A knack for delicious creations and a bit of a sweet tooth may be at the heart of any entrepreneur who wants to open their own bakery. Bakeries are the perfect business venture for anyone who wants to express themselves creatively. Before you jump into buying bags of flour and butter to astound people with your baking prowess, there are some things you need to know before opening a bakery. Here are 16 tips to get you started.
1. A Plan Forms a Solid Foundation
Would you live in a home knowing that it had no foundation? Probably not. So how could you run a business without one? Many people totally underestimate the importance of a solid plan, especially if they have been visualizing running their business for years. A plan will keep you on track as regards your business idea, your finances, and marketing as well as any investment necessary.
Having a business plan will also help you set milestones that your bakery will accomplish. You can set these milestones to be in 6-month, 1 year, 5 years or even 10-year gaps. You also need to think through an exit strategy. This will ensure that even after you try all that you can, should things not work in your favor, you can close your bakery with minimal losses.
2. You Need A Niche
There is no point in trying to create one of every baked type of food that you know. You may believe that having the most extensive variety of baked products will bring you the most customers. However, this may not work in your favor. It would be far better for you to have one niche product that you create.
Decide what you love about baking. It could be vegan delicacies, cupcakes, baked desserts, or even delicious loaves of bread. Make sure you decide what type of products you want to create, and then have variations within the category.
3. Decide on A Location
Around a decade ago, almost all bakeries had a physical location. Normally, this would be a shop where customers could purchase their baked goods and eat them on site. Today, things have changed, and the range of potential locations is astounding. You can decide where you want your bakery located based on your budget or your long-term goal for the bakery.
With a lower budget, you can start off with an online bakery, where people can make orders, and you deliver your baked goods to them. This is an ideal option if you want to operate from home. Visual stimulation will be your winning tool. You may also need to amplify your photography skills or hire a professional to help you take excellent images.
A little more in your budget can afford you counter space. Here, you have a commercial space that is limited in size, and small – usually the size of a large shelf. These can be in food courts, or may even be found within other establishments, like juice shops. You can pre-bake your products and then have them on display for people to walk in and purchase. With this option, baking does not happen on site.
There is a sit-down option, which is what you will find with many larger bakeries. Here, you can simply have a stunning display and a place where people can sit down and enjoy your baked goods. Another option would include an expansion to this with a kitchen available as well. This would enable the baked goods to be made on-site for a fresher, warmer, experience for the customers.
A hipster option that is rapidly growing is getting a food truck that offers mobility and allows you to conveniently reach your customers where they are. Bakers who specialize in providing desserts like to try out food trucks. This is an excellent option if you are well versed in making use of social media for your marketing. You can then alert potential customers on your planned route so that in addition to finding them, they know where to find you.
4. Figure Out Your Financing
Individuals who look to open any business will either need to find a source of finance or have accumulated savings that they can use to get started. Sources of funding include loans from banks or even small business associations. As a startup type of business, it is possible to get a loan that has a low-interest rate.
It is worth noting that these loans take time to process, so you will need to be patient if this is your first option. A small business loan is typically given by small business associations, and these require one to have some collateral for the loan. The interest rates are low, allowing the business to grow more quickly. They also have an extensive process to follow before approval is given.
A business owner who does not prefer loans may choose a line of credit instead. This is the ideal solution if you are looking for funds that can subsidize or add on to your savings for the bakery. You will get smaller amounts that a loan, but you will have access to funds fast. Furthermore, you will pay some interest on the credit you use, like a credit card. Paying your balances on time will enable you to consistently get access to more credit.
5. Discover the Trends
Just as there are trends in fashion, there are also trends in baking. When choosing to open the bakery, make sure you are aware of the trends and follow them to the best of your ability. Being trendy has a direct correlation to making profits. Wondering about an example of trends, or even changes in the industry? Right now, customers are heavily focused on their health and are seeking Vegan or Gluten-Free options for their meals. There are also those who prefer organic baked goods.
Some years back it was the cupcake craze, and before that everything was whole wheat. With whatever baked goods that you want to create, make sure that you consider varieties that fit the trends customers are looking for.
Check out “5 Tips for Branding a Small Business” to see helpful info methods to brand your business with the right image.
6. Get Your Equipment in Place
Specialized equipment is essential for running a successful bakery right from the beginning. Once you have become clear about your service offering, it will be easier to narrow down on exactly what equipment you need. Equipment falls into two categories, like software and hardware with your computer. The software is all the things required behind the scenes to ensure that you can create and deliver a great product. Hardware involves all the different ingredients you will need to create your baked goods.
Equipment includes the following:
Baking equipment – Ovens which may include revolving or convection ovens.
Small ware – In addition to the large equipment like the ovens, these include tools such as knives, plates, etc.
Storage – Depending on the types of goods you are creating, these could include large cold rooms or freezers, or cool, dry places to store dry materials like flour.
Prep Areas – Your prep areas could include a large tabletop, as well as smaller electronic equipment. For example, you could have mixers, scales, proofing cabinets, and more.
Display Cases – Point of sale has special equipment needs such as display cases where customers can see what you have to offer. Options often include non-refrigerated and refrigerated options. They are great for adding an element of style to your bakery.
Cleaning Area – The cleaning area requires a good number of sinks for keeping all the dishes clean. You will also need a space for simple washing of hands and storing all your essential cleaning materials.
