Have you suddenly found yourself in Coronavirus Lockdown with orders cancelled or postponed, and now you’re twiddling your thumbs wondering what you can do? Well here are 5 ways to work ON your cake business whilst you can’t work IN your business.
- Review your processes
- Do you really know your Ideal Client?
- Goal Setting
- Social Media Audit
- Content Planning
So many cake businesses grow naturally. We rarely give ourselves time to step back from the business and truly look to see if what we are doing is effective or useful. How many seemingly successful cake business have you seen close, because the owner says ‘its just not worth the time and effort anymore’? With these 5 ways to work on your cake business you can make a difference and NOT become one of those closed businesses. Now is when you can streamline your processes, make your marketing work properly and be a better business person.
5 ways you can work ON your Cake Business during this down time:
1: Review your Processes
This means everything from clearing out your cupboards to streamlining your admin.
For example, when you bake do you have to faff around to get your pans out? Is your flour or sugar in a spot that’s tricky to get to? Do you keep pulling out ‘out of date’ ingredients from the store cupboard? Well now is the time to sort that out!
Go through your production process, your ingredients cupboards, your workspace and ask is it really working well for you? How can you make it work better? Many of us waste valuable time on the smallest of things, now is the time to review those things and save time in the long run.
Do you look at a list of emails you just don’t have time to deal with straight away? Do you wish you had an auto responder to let people know you’re there and will deal with them just as soon as you’ve stopped baking? Do you find yourself repeatedly writing the same emails to customer enquiries? Do you have a pile of paperwork that you really should sort out, because if it was all in the right place you know it would work quicker for you…..well now is the time to sort this stuff out!!!
Get that auto responder written, get email templates written, sort and file that paper work, streamline your filing system, declutter your computer!
Now is the time you can take a step back and make your business work smarter for you! Work through your process from initial client contact to delivery. Go step by step, is it really working as smart as it can be? Now is the time to make it work smarter and make your life easier when all of this is over. DO IT NOW!!!
2: Do you really know your ideal client?
Do you even know what an ideal client is? Your ideal client is NOT just ‘someone who wants a cake’. Your ideal client is the person YOU really want to make cakes for. Your ideal client is who all your marketing and social media content should be aimed at. When I discovered this it was a real light bulb moment. Suddenly everything I was doing had a focus.
Sit down and write who your ideal client is. Get to know them intimately – How old are they? What do they do for a living? Where do they live? What kind of property do they live in? What do the like doing in their spare time? What are their aspirations? Do they have kids? Do they want kids? Do they have pets and what pets are they? You can even give them names…..mine are called Jess and Matt!
Now these aren’t real people. But they could be. They could be the ones that you sell too, and they are definitely the ones you WANT to sell to.
Once you know your ideal client you can focus all your marketing and social media content to appeal to them. All of your content from Facebook and Instagram Stories, main social media posts and blog posts can all be targeted to appeal to your ideal client.
People buy from People
People buy from people, and if you strike a chord with someone, not just for your cakes, but with your interests and activities, they will feel more comfortable contacting you. Some customers don’t know they are your customers yet, but if they know they like you because of your posts, then when they do need a cake they will remember you.
Now of course not all of your clients will be your ideal client, but it focusses you and your marketing, and eventually you will get more ideal clients and get more cakes that you enjoy making.
There is a huge amount of information online regarding Ideal Clients, now is the time to get and read all about it.
3: Goal Setting
Have you set goals for your business? Have you set them for this year? How in depth have you gone into setting them?
Many people set goals at the beginning of the year, but quite often they’re not planned through. It’s great that you set a goal – such as I’d like to be making 10 cakes a week by June, but have you planned and broken down how you’re going to get there?
Now is the time to structure your goals. Of course I know you can’t put actual dates down, but perhaps set time scales such as ‘6 months after this is all over I want to…..’. Then write a plan, break it down. So rather than 10 cakes a week in 6 months, plan 3 cakes a week in month 1, 4 cakes a week in month 2, and write what you are going to do to achieve these goals.
Write a marketing plan and write an admin plan. Who are you going to market too? What marketing channels are you going to use? Are you going to pay for advertising? Are going to attend fairs, markets, do flyer drops etc etc
Write is down, plan now and hold yourself accountable!
4: Social Media Audit
Many cake makers use social media as their main form of advertising. It’s a very big part of mine. But until I did a full audit of my social media channels it was all a bit hit and miss. I would scatter bomb posts and hope they got seen.
