I find this an interesting topic, because I bake too, and locally, I have to get my kitchen "certified" if I want to cook comercially. Unfortunately, there are a lot of obstacles to overcome around here. I mae cookies, cakes, brownies, and homemade candies -- and am always being told that I should start a business selling them. If only...
I have looked into it, and I believe that it would be more hastle than it`s worth currently, but I am watching local regualations, and hoping they will lax them at least a little. I just don`t want to have to spend thousands of dollars to start a business doing something so simple as making deserts... though I am considering the idea, because of the pure number of people tat keep suggesting that I start my own, based on "birthday cakes" and the desgining that I do with my cakes and deserts. I painstakingly detailed one for a friend of mine that races nascar... complete with car, skid marks, the "Nascar" logo and his team name under it... the whole shebang for his birthday... over five hours of work put into that cake, with complimentary flavored icing adorning it. He said it was also the "moistest cake" he had ever tasted. Needless to say, he went gaga over it, and took pictures. I still haven`t heard the end of it from him -- simply because I was trying to be nice for his birthday. Haha.
Hello All. We are a small (one person operation) baking business. A few years ago, my mother in law made the suggestion that we should sell our cookies ( a cross between a biscotti and a shortbread cookie--the product has no name so we often have to describe it to people. They think its bread or sliced cake, and its also a product that you have to taste to believe.. anywho)thats how we got started. We began selling to friends and family and then turned to the farmers market. We have tried (I have to admit Im not a people person so to speak sales wise) to sell to local businesses, but due to the fact that we have no "official commercial kitchen" I don`t feel comfortable baking and selling from my home to big business. We turned our attention to the farmers markets (3 years running) and do a brisk business there. At the markets we sell the cookies and a few "items of the week" (focaccia;/pizza bread, sweet rolls, and other bread based or cake based items) These sell as well. Our problem (Im sure you were wondering when we were going to get to that ) is this. Its a catch 22 situation. We don`t have the business to afford a commercial kitchen rental, and we cant GET the busines because we dont have a commercial kitchen. A local business took our product (one that we only can sell either online or during cooler months (a chocolate dipped version of our cookie) and it sells as well as our chocolate covered brownie bites (another favorite) WHEW....my dilema is this...
(1) How can we build our business so we can become a BUSINESS
(2) How can I sell the product when Im not sure how to SELL the product
(3) How can we get website traffic to show case our product. We offer a FREE sample box so you can try before you buy
(4) Where should look for commercial space (sublease, rent, lease?)
(5) How do we go about branding our product. We have changed the logo several times and had it professionally done, but it just doesnt work with the packaging we have chosen (plastic hing containers)
Any ideas, thoughts, suggestions? I realize that we are all over the place and Im a creative individual, a hands on thinker if you will. I tend to create in the moment and seek perfection. This product has been 3 years in the making and is finally where I feel its a sellable product. But...its has no name.....
1.) Taking a hobby, and making it a business takes a few steps... Begin by creating a business plan and operational plan -- this gives you a clear-cut, concise plan for you to follow, so you can focus on what your business needs are (BAKING!). I would design a company layout, complete with responsibilities. This way, when you start bringing in help, people know what they should be doing. I would also ensure that your recipe is secure, and have a non-compete agreement ready for anyone you wanted to hire in. I would also look into the forms of a company, because it might not be such a good idea to run a sole-proprietorship -- especially with employees.
2.) Target demographics would be my solution here. Determine, WHO would be most likely to purchase your products? Once you know who you are trying to sell to, it makes your work a lot easier! Determine who, then you can tailor fit your marketing efforts to that specific demographic, and you have a slaes plan in place in no time! (This way, you don`t try to sell via website to children and preteens, or in the local toystore parkinglot to senior citizens!)
3.) For web traffic, there are a multitude of methods out there. Tey range from paid ads to link exchanges. For your business, I don`t think anyone else is in a better place to determine what is best for your business, other than you. You might try looking into programs like "Google adsense" or "Yahoo Ads", or you might try searching on a major internet search engine (Google, Yahoo, MSN, Excite, Dogpile, Etc.) for "ad placement" services.
4.) Again, this is predetermined more by how you write your business plan in step one. You need to have this part outlined within your business plan, to show how you plan to strategically grow your business. Rent, Lease, and Sub-Lease all have their good and bad, and should be reviewed carefully in their specifics to help determine which would best suit your business.
5.) There are many solutions to this, from injection molded special containers to stickers. You might also look for other methods of packaging your product. One idea a friend of mine had was to buy a "Food-saver" type of machine, and they packaged their cookies in a baggie, then melted the other side closed, and placed them in special-shaped boxes to help draw attention to them. This is ONE of many ideas you might find that could help identify your product/brand from others.
I hope this is helpful!
I would also be willing to work with you on the name, if you want, feel free to contact me!
"Creating tomorrow today!: It`s not as easy as it sounded!!!"
The sword`s real, I use it to cut through the lies I find in business and making money!