Talented home bakers often turn their sizzling flair into a profitable business. Do your cupcakes get a standing ovation? Are your brownies the talk of the town? If so, then opening a retail bakery might be a fitting choice. Nonetheless, you shouldn’t go rushing in. If you’re ill-prepared, you might bite off more than you can chew.
If you’ve always dreamed of opening a retail bakery and you feel ready to go for it – we applaud your boldness. However, if you’re looking at this venture through rose-colored glasses, you might end up disappointed. Owning a bakery requires hard work and a lot of sacrifices. You can’t imagine your day-to-day business will look like a montage from a rom-com.
Therefore, prepare yourself. Here are six things to think about before opening a retail bakery.
Baking Is A Cutthroat Business
If you’re going to operate a successful bakery, you have to be able to endure everything people throw at you.
Firstly, the whole process of starting out will be frustrating. It will even seem too hard at times. Furthermore, things will only get tougher when you open. Everyone will feel entitled to tell you what you’re doing wrong, and they’ll pick your business apart – from the first biscuit to the last cupcake.
Therefore, you’ll need thicker skin. People will say bad stuff just for the sake of saying it. Don’t listen to them, just keep going. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consider constructive criticism. Acknowledge well-meaning advice, but don’t take negative feedback personally.
You Need A Solid Foundation
Oh, yes, you know that you want to put your raspberry coconut muffins front and center in your display. That’s great. However, that isn’t a business plan.
To avoid having a short-lived bakery that crashes and burns (pun intended) you have to make a solid business plan. Your passion is the main ingredient, but, money matters, as well. Therefore, figure out how you’re going to finance your ticket out of a dull, corporate job and into the icing-filled land.
So, forget the color scheme for a second, and consider how much money this adventure will cost. Can you afford that? Where will you open the bakery? How many employees do you need? Where will you get the equipment?
These are all questions that you need to answer.
When The Price Is Right
A crucial part of your plan should be pricing. You have to figure out how much you are going to charge for your baked goodies. Furthermore, you have to find the right balance in pricing. Know your worth, but don’t go overboard. Your family might consider your cakes priceless, but customers will quickly give you a reality check, and you’ll be left with an empty order ledger.
Furthermore, get acquainted with all the costs you’ll have. You can’t form a price just based on ingredients and the time it takes you to make an item. The packaging and cleaning also cost money, and so does promotion. That should also go into forming a price. Did you think you’ll just wing it? Think again.
Put On Your Bossy Pants
Opening a retail bakery is not a solo mission. You’ll need employees, a manager, and additional help such as an accountant. Therefore, you have to be prepared to be the boss.
Being the boss isn’t easy. Telling people what to do, or telling them they did something wrong is difficult. However, it’s crucial for success. The bakery is your dream, and you have to fight for it. Sometimes, that entails being the person who makes the hard decisions. You have to manage people, delegate responsibilities, hire and, sometimes, fire people. Think whether you’re capable of doing that.
Baking Is Not A 9-To-5 Job
If you’re opening a retail bakery, say goodbye to lounging. This kind of business will eat up ALL of your time. You’ll have to pull long shifts, and, as the owner, you’ll have to be on top of everything constantly.
That means that you won’t spend your days happily making fudge while humming to the radio. Some days will be like that. However, most days will be a frenzy of trying to juggle baking and managing people and orders, while also filling out paperwork.
You Have To Fight To Get Noticed
You can’t copy others. The way to success is to offer something new to the market. Be original, and put your own twist on good old baked goods. Make it personal.
Furthermore, be loud. Promote your business and your products everywhere. Your talent will only get you so far, but clever marketing will take you all the way! You can’t be shy and wait for people to validate your talent and effort on their own. Instead, shove your cupcakes in their faces, metaphorically speaking.
Use social media to the fullest extent. Promote your business locally. Consider developing an “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” sort of a relationship with other local businesses.
These are just some of the things to think about before opening a retail bakery. In the end, it will be your dedication, sweat, and tears that turn an idea into a profitable business. Therefore, consider everything and plan ahead. And then – get baking!