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    6 Replies Latest reply on Jul 7, 2009 4:11 PM by bentenn

    Cupcake mom needs advice.

    VelvetKupcake Newbie
      I have starting a cupcake business from my home and things are going well. This week I plan to drop off complimentary cupcakes to several businesses and would like some input on what to say on the calling card that I will leave with them. So far, all has been word of mouth. Today I found a retail location that had already been a bakery and has all the equipment still there.

      I am at a loss of where to begin to find financing - looking for around 30K. I am a single mother (age 45) and I have a daughter with some unique needs who is going to be 11. It seems there would be a few things out there even grants for people in my situation. I do realize this business carries lots of working hours and we are now to a point that things are okay and she even has her own little business;

      Any help/advice/input would be greatly appreciated.

      Velvet Kupcake
        • Re: Cupcake mom needs advice.
          LUCKIEST Guide
          Cupcake mom needs advice, Welcome and good luck

          To suggestions. Develop a business plan and contact SCORE. SCORE is FREE and can help you.

          Complimentary cupcakes are GREAT. Say FREE and include your business name, your email and phone number.

          1 of 1 people found this helpful
          • Re: Cupcake mom needs advice.
            puzzleman Tracker
            Instead of diving in head first into a bakery, how about a couple of ideas?

            Some friends of mine (becasue I bought lots of their pastries) started small by selling their products in the local farmers market. After a year they located a building a couple of blocks away and opened up there. Their customers from the market could still find them and they were open every day, so they had more sales from established customers. They also got their products into several local churches for their after service socials.

            These ideas might work for you too.

            Remember what they did. First they tried out on a small scale while still working elsewhere. Next they targeted churches first and then other business for their products. Then once they had the ball rolling, they opened a shop. They are still working at the shop in the morning and working a real job in the evenings.


            1 of 1 people found this helpful
            • Re: Cupcake mom needs advice.
              onpurpose Adventurer
              Hi Velvet CupCake,

              A couple of thoughts I have baking just for you:

              Financial: May I assume the financing you need is for operations - getting a location and setting up a bakery? Let me offer you a money saving suggestion: Find a local church (your church?) with a large kitchen and ask if you can rent the kitchen in the early morning hours - it is unlikely to be in use then. The church may be happy to have the extra revenue. Now you have large production capacity without the investment in a facility. Plus, the church might become a client. Ideally, find one with a kitchen and school on the same location. Market to parents to have cupcakes on their kid's birthday.

              This off-site baking strategy is directed more at developing a commercial and online clientile (companies) than a retail customer operation. Once you have sweet revenues from an expanded commercial business and a lower overhead, you could then explore the retail bakery location. This manages your risk, builds some cash reverses, and builds some core business infrastructure for marketing, accounting, and even employment.

              Marketing: With the money you saved on facilities invest in marketing your business. Develop simple flyers to go with your samples. Provide yummy up close photos and people smiling eating them. Create the experience. Also, invest in a database or contact manager of some sort. Use MS Outlook if you are on a PC or Entourage on a Mac. Your customer database is gold so develop it early.

              If you are giving away cup cakes, then make sure you give and get the name of the person at the company who plans the company parties or is the boss's secretary. Do just drop off the cup cakes, leave your card, and run. Do this: give the receptionist a cup cake. Tell her that you want to speak with the person who plans their parties about using your cupcakes for birthday parties and dessert for special events. Meet this person, give her a cupcake, and make a relationship. Ask when their next company celebration or catered event is. Add person to your database, flag them to followup in two or three weeks or when they tell you. Stay in touch.

              Calling Card: Regarding what to say on the calling card... at a minimum, your contact information: business name, web site (if you have one), email, and phone. In terms of sales copy.. it is hard to tell not really knowing your business, but guessing... Stimulate their thinking by having catch situations when they might call you. VelvetKupCake is perfect for:

              Company birthday parties
              Client entertainment
              Customer appreciation baskets

              Add: We offer free deliver for a $XX order! We can even decorate them with your company colors!

              My sales copy above is only meant to prime your thinking, not replace it. Do what is appropriate for your business.

              Blessing back at you.

              Be On-Purpose!


              PS - I do offer a free 30-minute business advisory consult. See my profile here for more information.
              1 of 1 people found this helpful
              • Re: Cupcake mom needs advice.
                Marketing1 Wayfarer
                Compliments of your business name, your contact information.
                A tag line with your unique attributes.

                Do you need 24 or 48 hours notice for orders? If so you might put that in small print at the bottom of the card. Sometimes people will try to order something once and if they hit a roadblock will not try next time.

                Are you planning to sell by delivering gift packaged in a client gift, birthday gift, anniversary gift, client appreciation, for business meetings, for staff appreciation.

                When you have your business/marketing plan together is there someone who would co-sign a loan for you?

                There are lots of resources on to help you. Here is a link to an online course re financing.

                If you are already doing business this may be a redundant question, however it begs asking. Have you got health department approval to bake and sell food items from your kitchen? Even before you try to sell at markets, if you decide to go that route, this is a hurdle you need to get over. Some markets will require proof before you are able to reserve space.

                This is a hot trend right now ...even for the wedding market so there are many opportunities and a good chance of success with the right plan and execution.

                Great idea and good luck!

                • Re: Cupcake mom needs advice.
                  bentenn Adventurer
                  You may want to check with your local government offices to determine if you need to get a commercial food handling permit or use an approved / certified kitchen to bake food and sell it commercially. A home kitchen is not likely to get approval.

                  Once you have an approved kitchen and all the necessary business licenses and such along with lots of liability insurance to protect you and your customers in case of a bad batch, etc., review your business plan again to see if there are other options to get started other than borrowing $30k. Maybe you can rent instead of buying. Maybe you can have other locations sell for you rather than rent space. Maybe you can sell to those who are already selling something similar but not cupcakes so you can 'outsource' some of the selling and marketing and space to others while you get going, build up a base of customers, etc. Many small business clients I deal with find ways around investing and borrowing as they just get started. Good luck to you.