The repercussions and implications of Covid-19 for a cake business
Cake business at a standstill? Are you feeling like you’re in Groundhog day?
Where you wake up and you do the same thing again and again and again!?
With the global situation as it is, it can be scary. Also daunting, stressful and downright confusing in the world of business.
This blog post is for encouragement, support and adding positive steps to your business so you come out the other end fighting and ready.
None of us ever envisioned our 2020 would turn out like this. We’ve had our worlds turned upside down but one thing remains we are in this together. We will get through this and we will come out the other side. How we choose to deal with this now, is the backbone of how we will come out of this.
So here are my top strategies to preserve your business, health and mindset.
LOOK AFTER YOU AND YOUR OWN
Top of my list is your health and mental well being. As I write this, we are in the 5th week of lockdown. So when you read this we may or may not have fewer restrictions. It’s this uncertainty that is putting stress and fear at the forefront of our minds. We do have to remember the priorities are we are safe and we are well and our families are too. So wake up every day with a grateful mind and heart that this is the case. We are doing our bit for humanity.
One massive thing I want you to take away from this is it’s OK to not be OK.
We are all going to have those days and its fine. We have never been put in this position before, so our bodies and especially our minds are trying so hard to deal with this.
The emotions are strong and those days when you feel like just crying and its never going to be the same again, go with it. 2020 is not going to plan. it’s not how you envisioned this so it’s not OK, but we will get through this, and you need to turn this on its head and make positive mental steps to turn your mindset around.
We have more time with our families, we have time to rest, we have time to look at our businesses and put systems in place for the future, we have more time to contact our clients or create new clients by using the time to be visible. It’s all about time and time is the best healer so take each day as it comes and use the time wisely to think positively and act positively.
ORGANISE AND PLAN YOUR WORkSPACE
With all this time we have been given let’s utilise it and do something that will help us when we are backfiring on all cylinders. For me, I love to work in a clean, de-cluttered workspace. I find that as I get deeper into wedding season each year, my workspace becomes more cluttered with items, leftover sugar flowers, bits and bobs and post-it notes everywhere! Use the time to organise everything. If like me you love a bit of organisation then this is a must for a clear workspace and headspace. Be brutal. Get rid of all the things you just don’t use. I used to be the worst for this. Buying everything new and wanting every single stencil, textured rolling pin or every kind of alphabet cutter going. But I don’t even use half of it, it takes up space in my cupboards and every year I think I must use that. But I don’t I’ve given myself a strict talking to over this matter and for the past three years not bought anything new out of FOMO on a new product. So if I have not used an item in the previous year it’s going! I am not saying you have to do this but give yourself control back of your space, have a good clear out and organise the space so it works for you. Also, you may be able to sell some of the things you no longer need.
This will make you love your workspace and it will make you enjoy getting back to work ( when we can ) even more!
ORGANISE YOUR SYSTEMS AND PAPERWORK
now its time for the office and the dreaded paperwork!
A lot of my 1-1 clients I work with don’t have systems in place for not only the client but also themselves. It is so important to have. A system that starts from when a client gets in touch to the delivery of the cake. if you don’t have this in place then now is the time my friend. It also worries me how many don’t have terms and conditions in place. This is one of those foundation core business prerequisites.
Use this time to get this on top of your to-do list. Build a framework that you use consistently and know where you are with each client. It makes the whole process easier for you and you won’t be dreading it so much. Getting forms in place too and a structure for the process. without this, you will find yourself in a mess when you get busy. I have a feeling 2021 is going to be crazy busy for cake designers so use this time to get all your paperwork and systems in place so you are ready, set go when the time comes.
terms and conditions are a must! so get reviewing them and setting yourself up so you are covered for the future.
GET THOSE ACCOUNTS IN ORDER
I know this won’t be the most popular part of this blog post but get those accounts up together. I find that a lot of cake designers leave the whole 12 months to the very end when the taxman is calling and its a stress and panic to get them in on time. use this time to get up together get them in so you know what you need to pay asap so you can plan. not the mad rush at the end to find the money and feel deflated at the end of it because you weren’t expecting that hit.
Imagine the 1st of every month, grabbing a coffee sitting at your desk and getting last months accounts done and dusted! ( you may already do this so hats off to you and doesn’t it feel good) If you don’t then I promise to catch up on this and getting into this routine will make you feel so much better and on top and you can organise and plan to make the payments for the taxman ahead of time instead of lastminute.com and then stressing about where the money is coming from. It’s a brilliant pattern to get into.
Organise and plan like a pro you will feel like a cake business guru and prepped ready to spend more time on bookings and planning next year.
