Have you always dreamed of baking and selling sweet treats for a living?Running a business from your own kitchen takes perseverance and lots of planning but, for talented cooks who are ready to put in the work, it’s possible to achieve success. Mike Hardman, from professional catering equipment supplier Alliance Online, shares how you can make your baking hobby into a fully-fledged business from the comfort of your own kitchen. If you think you’re ready to turn your passion for baking into a full-time career, then read on to learn the four essential steps you'll need to take to make your dream a reality.
1. Find your nicheAs with any business, it’s not enough to be the same as every other baking company out there — you'll need to identify what makes your products unique. So, the first step is to find something unusual that you can do better than anyone else. Whether it's mojito-flavoured macarons, vegan cupcakes, or sparkly birthday cakes, there’s sure to be a market for your creations if they stand out from the crowd. Treats that cater for specialised dietary requirements are very popular these days so, if you’re struggling to find a niche, you could try making gluten- or dairy-free bakes the focus of your business.
2. Set up your kitchenWith a full-time business, you’re going to be baking far more than the average home cook, and you’ll need some professional level appliances and utensils that can withstand frequent use. Unless you want to spend all day creaming butter and sugar, you’ll need a top-quality food mixer, which will help you whip up batters, frostings and fillings in the blink of an eye. Domestic ovens aren’t designed to be used all day so, once you’re getting enough orders, you’ll want to consider upgrading to a professional oven, too.
3. Get legally registeredBefore you can start selling your baked goods, you'll need to make sure your budding business is on the right side of the law. All businesses that handle and sell food must register with the local council authority, so you'll need to apply for a food premises licence at least 28 days before you plan to start baking for a living. Once you start earning money by selling your bakes, you’ll also need to tell the tax man about your new income with a self-assessment tax return: you can learn more about registering as self-employed on the government portal.
4. Start marketing your brandOnce you’re fully licensed, you'll need to get the word out about your sweet treats. Food marketing is always more successful when it includes lots of gorgeous visuals, so it's a smart idea to arrange for a photographer to take a few professional-looking shots of your best bakes. Once you've got some appetising images, you'll need to create an online presence, including a website and social media channels. If you've got the cash, you could even have some flyers printed and hand them out in local areas — and don’t forget to target independent local cafes and restaurants. These sorts of clients will often want multiple bulk orders, so they can be a great source of repeat business.
Now you know the basics, you're ready to fire up the oven and get cooking. Just follow the steps outlined here, and your new business should be set for success. Happy baking!