Top Ten Tips for a Successful Bakery
Running a successful bakery takes more than clocking in at 5 am and churning out delicious treats. The food industry is highly competitive with dozens of new bakers coming on the scene every year. There are a few things you can do to stand out and become truly successful as a baker.
FLIP Insurance has identified ten of the top ways a bakery can succeed in today’s hyper-competitive world.
1 - Protect Your Investment
Nothing will cause a bakery business to shutter their doors quicker than a lawsuit and the financial fallout. Even if you’ve done nothing wrong, legal fees mount quickly and can wipe out your operating expenses.
Having bakers insurance is one way you can keep your ovens hot and your cash register ringing. The bakery who plans ahead and prepares for emergencies, is the bakery that keeps the lights on and is able to move on to eventual success. Your bakery is your dream. Don’t let a potential liability risk turn into a nightmare. FLIP Insurance can help your small bakery business obtain coverage for both general and product liability. Plus, you can purchase liability insurance with free additional insureds if you are a food truck or mobile concession trailer.
2 - Diversify
Having multiple income streams is a sure fire way to ensure success. Even if one income stream dries up or is seasonal, having diverse income sources can mitigate the losses.
Bakeries have a ton of options when diversifying their small businesses. Mobile dessert food trucks are popular in many cities and companies often contract with bakers to provide catering services. Consider adding an online storefront and sell your baked goodies through the internet.
When diversifying, make sure to assess your capabilities, workflow management, and the costs associated with expanding. A steady expansion is more sustainable than a rapid rise. You don’t want to create an unsustainable surge in business and deflate like a bad souffle.
3 - Build A Social Media Following
Mobile bakery food trucks can put a Twitter handle on their truck so customers can follow you and find you wherever you are parked. Connect with your customers on Facebook and offer enticing deals or showcase your special of the day. Link in with other small business owners on LinkedIn and look for new opportunities to cater such as important business meetings or upcoming fairs and conferences.
4 - Add A Website
Having an online presence legitimizes your bakery business. Build a website and optimize it with searchable terms that match your business such as “Wedding Cakes Utah”. This is called Search Engine Optimization or SEO for short. A good SEO strategy will help people searching for bakery products in your area find your bakery.
If websites or SEO writing is not your forte, consider contracting with a professional to help you build and maintain your site. Your website can also become a storefront if you are interested in mailing your bakery products nationally. To mail internationally, check customs rules and regulations before offering those services.
5 - Network! Network! Network!
Asking for referrals or introductions is one of the swiftest ways you can build a bakery business and become more successful. Form partnerships with other small businesses and take advantage of their networks to spread your influence even further.
Become a thought leader in your space. Blog about the ins and outs of running a bakery business, mentor other new bakers, offer baking classes, and post baking recipes and tips online.
6 - Collaborate With Your Community
Develop strong policies about charitable giving and friends and family requests. You don’t want to give away your shop for free, but strategically choosing charitable opportunities can reap huge dividends. One local bakery contacted the nearby elementary school and offered to host class field trips. She gave students a coupon and gained hundreds of new customers when the student’s parents came to her bakery to redeem them.
7 - Put A Twist On It
Small bakeries have to really stand out from the others in order to succeed. Consider offering gluten-free options or becoming the only nut-free bakery in your area. Maybe your mobile dessert truck is the only bakery offering doughnuts and coffee around town. Be different, spark a conversation, show the unique creative side of yourself.
8 - Get Feedback
Your customers are your best source for feedback and review. Listen carefully to any complaints and be responsive. It’s far easier to retain a customer than it is to attract a new one. Post online surveys, ask what items are favorites, take requests, and really understand what your customers are looking for, then provide it.
When offering a new food item, ask your customers to rate it. Offer two new food items at a time and analyze which gets the most sales. Consider adding a high-demand seasonal item to your regular menu if you can obtain the ingredients all year long.
9 - Hire Help When You Need It
Burnout is a serious problem for bakers. The early morning hours, the long hard days, the hot ovens, and the usual demands of running a small business in a competitive market can drive even the most dedicated baker out of the business. To be successful and stay successful, you can’t be all things to all people at all times. Hire help and regularly assess employee performance. Take time off to recharge your batteries and practice good self-care.
10 - Pay Yourself First
It’s tempting to throw all your earned money back into your business, but there are a few things you should do to secure your future. All bakers should invest a portion of their income into retirement savings. Plan for emergencies and purchase health, life, and disability insurance just in case things go wrong. Have an exit strategy for your business when you retire. Will you leave your bakery business to your children or to a loyal employee? Will you franchise? Make a plan for every contingency and your business will thrive.
Do you have any success tips or tricks for your fellow bakers? Are you a small business owner who has followed one of these tips and have a story to tell? Have you ever gone without liability insurance and then regretted it? FLIP wants to hear your stories. Tell us about your most successful moments and your biggest regrets.
Want to know more about FLIP’s insurance programs for bakers, mobile food trucks, or at-home bakery’s? Just take a look at FLIP’s bakers insurance program for more information!