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Cake Business not doing well - Page 2

post #16 of 36
You may also want to post your web site address here if you'd like some constructive criticism....!!!
post #17 of 36
Let's see some of your work. Then we might be able to offer some CONSTRUCTIVE critism. Perhaps you may need to sharpen your skills. Are you going to any of the bridal shows for exposure. Some of the ones hosted by hotels themselves are not expensive. Are you working with a party planner or wedding consultant? If you don't do wedding cakes you may want to reconsider. How about corporate events where you could do a dessert bar? There's a lot of ways to get your name out there. How about a local talk show program that is an extension of your local news? Go on it and they can sample your goods and then ooh and ahh to the public about how good you items are.

Cakeymom
post #18 of 36
I just ran across this thread. How is you business doing now? I'm a home based business and I joined Theknot.com, have a website, and facebook page and I am always busy...especially in the summer.

Some other things you could do is join your local Chamber, sell items at the Farmers Market, sell wholesale to coffee stands and restaurants to sell your cakes and baked goods.

I hope you are still up an running : )
post #19 of 36
Pardon me for being a skeptic...but several people have responded with good suggestions and questions and none have been answered by the OP. Particularly the ones that have requested to see the OP's work so CONSTRUCTIVE criticism could be given.
I'm just wondering how genuine this post is. And yes, it's hard to say what's wrong with a business if we can't even see the work! Not that good design and construction is all there is to a cake...but at least it's a starting point.

If you went into business to begin with I would have assumed you'd already have a client base...even a small one...to build on. Did you? We'll see if the OP responds.

If I am ever on life support, unplug me...

Then plug me back in.  See if that works!

Reply

If I am ever on life support, unplug me...

Then plug me back in.  See if that works!

Reply
post #20 of 36
I'm with you Carmijok - I will be very surprised if the OP resurfaces. I've seen several similar posts recently - all by OPs that claim to be long time CC members making their first posts - but their profile info shows they joined that day. No other info, pics, website. Nothing. Hmmmm. . . .I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, and I may be wrong, but it seems a little bit suspicious to me. Especially when the OPs don't respond again to anything in the thread. It ALMOST looks like someone makes an effort to start threads needing "emergency help" when things are a little slow around here. Surely not. icon_wink.gif
post #21 of 36
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone I have been busy trying to sort my business out so haven't been able to get on here, will read the news posts now icon_smile.gif
post #22 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by carmijok

Pardon me for being a skeptic...but several people have responded with good suggestions and questions and none have been answered by the OP. Particularly the ones that have requested to see the OP's work so CONSTRUCTIVE criticism could be given.
I'm just wondering how genuine this post is. And yes, it's hard to say what's wrong with a business if we can't even see the work! Not that good design and construction is all there is to a cake...but at least it's a starting point.

If you went into business to begin with I would have assumed you'd already have a client base...even a small one...to build on. Did you? We'll see if the OP responds.



Hello, I'm really sorry about the late post, I hadn't forgotten about this thread icon_smile.gif Would anyone mind if I pmed my fb page to you instead of post it here? I'm not ashamed of my work but I am kind of embarrassed by the fact my business is doing badly and know other family members visit this site.
post #23 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evoir

Warning! My answer below uses my own experience as an example. No criticism intended icon_wink.gif

How much experience in cake making did you have before opening your shop?

Did you work from home for a long time before moving to your shop?

I think 6 months is a bit too short a time frame to expect loads of business, but it depends on how well you've established a client base and that "word-of-mouth buzz".

When I started out in my home-based business, I increased turnover and got my name established by creating small cafe cakes, cookies, friands, tartlets macarons etc. and selling them direct to a number of cafes and restaurants. I also did High Tea catering. In my first year, my city's most highly regarded catering company were given my business card, and they became a customer who remains with me to this day. They get most of their cakes from me for catered celebrations including weddings.

Over the years my focus has shifted to doing more wedding cakes. I attended one wedding expo 3 years ago, and the business I generated from that (less than 6 jobs!) has led, through word of mouth, to more business than I can now manage on my own.

My business has been running for over 5 years, so for me I can say I have grown it organically and its not something that happens over night. I think in the immediate future, you should look maybe beyond the ultimate cake jobs you want to be doing some day, just to get some cash flow. You need to also investigate more into your target market. I agree with Jason on two points in particular:
1. Consider sharing your website for some input on this primary and highly important frontline contact point for your business. Facebook is also a good adjunct to having your website.
2. If you have not moved from a home based business originally, consider starting from a home-based position first to build a solid client base. These clients become your best advertising, as they tell everyone they know about you. If you are in the UK (just guessing from your use of pounds instead of dollars) maybe the ideas I mentioned inclusing high tea catering could be something to consider to help with the money coming in.

