A New Year = Time To Shape Up!?
Nope, I'm not talking about dieting fads and gym memberships, we can shape up with CAKE! I get comments all the time saying 'where do you find your awesome clients?, I wish I had orders like this!' The key is to SHAPE YOUR BUSINESS!
If you are 100% happy with how your business works then you can stop reading now, this is only to answer the above question!
I'm guessing you own your own cake business? You have built it from the ground up through blood, sweat and tears? You have worked so hard on it and it's all YOURS so why not get it JUST how you want it? Let me explain. Little Cherry Cake Company doesn't offer: Cupcakes - those darn things are far too time consuming Squares - I prefer the look of round cakes!
Sports Cakes - I'm not really a fan of sport - so they would bore me to death Diamante trim - Been there done that, I will only use it if it's going to look nice. Plastic toppers/butterflies - I like to hand make as much as I can - but there are a few exceptions. Rainbow coloured Sponge - Ain't nobody got time fo dat!
So far it seems I have pretty much ruled myself out of a ton of orders right? Maybe. But if I get to make a Ghostbusters cake instead of a Football cake, I don't mind one bit. You 'shape' your business into how you want it to be by being a little firmer with what you will and will not do. I know, it can come across a little arrogant, but you have worked so hard, and life is too short sometimes to stand for days doing something your heart just isn't in to, especially when that time is pulling you away from family.
You have your own little rules in life right? If you don't like sprouts, you don't eat them, if you don't like piercings, you don't get them. If you want to have a style, or be known for a certain look then all you have to do is make it happen! So where do you start shaping? Let me show you some REALLY old images from the Little Cherry archives. It's ok, you can laugh (alot!) :D
What's that you say? You can see sports, plastic toppers, AND squares!?! Yes, I've actually done ALL of those things I have listed in the past. At the time, the clients were happy, and I was happy to make them! It's only now that I look back to these, and the stuff I make today and I know I will never make any like these again as it's just not my 'style' anymore. I wanted to make cakes based on stuff I really liked, and that chance was given to me through a Cake International competition back in 2013. I entered for the very first time, and chose the wedding category. I made a cake based on the film 'Labyrinth' with David Bowie, a huge fav film of mine and up until then NO-ONE had ever ordered anything close to it. I needed to make this for MYSELF as nobody was going to order one at that point!
You want to know what happened after this? This....THIS is what happened:
So many Labyrinth orders! AND I have another Labyrinth cake in progress this week! Then from there, once people knew that a Labyrinth cake was possible 'How about Mario? Can we have that? Erm...hell yes!
Make the cakes YOU enjoy the most, it will show, AND attract like-minded clients. But how can I turn away orders when I need the money? Yep, it's tough, and not something that can be done overnight, but you will get there. As the saying goes: Some days we make art, and some days we make rent' The art will be the stuff that makes your heart sing! And the rent money may well be that one cake that you don't want to start.
One idea is to still make those cakes - but don't post images of them online! Otherwise you will attract more of those orders and before you know it your order book will be overflowing with them. Only post your art and eventually more and more likeminded customers will find you.
Maybe you only want to make food shaped cakes, maybe only animal cakes, maybe only gravity defying ones, or 3 foot high ones, or only square ones! You might want to stay away from ANYTHING themed and only work on the elegant stuff with flowers. Whatever you decide it's how YOU want to shape it. If you want to shape your cake business to be the best Sports-only themed, then great! I know where to send people! There is no right or wrong - it's your own business you have built yourself, so you make the rules. Charm City Cakes - They don't take sculpted orders less than $500 Choccywoccydoodah - They don't do squares Debbie Does Cakes - You wont catch her making something that ISN'T sculpted
Lots of businesses have their own little 'rules' why not try some for yours and see where it leads? :D