Hello current and future besties! If you already know me, you know we’re all about teaching, helping, supporting and promoting home bakers! Whether you’re a hobby baker, operating a thriving business or start deciding what your baking future looks like, I’m here for you. If you’re new here, or just want a refresher, let me share exactly why I do this and how I can help you. After all, this site really is all written for you, to help you be wildly successful in every level of your baking endeavors! Buckle up, I’ve got a lot to share to on how to grow a bakery business from home!
Who Is Your Baking Bestie?
It’s me. I’m Your Baking Bestie. 😆 But let me share WHY I’m Your Baking Bestie! I’m a lifelong baker and decorator of all treats with an insatiable sweet tooth. From a young age, I’ve loved creating special treats to bring smiles and joy to others and create memorable events. It was always a hobby and stress reliever for me. The reactions from people make every hour of decorating worth it!
In 2020, I helped our then 13-year-old daughter launch her own cottage bakery business and she will celebrate 3 years of successful business this fall! Here are a couple pics of some of her recent work! To say I’m a proud mom would be an understatement!
In June of 2021, our family found ourselves spending days, weeks and virtually our entire lives at the hospital when our then 15-year-old son was shockingly diagnosed with Leukemia. Fighting alongside my son was the only thing that mattered. And after a few months of treatment, I decided a needed a distraction and something positive I could do from the hospital. I couldn’t bake or help my daughter with her business since I wasn’t at home. But how could I help others? That was what always made me happiest.
Your Baking Bestie Is Born
I decided that I would take my baking and business skills and my love for helping others and create a way to help other home bakers achieve their dreams. I was literally seeing how precious life was and how quickly it can be taken away. Life is not to be wasted. If you have a dream, passion or desire to do something, I highly encourage you to pursue it! And if that dream involves baking, well, I’m your biggest cheerleader.
The seed that started this blog is supporting and promoting other home bakers. I know firsthand that it’s not easy to launch and grow a thriving bakery business from home. But I also know that the artistry and skills in the home bakery industry are mind-blowing!!! It shouldn’t be contained within the walls of your home for only a few people to experience! Which is why we have Featured Bakers, where I share their unique stories and celebrate their talent while also helping to promote their businesses! I encourage you to read their stories of huge success, advice and challenges they’ve experienced!
Starting & Growing a Bakery Business
How to grow a bakery business from home can be tricky! Every state has their own cottage bakery or food producer rules, so you really have to familiarize yourself with your state’s laws. If this is all really new to you, THIS article is a great Cottage Bakery 101, which also includes access to a checklist to help you!
But say you’ve already set up your bakery biz. You are ready for ALL the orders, right?! Build it and they will come? Yeah, not so much. 😆 It’s a little harder than that since you’re operating from home. No one knows you’re there! But fortunately, there is no shortage of ways for consumers to see your work, get exposure in your community and start locking in those orders.
There are a few very common, mainstream ways that most home bakeries get most of their orders. And which route you pursue really depends on how YOU want to operate and what is most appealing to you. Pre-sales, markets and custom orders are the three biggies. In THIS post, I delve deeper into the ins and outs of these business strategies and how to decide what is best for you. Some bakers focus on one of these strategies or take a hybrid approach by incorporating a couple. I do recommend not trying to take on the world. You will have much more success and enjoy your business more, if you determine your marketing strategy and focus on it. If you try to do ALL the things, you” struggle to be good at any of them, you’ll be stressed out and that leads to businesses failing. So please, reflect on what works best for you and commit to that; don’t worry about the other noise or what others are doing.
Launch & Marketing
You’ve set up your business, and you’re open for biz! We’re going to get into some creative ways to start gaining exposure and getting your name out there in the community. After all, for the vast majority, a home bakery business is a local business. Unless you are in one of the states that allow to ship nationwide, you’re going to be focusing on your local community. Good news! People like to support local, small businesses more than ever!
And before we jump into these strategies, you should consider how much you’re willing to spend on marketing. Every business has to spend money on marketing and that includes home bakeries. Yes, you can try to spend next to nothing on marketing, but your business growth will likely be much slower. So, you have to ask yourself, as a business owner, what is your marketing budget each month? Once you decide on that amount, you’ll feel good about spending it on marketing and know it is an investment into your business. And ideally, once you start getting exposure and word starts traveling, you can spend less on marketing. But I do recommend having a marketing budget to start, which will help you have a successful launch and build momentum.
In the beginning, it’s all about exposure and customer service! Let’s talk about creative exposure ideas!
Getting Exposure & Building a Clientele
Here are several strategies that have been very successful for many home bakeries. Some may be perfect for you, and some may not be. But hopefully something resonates with you and how you want to start growing your business! Or at least spark an idea!