I hope this helps a bit icon_smile.gif



I don't mind criticism at all, it's how you improve icon_smile.gif

Before opening the store I had 20 years experience with cakes, in the early to mid-nineties I used to make wedding cakes and birthday cakes for friends and family but I did it as a hobby and never charged, then I moved to a new area and only made a cake every now and then. When I realised I could make a business out of it I started a home business which I had for about 3-4 years before opening my shop but I didn't have that many clients, I used to do a market every sunday and sell cupcakes, cookies and other types of cake and sold out every time but I was also selling them very cheap. I'd also have leaflets there and an example of my work which got a lot of comments. We've been here a year and a half now but I'm starting to think the area is just wrong, a lot of people here seem to want everything for nothing. I'm behind on rent at the moment which is why I haven't spent any moe on advertising because the last 5 ads I did didn't bring in any business. I haven't done any wedding fairs bt am looking into it and when I have the money will do one. I've recently made some cakes to go in my window and have put a sign outside letting everyone know we are open etc and am working on a few more. It didn't help that a few bad things have all happened at once outside of my business and now I have had to put focus on them but I would think after a year and a half of being here on a busy road people would know I was here :/ It's kind of getting me down in a way because yesterday I had one cake go out which was exactly as the woman described and today she came in for a refund because it wasn't anything like she wanted? :S It was a late notice cake which I did cheap and showed her the ribbon I'd put on it and she said it was fine but today is telling me it's not. Perhaps I am getting the wrong clientele? I'm not sure any more. Other people come in and give me complete opposite feedback, last week a guy came in and said he'd always come back here and wished he hadn't already booked his wedding cake. Another lady who lives about an hour away always comes back to us but the locals never seem to come in as much.
post #24 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesyay

Make a dummy cake (or a few) and put it in the window!
Getting mentioned on groupon is nice, but I have no idea how that works unfortunately.

Get a friend or two to review your business on Yelp.com. Also make sure your business is in the local directories.

Good luck!



I am in the process of decorating some now so hopefully this will help x
post #25 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSweetTreat

Well I do not own my own cake business, but I will quickly discourage you from running any sort of Groupon type deal. Talk about not making any money....that's the way to really lose money. Avoid it.

It sounds to me like you're possibly in the wrong part of town? You say your rent is cheap...is the area a well off area or just average? I can't imagine it's well off if the rent is cheap. You are looking for a client that wants high quality, from-scratch products and willing to pay for them, but it seems like you're in a location that doesn't have that type of client walking around. Even what you consider to be affordable doesn't seem affordable to the client finding your store.

The ad sites you mention seem to be like our Yellow Pages here in the US, which is ok for a business directory, but not how you should expect your desired clientele to find you. You need to reach out to more high end mediums. If you feel your cakes are high end then I suggest finding a high end bridal show. Avoid the crazy packed bridal shows. Those are full of brides looking for deals, etc.

So I guess my two cents is that your product is more expensive than the client you're reaching out to can afford. Find high end, good quality avenues of advertisement. Maybe isntead of flyers at the bridal shops, go by with some actual samples for them to try. This way they know first hand the product you provide and will be more apt to recommend you.

Good luck with everything. Hang in there! It sounds like you have a great product, you just need to tweak the business aspect and I'd say that's a simpler problem to have than a bad product icon_smile.gif Just my opinion.



My rent was cheap and the place was not rented for 2 years, I guess I soon found out why! The place before was an indian restaurant and it was in a much worse condition than I thought when I came in to have a look. The people before really hadn't looked after the place and instead of dealing with the problems they just covered them up so I had to take everything away and redo it which took a bit out of the money I'd saved for other expenses. I know groupon won't make/bring in a lot of money but I thought seeing as a lot of people sign up to it then it would bring more awareness to who we are/where we are (we've had people say 'I didn't know you were here'). Other people have come in and said they'd like to do cupcake classes here so we are considering that and children's parties too. We give out free samples too whenever people come in icon_smile.gif There have also been times we've given out free cupcakes to returning customers (we end up throwing out a few a day) Thank you for the advice x
post #26 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

What is your target market, where are they located in relation to your shop, and what are your competitive advantages? Have you done any networking with local venues or event planners? What is your monthly advertising budget?

The fact that your rent is incredibly cheap is probably not a good sign. If home-based businesses are legal in your area you may want to look at closing the shop and working from home until you can build a client base.



