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Are you the best baker in town, but not many people know it yet? Are you ready to take your passion and hobby to the next level, and open a business? So many different types of people open up independent bakeries. But the things they have in common is a love of food and an eye for the business side of things! You want those goodies to fly out the door like hotcakes. So if you’re thinking of opening a bakery, or have one in its early stages, here are a few tips to help your business thrive.
Who do you want to be?
The very first thing you should do is decide what kind of bakery you want to be. What types of baked goods will you sell, and what will you approach to food be? How will you brand yourself? You might want to do some research here to see how your passion and skills can collide with a marketable niche in the baking industry. Perhaps you’ll make healthy alternatives to classic cakes, using local and sustainable ingredients. Or maybe you’ll create American style cupcakes that ooze with icing and decorations. You might even have a more traditional offering. Whatever it is, get firm on this first.
The next thing to consider is if you want to open up a store or run your business from home, using the internet to connect with your customers. Perhaps you’re even looking to open up a cafe with its own bakery attached? Everyone has a totally unique set up and different situations, so there really is no right or wrong here. But making these choices will influence every other decision you make, from the marketing, down to the types of products you offer.
Get out and about
To be a successful business, you have to reach out to potential customers, particularly in the early days. How will you establish a strong base of customers that are eager for your delicious treats? One idea is to get out and find them. Getting a stall at your local farmer’s market, or at a festival, can be a brilliant way of getting your product out in front of fresh eyes. Another idea is to run competitions on social media, giving away some baked goodies as a prize. Having people follow your profile, and like and share your posts, can help you to reach a wider audience online. If you’re reaching the right audience and promoting yourself well, this could mean more sales offline.
Have a speciality
If you large town or city, you may be competing against heaps of other bakeries. How can you stand out from the crowd? One idea is to have a speciality. It might help to do some research to see what the other bakeries are offering, and where there might be a gap in the market. Whether it’s exuberantly decorated doughnuts, delicate fresh pastries, or the freshest bagels in town, having a distinct offering will set you apart from the others. That’s not to say you shouldn’t offer other items, but if you provide the best baked goods in town, you’ll be the go-to place to that particular delicacy, which can help you to stick in people’s minds. Some bakers like to focus on more specialist items like birthday and wedding cakes since these can command a higher value and often attract word of mouth recommendations.
Choose quality every time
If it’s a case of offering the cheapest cakes, or the best quality cakes, nine times out of ten, you’ll want to go for the quality. Word of mouth is still important these days, and it can travel especially quick thanks to social media and review sites like TripAdvisor. Having the cheapest baked goods in town might attract a handful of people off the street, but having exceptional quality, homebaked goods will lead to legions of fans that will go out of their way to recommend you to their friends.
You need to know the costs of everything, from the price of electricity to run your shop to the current wheat prices in Australia. Otherwise, how will you know that you’re getting a competitive price and keeping your costs as low as possible?
Another way to stay ahead of the curve is to keep seeking more training. Learning new skills and techniques can only ever be a good thing. You could learn to do things more efficiently, more sustainably, or more healthily. Or you could simply learn a brand new approach to baking or decorating. Whatever it is, staying skilled up and well read in your industry can help you to remain competitive. It could even mean you’re the first baker in your area to tap into a new trend.
Don’t be afraid to experiment
Testing out new recipes is part of the joy of baking. It can also help to showcase your creativity and keep your customers coming back for more. Food is becoming increasingly fashionable, with social media making it easier for specific items to trend. Rainbow bagels, freakshakes, unicorn shaped items – the list is endless. The tricky thing is to work out when to capitalise on a trend, and when to do so would be a waste of your time and resources. Some unusual or exciting products could help you to build a name for yourself, while others will contradict your brand. For example, if you own a French patisserie, stay away from the marshmallow stuffed doughnuts.
Some trends that are probably worth considering, though, are the ones related to ‘free from’ items. The interest in vegan food is growing all the time, so having vegan-friendly items will help you to stand out and appeal to a broader audience. Having a range that caters to gluten-free diets and specific allergies will also widen your appeal and create a positive impression as a bakery that cares. Don’t be afraid to experiment, but always try to gauge your customer’s reactions, or simply ask for feedback! There’s no point trying to follow a food trend if your audience isn’t interested.
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We’re here to help you to take action just like we’ve helped thousands of other entrepreneurs, business owers and creative professionals all around the globe.
Now is the time to let your passion SHINE.
Now is the time to Make Tomorrow Today!
To your success,
Vinh Van Lam & Stuart Horrex