Social Media & Labeling
Once you have a following, social media will be a very effective tool to promote your products! But when you’re just launching, your business likely doesn’t have a large following. Make sure to start there by creating social media accounts for your business. These should be separate from your personal profiles so you will be seen as a true business. Ensure you have beautiful logo, cover photo, bio and start sharing photos of all your work. From here on out, post ALL of your work so people can start getting an idea of your skills and offerings. Invite friends and family to follow your page and encourage people to share it in support of your new business! And make sure you are engaging with your followers! If someone comments, make sure to react or comment back!
Have business cards created that compliment your labels on your products. Both your business cards and your labels should have QR codes that people can scan to go directly to your socials, or your website if you have one. From here on out, everything that goes out your door needs to be labeled and have a card attached!
Having your social media accounts started and business cards and labeling in place will start working for you while you start taking additional steps.
Get Goodies Into The Hands of Customers
The best way to start building momentum is by getting your products into the hands (and tummies) of the community! If your products, packaging and customer service is on par, orders should start trickling (or gushing) in. Here are some tried-and-true methods:
- Create goodies for the businesses and organizations you love! Hair salons, police stations, fire stations, spas, schools, the list goes on. Drop off (with everything dripping in your labeling) and let them know you’re a new business in the community and how to connect with you for any treat needs!
- Create goodies marketed to businesses for staff appreciation or customer recognition. Drop off at businesses and let them know how they can connect with you for custom goods! Businesses spend BIG dough on things like this and YOU want to be their baker! Psst: we have free cookie cards designed for this in our weekly newsletter!
- Got a college nearby? Call them to find out how you can get your business name into the parent and student resources. There may even be a Facebook group specifically for parents. Parents LOVE being able to have a local bakery that they can count on to have home baked treats made for their college student!
- Got access to a military base nearby? Loved ones appreciate having a local bakery that they can order home baked goods from for their loved one living on base!
- When you do have orders go out, send extra business cards and let them know you’d appreciate it if they could share them with friends if they love your treats! Most people are more than happy to help support a small business.
Starting To Leverage Social Media
As you start to gain followers, make sure you are engaging and fostering those relationships. And now that you have an audience, even if it’s a small one, you can start leveraging that! Here are some recommended strategies:
- Practice your skills by creating whatever your heart desires and then post sample giveaways! Some bakers request a review in exchange for free sample goodies. I think it’s a critical opportunity to engage with some potential customers, and keep your followers excited about what you may post next!
- Create some goodies and post a flash sale! When people know there is limited availability, they don’t want to miss out!
- Keep your business exciting by introducing new things regularly! Keep your followers and community on the edge of their seat with your exciting new products!
- Start engaging in local Mom’s groups on social media or other local groups to your community. Pay attention to the group rules as not all allow business posts. But you’re creative, you can always give away goodies there or respond to people’s inquiries when they are looking for goodies. Pro tip: any way you can break into a mom’s group is valuable. They have many celebrations, events and pay top dollar for an IG-worthy custom cake or other treat. Word of mouth will travel fast amongst them so make sure your customer service is on point.
- Don’t be afraid to ask your followers to share your page, leave a review or tell their friends. People want to support local businesses.
- Always share all your work! We commonly don’t know what we need or want until we see it! So, make sure you’re showing people all the things you can create and events you can support!
Launch Versus Growth
As you start growing your clientele and gaining a following, you can lean more on social media and word of mouth. But I can’t emphasize this enough…every business has marketing costs. Even if you can only afford $50 or $100 each month dedicated to marketing, learn what works best for you and keep growing! Running a business requires you to closely track all expenses but that doesn’t mean you won’t have expenses. If an expense brings in orders, grows your business, saves you valuable time or headaches, it’s probably worth it!
And remember, the strategies I’ve highlighted today are focusing more on launching and quickly growing your clientele. The bulk of your business will likely come from pre-sales, customs or markets. But all of these things help you break into those business models and grow your business faster. If you sit in the kitchen and wait for orders to roll in, you’re probably going to be waiting a long time. Get out there, talk about your business, share and show what you can do!
How To Grow a Bakery Business From Home
There’s a lot to consider but the good news is that you have SO many fun options to grow your business! Embrace this exciting time and start engaging with your community in person and online. I hope you found this post all about growing your bakery business from home helpful. And remember, every business and community are different. Test different strategies and you’ll be able to see what your community responds to. The bottom line is that you should be taking action. Many of these ideas are free, cheap or make the best of some downtime while you have it.
The goal is to eventually not have a lot of downtime in your bakery business! We will always have peaks and valleys with the different seasons and life celebrations. The key is to learn how to make the most of your downtime when you have some. And soon enough, perhaps we’ll be featuring your bakery as a Featured Baker!
I hope you’re already subscribed to receive our weekly newsletter, so you don’t miss out on all the resources I provide to help reach all your baking and business potential! Never miss out on a new recipe, technique, product recommendation, Featured Baker or free printables! Happy Baking, Besties!
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