning this store. My research convinced me that there really wouldn’t be enough of a market to carry the store in the off-season. To this day, I am grateful to the woman who gave me all that information. It saved me a great deal of heartache.
So, I truly believe that if you can spend some time with someone who is already running a cake or cupcake business – someone who won’t be threatened by you opening a similar operation – then it will be time very well spent.
It will also give you the start of a business plan!
So again, you can get advice on a business plan from one of Paula Spencer’s books, or one of the other sources I list below. But make no mistake, a business plan will be more valuable than you might imagine!
Here are some additional resources for you to choose from as you begin thinking about starting and running a cake or cupcake decorating business from home (and see our other pages for even more information!)
Frosting Perfection Secrets Revealed – Create Your Home Based Cake Decorating Business (Cooking eBook with Easy Navigation) + Free PDF, by A. Douglas (Available at Amazon -> Click Here to Purchase)