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Start Your Own Cake Baking Business

Posted 02/04/2008 by Anna Hollisey

Charming woman baking in the kitchen

Starting your own business is a hugely rewarding enterprise. Congratulations for taking the first steps! This article will help you to think about some of the issues you’ll need to tackle in the early stages of setting up your cake baking business.

First Questions

Setting up a cake baking business isn’t something that you can do overnight. As well as the initial idea, you’ll also need training, investment, equipment, and a marketing plan.

Let’s assume that you are already travelling down the path towards a cake business. You’ve given it some thought, and looked at the competition. This means that you’ve considered all of these questions:

  • Who will Buy Your Cakes?
  • What occasions will they be for?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • How will your cakes be special?
  • How much do your competitors charge?
  • How do their cakes compare to yours?
  • Will your cakes be better, cheaper, or more imaginative?
  • Where will you bake your cakes?

Set Up Costs

SKILLS. Do you have the appropriate food, health and safety training? Has your premises been certified for professional baking? These will add to your Set-up Costs.

EQUIPMENT. Keep a record of everything that you buy for the baking business – from spatulas to cupcake trays and food colourings.

BUSINESS FEES. You may need to hire an accountant, a web developer, a marketing consultant, a copywriter, a printer, and a designer – depending on your planned marketing activities.

MARKETING. Allocate a good portion of your budget for Marketing and Advertising – ads in press and online are costly.

Developing Your Product Range

This is key to your success. Your product range must fit in with other products that are offered in the area. It must be priced appropriately – no use charging twice what a nearby bakery does. This stage involves plenty of research. Visit bakeries and supermarkets, and contact party planners to find out where people usually buy their cakes, and how much they would spend.

Taste everything you can find, and decide what will make your cakes better! Research popular or trendy flavours, designs and styles of cake; hold a tasting panel and get other people’s input too. Only then will you be equipped to select a small range of products for your launch.

Drawing Up Your Marketing Plan

Sometimes, a business ‘just takes off’. Friends and family mention the service, orders begin to mount up, and the business quickly becomes sufficient. It can happen. But it’s rare. So, although you could depend on word-of-mouth to promote your business, a marketing strategy will spread the word much faster. After the investment of time and money you’ve already made, you’ll want to start making ends meet as soon as possible. Right?

Great. Your marketing plan needn’t be a complex business document – it doesn’t even need to be professionally formatted. It could be a sheaf of notes written during a brainstorming session in the garden. Or you could get a professional to do it. (The university near to us is always looking for projects for its business students – so try asking around.)

Don’t be afraid to start it yourself. The content of your marketing plan should include the following:

  • Who is my target market? (Working mums, schools, party planners?)
  • What do they want? (Don’t guess – ask them!)
  • Where do they find details of the services that they use?
  • What do they read? Do they have internet access?
  • How much do they spend on a food shop / children’s party?
  • What can I offer to encourage them to try my cakes? (Free samples, vouchers, referral discounts?)
  • Where should I place an advertisement? How can I measure the results?
  • How can I get featured in the local press?
  • Do I Need a Website? What information should be on it?
  • Do I have access to anyone or anything that I could use for free advertising? (For example: could you hold a sample tasting at the school or church fete? Do you know someone who works in a large local company – and wouldn’t mind passing out samples or leaflets? Do you know the owner of your local shop, who would be able to stick up a poster? Is there a party planner in your area?)

Setting A Great Example…

If you need support and advice, it’s a great idea to join your local business associations or chambers of commerce. You’ll benefit from the friendly support of a community of like minded people who are setting up a business of their own. When yours is established, keep in touch with the Network: you never know how it could continue to help you.

27 Responses to “Start Your Own Cake Baking Business”

  1. Ed says:

    Looking at starting a small business, what’s the best mail order to use?

  2. CakeBaker says:

    We interviewed someone who runs a cupcake delivery service recently. She told us: “As I need to be able to guarantee a delivery date to my customers, I work with a courier service. Since I regularly send large volumes this way, it doesn’t work out that much more expensive than using the Royal Mail. The couriers are also accustomed to working with fragile packages and it works out smoothly in terms of insurance.”

  3. leon says:

    I’m looking at starting a cake making business, should I hire a delivery service or hand deliver them?

