I’d like to start off by saying that this article is designed to take a different approach. Whereas anyone can tell you the fundamentals of running a business, I thought I’d venture out a bit and talk about what you would need to start a specific business. In this case, a bakery. The concepts that are discussed here can be applied for any business.
Mmm, the smell of freshly baked muffins can be detected for miles. As a bakery owner, you delight in knowing that people from all over catch a whiff of your latest batch, and it brings you many new and long-term customers.
To get your bakery off the ground, you need to be a great baker and a good business person, as producing and selling goods require multiple skill sets. Having experience in both areas before you start your own bakery will certainly give you the edge, though there’s no reason that you can’t pick up what you need as you go.
Don’t waste your time using sub-par machinery or second rate ingredients. For a baker, your number one priority should be quality. Your customers will recognize that you offer a quality, tasty product, and they will likely come to buy again. Getting repeat business is crucial to your success as a baker, as eventually the one-time sales will begin to drop off. If you haven’t established a reliable and supportive client base, you may quickly find yourself in a lot of trouble.
What should you focus on, from a business perspective?
- Location. Get a good location that is central to either a commercial or residential area. Do not start up in an area dominated by industry, as you are much less likely to get any walk-in traffic. When you are first starting, walk-in traffic will likely be the only source of your income.
- Creativity.What can you offer that your competitors don’t? Thinking outside the box will be paramount, and offering products that are not or rarely offered will set you apart from your competition. If you’re a dog lover, why not offer custom dog treats? Americans spend billions of dollars per year on their pets, and if you could find a recipe that made little Fido go crazy, you can bet that their owners will stream in to buy them.
- Dependability. If a customer orders a birthday cake, make sure that it is ready by the time that you quoted them. This may be hard to do until you hire reliable staff, but it is critical in gaining the trust of the community that you are in. Once people begin to realize that you are a dependable and high quality baker, your business will leap. You will no longer become a novelty, but rather an accepted member of the community.
- Honesty. Don’t make promises that you can’t meet. Offering ice-cream cakes, for example, can be hard to do if you don’t have a large enough freezer.
Finding a good mix of those four qualities will make you desirable, as well as develop a solid reputation for you. And, even though that no one is perfect, you should focus on meeting all of the expectations and commitments that you can. A satisfied customer, on average, tells 3 people about their experience. An unsatisfied customer, on average, tells 10.
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