Starting a bakery and then running one is no easy task. Unlike most businesses that operate on a normal schedule, bakeries have to do a lot of the most important work through the night. Those bagels and baguettes aren’t going to bake themselves, after all. And while bakeries may be an overlooked aspect of the economy, they’re not. Bakeries account for about $311.0 billion in total economic output and 2.1% of the GDP, according to the American Bakers Association.
There is a market to be tapped, but it takes diligence, patience and the right business moves to get a bakery off the ground.
Here are half a dozen tips for bakeries that are just starting out:
Understand how to run a business: Being a baker, you have a unique and specific craft. Similar to a florist or a chef, your craft is what is going to drive sales and revenue at your business. However, many business owners with a special craft often go into business without any existing entrepreneurial acumen, which can inevitably lead to problems. Make sure that, as a business owner, you understand the basics of running a small business such as business plans, budgeting, taxes, and small business loans. It may be wise to enroll in local business or entrepreneurial classes to get a feel for what it takes to own and operate a small business.
Spread your brand: While spreading frosting on capes and cupcakes is necessary, you also need to focus on spreading your bakery’s brand. This can be done in a myriad of ways. Firstly, because you specialize in food, you’ll want to hand out free samples of your product on a regular basis. There isn’t anything customer love more than the word “free,” after all. Additionally, you can do other things such as selling your product at local events such as a fair or a sporting event. Finally, work with local news outlets (print, radio, TV) to advertise your business.
Social media: Social media can play a crucial role in your bakery’s success. Traditional platforms such as Facebook and Twitter offer you the opportunity to engage with customers while posting content relating to your bakery and your products. Also, your bakery should be utilizing mediums such as Instagram and Pinterest as much as or even more so than Facebook and Twitter. Because the products you sell have a high visual quality, you can utilize Instagram to post photos of the baked goods you make. Also, by opening a Pinterest account, you can share tips and tricks on making simple treats. Of course, you don’t want to give out all your secrets, but you can offer some simple recipes for customers to do at home.
Gluten free: Whether customers have an allergy to gluten or not, the whole “gluten-free” craze is becoming a large part of our eating culture. That’s why you should consider offering gluten-free products at your store. It may be more expensive for you in the long run, so proper research may be in order to see if there is an actual demand for gluten-free baked goods in your area. We know, we know. It sounds like sacrilege. But trust us, the hipsters will love it.
Buy used equipment: Your equipment is your best asset, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend most of your capital on brand new equipment and machines. It’s okay if you’re oven was previously owned, especially if you’re just starting out.
Get funding if you need it: It’s common for new business owners to need additional working capital even after they’ve paid off the startup loan they received. You’ll find that having additional money for things such as inventory, equipment and payroll can instantly help your business grow and expand.
So that’s it! Now is the time for you to get your bakery up and running. For more small business tips, visit the Capify blog at capify.com/blog.