  4. slavetocake says:

    Can anyone tell me the best way to breakdown the cost of making a cake?

  5. Lucie says:

    I’d like to know how to work out how much gas electricity and water I’m using. This is something I’ve overlooked for a long time and to keep good accounts it’d be helpful to know what I’m using.

  6. jennylightfoot says:

    hello i would like to start baking with american baking products but i live in the uk i would love to promote them over here how do i get round it thanks jenny

  7. party accent says:

    Thanks, I learnt a lot through this article and starting the cake business,thanks again.

  8. alicat says:

    Hi Ive been making birthday cakes now for work colleagues and family it really seems to have taken off in a big way, I’d really like to start my own business as there is a call for it where I live,but have no business sense what ever! Where should I begin?

  9. CakeBaker says:

    @ Alison – start by telling your family and friends that you will charge them for the cakes, come up with a price structure and a name for your business. You’ll also need to have a hygiene inspection from your local authority.Take a look at all these arti

  10. dani says:

    I’ve already got an outlet for my cakes its just now making sure I’ve crossed my t’s and dotted my i’s. I have been advised that I need, in addition to getting my kitchen passed, the level 2 food manufacturing qualification and public liabilty insurance. What is legally required and what is ideal? I can’t seem to get a consistent answer!! Thanks for your help!!

  11. cakes says:

    Hi I am selling my handmade cake/cupcake business. Anyone interested please contact me.

  12. Fiona says:

    I am 16 and have been making cakes for family and friends! My customer base has started to widen and I really want my own business when I am older but don’t know how to go about setting it up! I don’t know whether to go to university to study business or to get a job and earn money to open a business or get a loan/grant from the council! Does anyone have any advice? Thanks

  13. mash says:

    Hi, I’m in College doing a level 2 Diploma in Bakery and hoping to continue with level 3 next year. I would like to buy a mixer that is durable, but not too expensive but one that I can continue using when I eventually have my own business. Any suggestions?

  14. CakeBaker says:

    @Mash. We asked our expert to do a feature on this and also polled some of our regular facebook fans. Take a look here here.

  15. Arson says:

    Can anyone name some famous Italian pasticceria in Italy? Doesn’t have to be “big” but have to be delicious and with historical tradition.

  16. Sweet Elite says:

    @Cake – I have just set up my own cupcake business. I would be interested in talking to you.

  17. Kirstylovescake says:

    Hello Was wondering if you would be able to advise me on what qualifications I would need to start my own cupcake/celebrations cake and maybe even catering business from home?

  18. CakeBaker says:

    @kirstylovescake. You don’t need any formal qualifications but you need to be able to make great cakes. Most people start by making cakes for family and friends and go on from there. To sell them you will need to have your home inspected for a health and

  19. Gango says:

    i’d like your web & learnt enough as i required. I would able to migrate to Canada & hope to start a small business. I know that is not an easy task to start a business in another country. But i should survive with a small child & would like to help my husband by earning in some other way. i’m good enough to start a Cake business. So, i went through your web & learnt much. thank you’ll very much. Hope to follow your cake decorating techniques.

  20. Kookies Kakery says:

    I have just started my cake/cupcake business but need to find a courier company to courier them. Does anyone have any advice!

  21. MARZ says:

    myself and a close family member were planning on opening our own bakery business. we have made plans and have done lots of market research, we are taking bakery courses and use our school’s kitchen facilities to practise some of the baking skills, however we need some advice on how to go about setting the initial business. we will be very grateful if you have some advice for us. thank you,

  22. Dnnie says:

    What do I need legally to start my business properly ie health and hygiene, insurance, qualificaions etc

  23. Berry says:

    Want to start a shop where I can sell all equments nd ingredients for cake especially witon bakery equpmemt cous people search for it to buy dem but is hard to get her complete bakery equpmnt I want to specalize on dat

  24. London Cupcakes says:

    Very useful starting point for discovering how to create a cupcake business. In London, UK, we’re trying to support cupcake makers through an online directory. This partly because there are a few anomalies depending on which London borough you base you’re cupcake business in.

  25. Felix says:

    It’s difficult to find knowledgeable people on this topic,
    but you sound like you know what you’re talking about!

  26. CakeDutchess says:

    Very interesting read!!

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