If you have business pages you will have the ability to see the Insights of your posts. If your page isn’t a business page, I suggest you go and set it to one now. Then study the insights and get to know your audience. Look at the profile of those looking at your posts, and see if they align with your ideal client? If it isn’t consider why? Are your posts appropriate for your audience? Are you posting at the right time? Are you using the right captions and hashtags?
For example, I have learnt that Facebook and Instagram work for me for 2 different reason. Facebook is local, and with posting in targeted local groups I get a good response on my online Handbaked Cakes by Post range. In contrast I post on Instagram to get to my ideal Bespoke Cake clients, as that’s where they hang out. I know I am getting to the correct age, location and interests of my ideal client, because I’ve checked the Insights. I don’t bother with Twitter, my clients don’t hang out there.
I have also recently started dabbling in Pinterest, and am testing different content to see the response I get. However its looking pretty good, with over 60% of my website clicks coming from Pinterest in the past week.
5: Content Planning
After you’ve done your Social Media Audit, now you can plan your content. There are several online planners out there, some have paid options, some have free limited options. I’ve been using Tailwind, but it’s not the only one. There is also Planoly, Later and Hootesuite to name a few. Facebook and Pinterest both have in app scheduling that you can utilise for free, or if you’re a bit more analogue write it down in a nice notebook or diary.Best Sellers in Stationery & Office Supplies
I see so many cake makers post all of their cakes on a Sunday evening or Monday morning. Sometimes 4 or 5 posts, one after the other. Is this really the best use of your efforts? Why not spread your posts out. Start using the Insights and testing when your audience is online. Try to post at optimum times to get maximum exposure.
However, whilst timing is important, it’s not the be-all and end-all. Take a hard look at what you are posting. Do you post every single cake you make? Even the ones you didn’t actually enjoy making? Ask yourself why you do that, it can’t be because you want someone to see it and ask you to make it again?
If your ideal client never watches football, and actually you really hate making football cakes, then don’t ever post them! I make more cakes than I post online. It’s not because they are bad cakes, but they don’t talk to my ideal client, and as much as possible I don’t want to advertise them. The less I post the cakes I don’t want to make, the fewer orders I get for them. The more I post cakes I do want to make, the more orders I get for them.
Curate your Feed
And while you’re there…..why not delete the cakes from your feed that you don’t like or want to make. Customers will, and do, scroll through your feed. You need to go back and curate a feed of posts that truly represent you, your business and your ideal client. I once went through my Instagram feed and deleted over half of the posts. And whilst a little part of me cried because my hard work wasn’t being seen, I was much more comfortable that the feed that was left was more representative of who I am.
Planning content includes everything from Blog posts, to Social Media Feeds and Stories. Sometimes you may need to make new content and that’s when you can get creative. For example if you are making a new dummy cake, why not take pictures of the design process, or a timelapse of the decorating process, or maybe film yourself filling and stacking a cake. Have a look at other peoples feeds that you like and see what they do that you enjoy so much and do your own versions. Have fun with it!!
There is a whole other key subject of ‘niching down’, and I may write another post about that soon, but one way you can start to niche is to plan to post content that’s attractive to your ideal client and that you really enjoy making.
But why should you listen to me?
I have been making cakes professionally, and running a cake business for 10 years. 3 years ago I was running a successful business. I was living in Hampshire and had a cake shop, tea room and bakery. However, my husband and I weren’t happy where we were living so decided to sell up and move back to Surrey, where we were living 3 years earlier.
The plan was to sell the tea shop business and the house, and pass the bespoke cake business to Sammie as a Hampshire Franchise. My husband and I would move to Surrey and I would start building my own bespoke cake business there again.
The Tea Shop sold and Sammie took over the Bespoke business in Hampshire, but as our house was quite a specialist buy (500 year old cottage, thatched roof, no gas or mains drainage, 3 log burners for heating) it took a lot longer to sell…..TWO years longer!! So effectively, my business was on hold. After crying a little, I got on with learning how to be a better business woman.
I realised that although my business was successful I wasn’t working smart. I ended up burnt out and ready to give up. I was given a golden opportunity to learn that with a bit of effort I could make the business work for me, and I could enjoy it more than I ever did before. Now I’m back in Surrey and business was looking good, but again, due to Covid-19, it’s all on hold and the above ‘5 way to work on your cake business’ is exactly what I’m doing…again!!
I am also offering my experience to other cake making businesses in the form of Mentoring and Cake Business Coaching. Get in touch for more information.