Inventory – Accumulate the right ingredients to get you started with creating your products. Once you have them, you will be able to kick off sales and then use profits to get some more.
7. Look & Feel is a Deal Breaker
With books, the saying is that you should never judge a book by its cover. With a bakery, this does not apply. The visual journey to getting customers to buy begins with the menu, whether printed on the wall or held in hand. It is worth investing in a professional designer so that your offering can make a good impression.
8. Price Has Layers to It
When one decides to open a bakery and set prices for their baked goods, they may base their pricing on the cost of their supplies. Therefore, the profit only takes into consideration this one factor. However, this could quickly result in massive losses and the breakdown of the business. Setting price requires paying attention to layers. One should consider adding an element of time that it takes to make the products to the price. The rent being charged should also be factored in, as should marketing spend. The packaging is also a factor that should be considered. Taking the time to break everything down will lead to a more comprehensive and realistic price.
9. It’s All About the Money
Bakers open bakeries to make money – and not just money, profit as well. If you have that passion for baking and want to make massive profits too, you may need to seriously think about which products to sell. Bakeries that sell bread make the most revenue, as bread is something that people purchase daily. This is followed by cakes since people will buy them for a myriad of occasions. Other fast sellers include rolls and desserts.
10. Create a Marketing Plan
Your delectable donuts could be to die for. Your creamy cheesecake could conquer all. If no one knows about them, then the only person who will enjoy all they have to offer is you. This means that you need a marketing plan in place. With a marketing plan, you will adequately allocate resources, including money and time. When money as a subject is raised, a bakery owner, especially one who only has experience in baking may shy away. However, there are several options that are low cost and highly effective.
Consider these three options. Write about your bakery through a blog. A blog will allow you to share pictures as well as write posts about all the products that you create. You can also network using different groups. There are those which you will find on your mobile devices like WhatsApp, or you could join small business groups that meet locally in your area. The more people that know about your offering, the better.
Social media is also great if it is done right. Rather than trying to be everywhere, you should instead choose one social media site that you are familiar with. Make sure you post often, and consistently. This way, customers will look forward to what you must share and are more likely to follow you.
Check out “How Does Branding Help Grow Your Company or Business?” to see more tips on marketing for your business.
11. Know Your Customer
This section is not about breaking down a person by age, gender or even preference. This is more about people who may take advantage of your bakery rather than offer you the support that you need. These would be those closest to you, your friends and your family.
They are more likely to ask for discounts or special considerations when it comes to price. In the worst-case scenario, they may even ask for a product for free so that they can get others to taste them as a marketing tool. Remember, you are in business to meet a goal whether financial or even to grow your craft. Have a policy in place that will help to control family and friends so that they do not take advantage of your young bakery.
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12. Focus on Your Other Customers
Lots of customers can be great, and repeat customers are even better. When opening your bakery, right from day one, the aim should be to foster relationships, build loyalty and get as many repeat customers as possible. This calls for strategies in place that will keep customers happy. This will authentically happen if customers have a memorable experience. Feedback mechanisms need to be in place so that customers can critically review services, and share how they would suggest an improvement.
13. Don’t Walk Alone
You may be tempted to go on this journey alone and control your bakery in every possible aspect. Doing this will mean that there are some gaps within the business, as it is not possible to do everything. The lead owner of the bakery needs to be clear about their role. Either they are the baker, or the marketer, they offer customer service or take orders or just run things from the back end. Having at least one person to help when you start off is essential so that everything can be done.
14. Get It Right the First Time
There is one aspect of business that many do not consider when opening their own bakery, and that is an experience. Being a business owner and having a passion does not mean you will be successful. Before you get started, get some experience first. Work in another bakery for at least a year to see how the operations are done.
Within that time, you will also get a good understanding of the challenges faced and the different ways that they can be addressed. With experience, you will understand what quantities you should produce to prevent waste and the best ways that you can always serve a fresh product. Working in a bakery also gives you the chance to learn from other skilled bakers.
15. Know Your Competition
Your bakery will not be the first or only bakery that is open in your area. Bakeries are almost as old as time. This means that you will face competition when you choose to open your bakery. Understand what their product offerings are and their unique selling points.
The best way to be better than a competing bakery is to offer better value. This means that even though your prices may be higher if customers perceive that they are getting better value from you, they will keep coming back. Value could be measured in terms of flavor, customer service, and even location.
16. It Takes Hard Work
For sure opening a bakery will take hard work, that is something definite. It will take time for the bakery to pick up. You will need to make some sacrifices especially when it comes to time. Expect to be working each day for at least 18 hours daily, and let the family know that you need this time to get the business going. You will be fully responsible for the results of your business as well as all the challenges that arise.
Now you know all the ingredients that you need to open a successful bakery. Remember that the bakery is an extension of your personality. The same care that you would give yourself, including nurturing and growth, is ideal for your bakery. There are days that will be tough for sure, even in the planning process. However, keeping the end goal in mind guarantees that you will achieve an ideal result. Just make sure that you mix your bakery ingredients well, and you will be good to go.
Take a look at “9 Tips to Help You Be More Positive at Work” and find motivation to keep your staff going at your establishment.
Thank you for reading with us today! Be sure to also check out similar content to benefit your bakery like “How to Schedule Employees at a Restaurant or Cafe” or “How to Structure Employee Vacation Policy.
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