CHECK YOUR INGREDIENTS/STOCK
an obvious one and a quick one but like no 2) it’s something that gets pushed to the bottom of the list when we are busy. Check all those use-by dates, organise and label things ( I love my label maker)! stock rotate in date order and just get organising those cupboards and using up things that will be out of date soon. Use it to make new flavours or make something that you can photograph and use on your social media and website platforms. Use this time to also research on where to buy ingredients and best prices. never have we been given this time to do these things so use it and get organising xx
CREATE NEW DESIGNS AND UPSKILL
Use this time to learn something new. My motto in this profession is never stop learning! I always pick 2 top things every year I want to learn so that I grow, develop and keep current. Go and use this time to do this. whether that be a cake technique, sugar flower tutorial or the business side (don’t forget I am here for 1-1 support ). Choose what is most important to you and go and learn a new skill.
create new designs. Use this time to create as many new cake designs as you can. perfect for honing in on what cakes you want to be making moving forward and also great for content for your website and social media. Adding the styles of cakes you want this way will get you more bookings for cakes you want to create. It’s a win-win.
USE MEDIA TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
as in the previous tip 5) having a set of new designs and images to show off is key. You are still showing up and showing new items. You need to be seen now so use these platforms to show off, talk about yourself and your work and get potential clients interested. I am still getting bookings in from doing this so it’s so worth it. You may need to change how you were posting and showing up because let’s face it, things aren’t quite normal and we need to adapt. I’ve seen cake makers go live with their baking skills, tutors posting free tutorials and how to’s and this is a brilliant way to be seen and heard. Also, cake designers going live, showing behind the scenes and also setting up online consultations to stay connected.
Give value to your followers and potential followers. clients will get to know you and will remember you long after this has ended and will stick with you because you were there for them!
WORK ON YOUR CAKE BUSINESS AS OPPOSED TO WORKING IN THE BUSINESS
a lot of the points I have made above are this. We find ourselves always working in the cake business not ON the cake business. This should make up 50% of your weekly work. To gain new clients and be seen by others.
look at creating a newsletter or email list for your clients to give more support, and offers that you may have throughout the year.
What about updating your website and sorting out all those photographs and files on your computer or camera. Writing out new content, checking everything is up to date and in line with your brand and customer service.
There is always something that can be done to help you grow.
LOOK AT YOUR FINANCES AND WORK OUT A PLAN
Now is the time if you haven’t already to work out a plan for your finances.
There is no point not knowing however hard it may seem. Don’t be a headless chicken.
Sit down take a deep breath and work out what money you have coming in this year. Now work out what is going out.
This way you are in the know. You can start working out what you need to not only stay afloat but also what you have to pay yourself and what profit if any you have.
The worst thing you can do is get negative. yes, it’s rubbish but what are you going to do about it?! Only you can make plans to adapt and work out what you can do to get money in. You can do this. you started the business up in the first place so you DO have it in you. No time for negativity and resentment. Focus on what you can do to make money. trust me there is always a way. Be smart, positive and work hard on this and you will succeed.
Looking at what you need to pay monthly or annually in the form of bills. Then making a plan on how you will do this and what avenues you have open is sensible.
STAY IN COMMUNICATION WITH YOUR CLIENTS
When the Lockdown first occurred I decided not to bombard my clients with emails and phone calls. I felt they needed to process what was happening as did I.
Nobody knew how long this was going to last. As the realisation grew that this was going to last longer than first anticipated. I decided to slowly get in touch with clients to first let them know I was thinking of them. Also, ask what I could do to help.
Be a support to them and you will gain a loyal customer. I treat every client as I would want to be treated. I want to know where I stand. The facts but also that the person behind the business cares and understands what they are going through. They should know you are there if needed. This type of customer service is paramount to good business.
Also, let clients know where you stand with your cake business.
You may have payments due or need to keep your cashflow going so just be honest and give them options. It’s all about working together to create a solution for both sides.
WORKING OUT A PLAN FOR POSTPONEMENTS AND CANCELLATIONS
This is mainly for wedding cakes but may also help with other celebration clients. You may have clients wanting to cancel in the immediate future which of course is understandable in the current situation.
You may also find clients in the latter months of 2020 have decided they want to move dates too. This is of course not what we want unless the situation worsens and we need to do this so you need to work out a plan on what you want to do and an A & B option so you are covered and know where you stand.
Planning for the rest of the year and how you can bring in other forms of income is paramount to your cake business.
Adapting your skills or offering new things will help see you through. You know what they say ‘planning is key’.
I hope this has helped you see the positive steps you can be taking in this situation for your cake business
As a business owner, it’s hard. We’ve had the rug pulled from underneath us and our plans for 2020. But, taking positive steps and staying focused will see you through
You have got this!!
P.s why not join my facebook group a friendly group of amazing cake designers all lifting each other up!
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