So You Want To Start a Bakery?
You love to bake. It's fun!
Your friends and family love your baked goods.
You see bakeries and think, "I could do that--even better."
You already have a cute name for your business.
There is more to the baking business than this--so much more.
a. Required License: Every state requires certification. The requirements for PA are here: https://extension.psu.edu/food-for-profit-home-food-processing-limited-food-establishments
b. Required Liability Insurance
c. Required Zoning Approval
d. Required Tax Compliance
a. Responsibility: Bakery Business is not a "once in a while" business. You have to develop consistent, disciplined processes and most times it won't matter if you're tired, if you have quasi emergencies, if your feet hurt, or if you'd rather be doing something else. You have responsibilities and commitments to customers and they become a priority.
(**Oh, and holidays? You won't be enjoying them with your family. You will be working).
b. Hiring Employees?: Fact: Nobody cares as much as you do and it's hard to find consistent, dependable help. When you are doing custom (bespoke) baked goods, you can't delegate this process. It's time consuming, tedious, a labor of love and it's hard to trust someone else's standards.
a. Customer Defined: Your daily work is dictated by your customers - orders, deliveries.
b. Standardize Processes: Standardize as many procedures as you can, like--gathering baking ingredients, ordering and putting together packaging, baking timeframes, pre making designs, cleaning (constantly).
c. Continual Learning: The old adage that applies is "Sharpen the saw". It's important to continually learn and perfect new techniques, new ideas, and new designs.
a. Criticism is inevitable: Criticism is one of the hardest parts of the baking business because you are trying to make it special for your customers--lots of thought, long hours--all working towards your own definition of perfection. But...not everybody will love it every time because tastes and designs are subjective.
b. Discern Criticism: Learn from legitimate criticism and improve. Ignore petty criticism.
Don't let petty criticisms derail your dream.
a. Costs: Baking well is expensive. Quality ingredients are expensive. Equipment is expensive. Packaging is expensive. Transport is expensive. Insurance is expensive. Taxes are expensive. Maintenance is expensive.
b. Business Acumen: It's not easy to make money in a bakery as you may think. You can't measure your business by having bake sale mentality. (Inexpensive ingredients, once in a while baking, or seran wrap packaging). Look for high quality wholesale supplies, make & bake with integrity, continually learn from the best AND price your products for sustainability.
So, here's the gold...
BE ABLE TO ANSWER THESE TWO QUESTIONS:
Q: Differentiate your business: What makes you different?
Q: Distinguish your business: What makes you better?
Be specific. What makes you different than other bakeries? What makes your cakes, cupcakes, etc. different than anyone else's?
What makes you better than other bakeries? What makes your cakes, cupcakes, etc. better than anyone else's?
**"My grandma's recipe"? No. Everybody has grandma's recipe. Specifically, what makes grandma's recipe different/better?
**"Quality ingredients"? No. Everybody says that. Specifically, what ingredients do you use that is different/better.
**Compare yourself to the best--and it's not necessarily local.
When you dream, dream big...
and gather as much information as you can so you can enjoy making your dream come true.
-Ellan & Ella