Cake decorating is one of the most satisfying things to do. If you agree with this, you probably love cake decorating as much as we do. Why not turn your passion for cake decorating into business? You can easily start a cake decorating business with this step-by-step guide for beginners. We will provide you guidance through the red tape measures as well.
Step-by-Step Guide for Starting a Cake Decorating Business
Kickstart the journey of your cake decorating business with these step-by-step guides. Following these steps properly will get you a booming business in no time.
1. Plan Ahead
A clear and precise plan helps you keep on track and focus on the right tasks at the right time. Don’t think of planning as a waste of time. Planning can put you at ease and help you save time later on by helping you with critical decisions. Planning is necessary to answer the following questions and more.
Start with these basics, and make a business plan in as much detail as possible.
Research your business and industry
This is a very good time to do some market research and to learn about the market and industry. Before planning your business, you need to have concrete knowledge of how this business works. This initial research will help you know your target market better. It will give you a better understanding of your business needs, what products to offer, how much to charge for them etc. Then, think about how you want your business to turn out.
Find your Niche
Finding your niche is very crucial for any business. It helps you to decide what products to offer and who are your ideal customers. You need to decide what type of cake you want to focus on – cupcakes, wedding cakes, birthday cakes or something else. Developing a niche can help you create a brand by focusing on your target market. It will also help to figure out what makes your business different from others.
Make a Fail-Proof Business Plan
Now that you have a better idea of your industry, You can easily write up a business plan. A business plan plays a significant part in the success of small businesses like a cake decorating business. The more detailed your business plan is, the better your chances of success. A good business plan will give you a detailed outline of the following –
It might seem like a lot of work just for planning, but it’s worth the time and effort. Some of the most common reasons businesses fail are –
You can avoid all these pitfalls by simply having a concrete business plan in place. Also, it may come in handy in case you apply for a business loan.
2. Register your Premises
Once you have selected a business plan for your cake decorating business, you need to register your business. You must register with the Environmental Health Team at your local council, or you can register here. You should register at least 28 days before you start baking and decorating. In case you have bought an existing food business from someone else, you need to register as the new owner.
The selected location for your business – your kitchen or another place, must meet all the hygiene requirements. For instance – storage and drainage facilities, good lighting, proper ventilation, and pest control. For more information on food safety management procedures and food hygiene regulations, take expert advice from your local authority or check out the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
3. Safety First
According to Food safety and hygiene regulations, you must be able to show the food you prepare is safe to eat, and you have written proof of it. Because after registering your premises, an environmental health officer will make an unannounced visit. It can be within the first 18 months of starting operation. You need to pass the inspection to keep your business. Therefore, keep records of cleaning schedule, ingredients, origins of food and anything else that show you comply with food hygiene.
Following the food safety inspection, you will receive a Food Hygiene Rating. This rating helps customers choose where to eat or buy food. High ratings are good for business as it attests the standards of food hygiene & safety found at the time of inspection. This rating is based on –
4. Register with HMRC
If you are starting your cake decorating business at home or if you are self-employed, you need to register with HMRC. Registering with HMRC will allow them to know how much you’re earning and assist in properly collecting the tax. Head to the government’s online registration portal and set up your online account. The registration process is fairly straightforward.
5. Get Business Insurance
Get yourself some public liability insurance or professional liability insurance. Professional liability insurance provides coverage for businesses that protect against claims from their clients. A professional error or oversight can cost you a lot of money, so it’s better to be safe and get insurance.
It’s also wise to get a business owner’s policy (BOP). BOP provides general liability insurance along with commercial property insurance. It covers customer injuries, property damage etc.
6. Get Financing and Invest Wisely
Securing funds is one of the biggest obstacles to a new business. No matter how small, every business has a startup cost. The initial startup cost can be covered from your pocket or you can take a loan or apply for a grant.
How you spend the initial investment is very crucial for the success of your startup. Therefore, you should have a list of all the things that you need to spend money on. Make a budget and stick to it. Some costs to consider while making a budget include –
One of the most essential investments in the cake decorating business is baking supplies and tools. You need to choose these very wisely and buy them on a need basis. Here is a list of basic baking and decorating supplies to help you out –
7. Work on your pricing strategy
Most people start out charging far too little for their offerings. That is one way to get more customers, but it is not feasible for the long term. Keep a reasonable percentage of profit margin on your product offerings. Pricing too high is risky for a new business. Your pricing strategy can make or break your cake decorating business.
You need to revise your pricing strategy based on your own needs. Just pricing based on market research and what your competitors charge can put you out of business. You can not keep your business going without making a profit.
Take the followings into consideration when working out prices for your delicious and mouthwatering pastries and cakes –
Here's a basic formula for pricing cakes -
Cake Price = Labour (hours of estimated work * your hourly rate) + Cost of Ingredients + Overhead costs
You can customise this formula based on your need. Also, you can create a spreadsheet to track your expenses to help you with pricing and keeping records.
8. Promote your Business
Getting all the okay’s from authority and making breathtakingly beautiful decorated cakes is not enough. Marketing is pivotal to the success of any business. You can’t just keep selling to your warm circle of customers. You need to widen your target market and sell to them as well.
To stand out in a sea of bakers and cake decorators, create a brand identity. Creating a brand value is what you should strive for. Your store display plays a huge part in promoting your business. Invest in amazing store design to entice customers to come through the door. To promote your business, you can pursue these strategies –
9. Go Online
Having an online presence is a must in today’s world. The Internet has so much to offer to your business, you just need to know how it can benefit you.
Build a website
If you take the time to create a website, you can easily take orders online. Design the website keeping up with your store theme and logo. Great photography skills come in handy when you have to share your gorgeous creations with the world online. You can also start a blog about your cake decorating business and write about your experience. To keep your customers coming back, entice them with picturesque cakes and creative designs.
Join Social Media
You can utilize your social media accounts for business purpose. But having a separate business account or page for your social media interactions is always a good idea. Use social media to share your unique cake designs and promote your mouth-watering cakes. Ask your customers to tag your business page if they want to share pictures or make any post on Instagram or Facebook. Continuously update your business accounts and engage with the audience. Be as creative online as you are in your kitchen.
After you're all set-up
Once your cake making business is up and running, keep looking for ways to improve. Keep up with the others to stay in the race of delicious cakes.
Develop your recipes over time
Initially, you can offer a few flavour options, but be willing to take on requests. Also, spend some time to source ingredients, grab the best value and quality for your money. Always strive to learn new recipes, take baking and decorating classes online to enrich your knowledge and skills.
Train your employees
Later on, you will need more employees to help with the increasing pressure. Train them well to maintain the standard of food and service. If you don’t have time to teach them, suggest them to learn courses like this one – Baking and Cake Decorating.
Know your numbers
Cake decorating is not just about having great decorating skills. You need to keep a steady cash flow. You need to pay vendors and manage accounts with customers. Keep records of all the income and expenses. If you can not do it by yourself, get someone who can. Hire an accountant to handle the numbers, so you can focus on other parts of the business.
With patience, proper directions and a knack for cake decorating, you can start a cake decorating business easily. Put in the necessary hours and follow this guide for a successful business. Best wishes for your wonderful journey with picturesque cakes!