Learn food hygiene practices
An important part of any food business is maintaining a level of food hygiene. When starting out selling to customers, you will need to have the right hygiene certification and register with the local authorities who will come and inspect your premises.
Maintain quality control
Similar to that of food hygiene and part of HACCP. You should keep tight quality control. This also means evaluating the suitability of your home for such a venture. Your local council will have guides on this.
But this is not only about hygiene but will be vital to customer satisfaction. Creating quality goods can boost satisfaction rates as well provide an opportunity for great product photos that can be promoted across different channels.
Running a business can be full-on and daunting, it can also be easy to get lost in what you are doing and you lose sight of why you started in the first place.
To help stay motivated, on task and achieve milestones it can be helpful to set goals and objectives which are achievable, specific and time-bound. Why not track the progress of the goals and remind yourself regularly?
Different methods of goal setting will work for different people, but planning is important in all businesses to ensure a project has the best chance of success.
Not everything will be a success, but the willingness to learn from failures, and prioritise your tasks to achieve objectives will give you a good mindset to go forward.
Your ability to act and plan ahead is constantly refined when running a business. Setting up your marketing efforts so you have a steady stream of customers will be an excellent investment of time to ensure the futurity of your business, but also an ability to take advantage of current trends can help you scale quickly, such as spotting new platforms or opportunities to market your business. Be prepared to reach into new spaces to get customers and promote your baking business.
Set yourself apart
Be prepared to think outside the box, find your unique selling point and promote it. There are thousands of baking businesses in the UK, what will set you apart? Will it be the channel you promote on? The type of goods you bake? The audience you are selling to? Or just because it’s your business. It is helpful to ask others what they think of your business or your business plan/idea to get a different perspective, and especially reach out to your ideal customer to get their perspective on what you intend to do to validate your ideas.
It can be easy to get carried away with posting everything and anything about your business, but again take a moment to plan what you want your business to look like to the world and take action to reinforce people’s perceptions of your brand – e.g. quality, exotic flavours.
These associations are reflected in the ways you promote your brand too. Do you accompany your quality bakes with quality packaging, do your product photos do them justice, and do those descriptions enhance the perception of quality (if that’s what one of your brand values where).
Utilise your networks
Some entrepreneurs find it difficult to tell those closest to us about their ventures, because of fear of judging or failure, but telling your friends and family can be a great way to kickstart sales. It’s surprising how many are keen to support you by becoming customers. Starting here can also help start referrals and widen the customer network before you even start promoting on the internet.
It doesn’t even have to be friends and family, it can be local groups or the town you live in. If there is a local craft fair or similar event to get involved in that you can showcase your new business at, it can help you to form connections even with other vendors there. There may even be opportunity for collaboration.
Word-of-mouth is still as important a source of customers as it has ever been.
Have digital presence
In this age, baking businesses are making use of digital platforms like Instagram to kickstart their food venture. Take the time to use these platforms to their full potential by engaging, regularly and consistently posting top quality content and slowly but surely building a loyal customer base – that’s a goal!
You will need to source ingredients, which could just be included in your local grocery shop to start with. Once you start to grow you might want to save money by buying bulk from wholesalers. There’s plenty about and I hope to highlight some of these in future articles.
Decide on packaging
A little more tricky than ingredients but still plenty of packaging suppliers about, you will need to decide what type of packaging you will need to wrap up your bakes as well as if you need boxes or jiffy bags for postage. Creative branding comes into play here too as you get to decide how you will present your bakes if you sell online or at markets. Will you have stickers with your logo? A card? Bags? Luxury boxes?
Think about delivery
As well as adhering to distance selling regulations for food, if you would like to post bakes, you will again need appropriate packaging and also think about the costs of posting your bakes with Royal Mail or a carrier, or delivering locally yourself, or offering collections. Will you charge these separately, or build them into the price of your product?
Plan your time
You will need to consider how much time you will put into your business each week. It’s important to have a rest!
Moreover, you will need to find time to market your baking business as well as do any business administration or hygiene training around doing baking!
It may be helpful to come up with a plan, especially if you are doing this part-time or in the evenings.
Plan for profit
As well as managing your time effectively, you will also need to think about your finances. You will now have expenditures on ingredients, packaging, business and marketing costs, so you’ll want to calculate that the price you are selling your bakes will cover your costs and time! As well as give you some extra to live on and reinvest back into your business. This will come into having objectives and setting goals for yourself to facilitate the profitability of your baking business.
Of course, you could go for a not-for-profit setup, but still think about your costs and time that you put in!
Pricing isn’t just about sticking a price tag on but can be incorporated into a marketing strategy and used strategically. We’ve written about ways in which you can frame your prices to increase the perception of value, as well as some ideas of how you can increase your average order value.
These are just 10 things you should consider when starting a baking business, but don’t be afraid to get started as many of these tasks and decisions will fall into place as you plan, start and grow.