We try to make cakes for any budget, we do have several deals which I know are cheaper than our competitors. I haven't paid out for any more advertising lately as the past times it didn't seem to do much. We have done some networking with other shop owners on the street, the bakery not far from us doesn't do big celebration cakes so always hands out our business cards when people ask and other shop owners who have had cakes from us recommend us. We do get a few people come in for quotes but they never come back. I had a guy come in not long ago and I quoted £35 and he asked if I could go cheaper so I said £32 and he still wanted the £2 off, I don't want to seem desperate but I think when people come in they really expect everything for the same price a supermarket would sell cakes for. I am trying to get more involved with local events and looking into farmers markets as I think this might bring awareness
post #27 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by matthewkyrankelly

The most successful local cupcake shop takes her cupcakes to the customers.

Put four dozen cupcakes in your car with a folding table. Go where the business people lunch. Sell them cupcakes. Don't sell them cheap. Bring business cards. Bring order forms for cakes. Make money.

If you sell out, great. Bring more the next day. If you did this five days a week for a month, you'd probably be making a heck of a lot more than you are now.

This alone could gross you $2,000 - $3.000 a month. If you do this, you will start to create buzz and see more potential for profit.

For now, go sell four dozen cupcakes.

Try it. what have you got to lose?



I'm not sure what the laws are around here for stuff like this but I think you have to have some sort of license for it, I am looking into doing some different markets but they require rent and other fees so I can only do this when I have to the money to do so. We do offer free delivery though x
post #28 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Danilou

I don't know much about running a business but here in Australia a lot of people in my area use facebook for their cake business.. They attract customers by running promotions (sometimes with sponsors) and run competitions with prizes to give away for people that 'like' their page...Very popular....Sometimes the giveaways are small. The latest was a 'kitchenaid' give away (and she's a bake at home mum not fancy in the least).....The most important is that they are always putting pics of their latest cakes on fb..I hit 'like' and all my friends see it!!!!!!!

I hope you work it out!!!! My husband and I just had to close our business recently (a truck transport bus.) because we weren't making any money...Very sad!!!!!!



I try and post on fb at least once a day now to get more likers, but I find most of the people who like the page are other cake pages or people who do not live in the same area so it is a little difficult but I am keeping at it so hopefully it will pay off soon xx
post #29 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BakingIrene

See if you can sell whole cakes to restaurants, for them to slice and serve as desserts. These cakes would not have much more than borders top and bottom and maybe a rosette on each portion.

Put up signs that say "special this week" and change them according to the holidays. Again a simple cake with borders and a little piping for the occasion like Valentines or St Patricks etc.

Start baking coffee cakes or Victoria sandwich cakes in small pans. Change the filling every two weeks.

The simple cakes are to get people in the door for your best decorated special occasion cakes. Cupcakes do the same job--they let people taste without having to special order.

If you can't sell offsite, put a table on the sidewalk and sell cupcakes right in front of your shop. Bake 2 dozen minicakes and give them away. Call this "cupcake day" and time it for local payday.

And look at your local bakeries NOT your cake competition. You will get better market ideas there.



We already sell cupcakes and brownies. The brownies we sell cheap, so school kids will come in a buy them sometimes. I did used to sell slices of victoria sponge and coffee and walnut cake but these never sold and I find I am throwing away a lot of it so stopped doing them. I am thinking of new deals to advertise though along the lines of your suggestions xx
post #30 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennifer353

I think the lack of parking is probably having a big impact on you. Could you offer free delivery within a certain distance for orders over a certain size? As has been said, try and make the most of your window, even nice big photographs if you can't physically fit even a small display.

One thing I'm after thinking of - you know the sandiwch vans that drive around offices/industrial estates? People seem to love them. Could you do something like that for cakes/sweet food and go around in the afternoon or about 10/11o'clock? If you are in a city you could use a little hand cart instead of the van. Ask companies (ideally close to your shop) if you can come in. Take a selection of things and have lots of business cards and leaflets of what you can do with photos.
Check out the male/female ratio of the companies you are going to. This is a 100% sweeping generalisation based on my office, but if there is a high male proportion try and include things that are less chocolaty and sweet on sweet (eg cupcakes with tons of buttercream forsting). Certainly the men in my office (it's about 80% men and a lot of engineers and other traditional type roles) prefer simpler foods like simple cookies with just a little icing and more traditional cakes. This may be just here but worth bearing in mind at the start at least.



We already offer free delivery icon_smile.gif There is some parking around but where we are near to a station it's usually all full up. We did have a plan to knock down the unused part of the back and turn it into a parking area and outside sitting area but as there was so much work to be done inside the money got spent unfortunately. We now have a few cakes in our window and are working on a few more, there is also a meeting happening soon where all the shop owners on the street get together so I'm hoping this will help a little too. I do like the idea of giving out cake samples, I will look into this with other business's on the street as a starting point. Thanks xx
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