Hey Besties! Welcome to part two of your ultimate home bakery business planning guide for the holiday season! The busiest baking season is coming up quick and if you want a super successful season, the time to start planning is now! You don’t want to miss out on business using a stale or outdated strategy or because you didn’t plan ahead. Which is why I’m sharing this three-part series to help you set your business strategy, plan and execute! If you missed part one, or just need a refresher, you can find it HERE! In that post, we covered all the different business strategy options available to you for big success this season. In part two, we’re taking it a step further to precisely plan the actions you need to take to execute seamlessly. You’ll be amazed at how effective this method is at growing your business while keeping your stress low! Let’s go!
Home Bakery Business Planning for Success
I’ve been in this industry and have worked with enough home bakers to know the biggest pitfalls and stressors to a home bakery business. And it kills me to see bakers struggle so much and get so stressed out when it really all comes down to planning. But when I say, “planning”, I don’t mean, “I’m planning to have a successful season!” The steps we’re covering here are actual planning steps you’re going to take now to create a successful holiday season for your bakery. Following the steps in this 3-part series will optimize your business while also allowing you to manage your stress and enjoy your business at the same time. Doesn’t that sound lovely?
This is what I’m here for and why I’m your Bestie! Following these steps and taking action now can also mean the difference between a fabulous season and a flop. You’ve got the information at your fingertips now, so let’s do this! There’s no reason to be super stressed out two months from now, but you need to do the upfront planning.
Baking Strategy Planning
In the first part of this series, you decided which home bakery business strategy you are going to employ October through December. It may just be one or a mixture of strategies that works best for you and your business. Regardless of your business strategy, your next step is to decide which holidays or celebrations you want to support. It’s not always in your best interest to try and support every holiday! Let’s take an example of how a baker may want to plan for this holiday season.
Susie’s Sweets has decided to participate in a local market right before Halloween. So, her business strategy for October will be focusing on her market. For November, Susie wants to accept custom orders since last year, her pre-sales were not very high for the Thanksgiving holiday. And for December, she will be focusing on pre-sales which allows her to mass produce product efficiently and her customer base knows she’ll be offering products.
In another example, Molly is offering pre-sales for the Halloween season and then is targeting large corporate orders for Nov-Dec.
Using the pros and cons we outlined in part one, and assessing what works best for them, their businesses and their market, Susie and Molly decided on these strategies for this holiday season. Let’s take it to the next step!
How To Reverse Calendar For Success
The concept of Reverse Calendaring may be new to you, but it is an absolute game changer and simple to use! Now that you know the strategy you’ll be using this season, it’s time to work backwards to create each milestone you need for success. By creating these milestones ahead of time, you’ll know exactly what you need to work on each day to stay on track. no more flying by the seat of your pants trying to figure out what you need to do each day or danger of falling behind. By creating this calendar ahead of time, you’ll thank yourself later! Let’s use Susie’s strategy as an example to work through.
Susie plans to participate in a market on October 28, 2023. In order to successfully plan, Susie looks at her September and October calendars:
Working backwards from her event date, Susie marks her calendar with the below milestones.
- October 28: Pack cookies and cupcakes in car by 8am and leave by 8:30am for 10am market!
- October 27: Pack vehicle with display cases, banners, canopy and market supply kit
- October 26: Take all frozen cookies and cupcakes out to thaw
- October 25: Get change for market supply kit and make sure QR code signage is ready
- October 19-20: Make, package, label and freeze 8 dozen cupcakes
- October 16-18: Make, package, label and freeze 6 dozen decorated cookies
- October 9-13: Make, package, label and freeze 10 dozen decorated cookies
- October 2-6: Make, package, label and freeze 15 dozen drop cookies
- September 20: Create market supply kit (tape, scissors, bungees, pens, paper, etc)
- September 18-19: Purchase display cases
- September 13-14: Order canopy and banners
- September 11-12: Start promoting market event on socials
- September 7-8: Plan packaging for cookie and cupcake designs
- September 4-6: Plan market designs for cookies and cupcakes
- September 1: Register for market event
Susie can get as detailed as she wants with her reverser calendaring. But she can rest assured, she knows exactly what needs to be done each day for her successful market.
Custom Order Planning
Next, she needs to plan her milestones to support custom orders for November. So once again, she looks at her October and November calendars and marks the following:
- November 20-22: Populate with custom orders
- November 13-16: Populate with custom orders, take Fri off
- November 6-8: Populate with custom orders, check packaging inventory
- November 1-3: Populate with custom orders
- October 23: Review packaging and labeling inventory for custom orders
- October 2: Promote custom order availability and lead times to customers via socials
Once again, Susie can get as detailed as she wants to track all necessary milestones so nothing gets forgotten.
Lastly, you’ll remember that Susie wants to offer pre-sales for December. So, she’ll review her Nov and Dec calendars and marks the following:
- December 23: Last pickup day for Christmas orders 8-12pm
- December 22: Package orders for pickup
- December 18-21: Make and label last pre-sale week’s orders
- December 16: Cookie and cupcake pickup 8-10am
- December 15: Package order for pickup
- December 11-14: Make and label orders for Saturday’s pickup
- December 9: Cookie platter pickups 8-10am
- December 8: Package orders for pickup
- December 4-7: Make and label cookie platter orders
- November 27-30: Prep for pre-sales (inventory check)
- November 17-Dec 1: Promoting/accepting December pre-sale orders
- November 9-10: Create December samples and photograph
- October 30-31: Design December pre-sale options, order packaging
The Beauty of Reverse Calendar for Home Bakers
Susie’s going to be busy! And let’s be honest, there are a lot more details she could add to her calendar for more granularity. But you get the idea! Different strategies require different planning milestone, so be sure to think through all your steps.
The benefit of this is that by taking your time NOW, you don’t have to panic, run late or forget anything during your busiest time of year. And by working through this exercise, Susie knows she is not going to do any orders for New Years, she’s taking the week before off.
I see it all the time where bakers don’t plan their designs early enough, are rushing, can’t get the packaging they want and more. And you know what that leads to? STRESS and potentially lost income. You want to take the time to plan your offerings in advance so you can put out products you are proud of and not rushed to create. Again, success favors the prepared.
So are you going to make your plan for your holiday season or wing it and hope you can stay on top of it all?! I really encourage you to try this method as I’m confident you’ll find it really takes the stress off, while maximizing earning potential.
In part three of your ultimate bakery business planning guide for the holiday season, we’re going to dive into design and packaging recommendations and more. This is where you can really start finding ways to save money this season, while creating bigger profit margins for your business. Again, planning ahead can save you boatloads. I want you to keep as much of your dough as you can, so stay tuned for part 3 coming soon!
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