When you price your cakes, you account for the cost of ingredients, time, and overhead. Yet if you want to create a truly profitable bakery business, you may need to charge more than the costs plus markup. Many business owners struggle with the idea of charging a little bit more. It’s easy to justify higher prices to yourself and your customers by setting your business apart by establishing a niche, a specialty that makes you unique.
Having a Niche Creates Expertise
In any given city, you can probably find a dentist, a family doctor, and a chiropractor. Each of these professionals provide services and treatments that improve your health in very specific ways. You wouldn’t expect someone to be an expert in all three areas, but you would trust each person to be excellent at their chosen specialty. This is the niche at work. Although healthcare requires far more training and certification than cake baking, the same concepts hold true. If you promote your business as good at everything, you don’t stand out, and you may even undermine your authority. Instead, imagine working in one area but also taking custom requests for other items. In this situation, you declare a specialty while also showing that you have the skill and flexibility to accommodate your customers—a winning proposition for both you and your clients!
Ideas for Determining a Niche
Finding a specialty is more of an art than a science. However, these questions will get you thinking about how you can make your home bakery business stand out! Consider the three P’s:
Practice. What do you have the most experience making? Cupcakes? Sheet cakes? Intricately decorated anniversary cakes? If you have a natural knack for making a certain category of cakes, you could use this expertise to set yourself apart from the crowd.
Passion. What do you love most about baking? Is it creating flavorful, unique cake recipes, sculpting highly-detailed cake toppers, or matching your creations to a couple’s wedding color scheme? When picking a niche, it’s important that you care about what you are doing. Enthusiasm will shine through to your customers!
People. If you have worked with customers in the past, what characteristics did they have in common (such as gender, marital status, hobbies, or household income)? What kinds of clients do you dream of working for? Who do you think has trouble finding just the right cake? Tailoring your business to your customers is not just smart marketing—it also gives you credibility and an “in” with a certain group of people.
Still Stuck? Try this.
If you work through the questions above and are still at a loss for a niche, try this trick. Take an afternoon and visit at least five bakeries nearby. Spend ten or fifteen minutes in each one, observing everything from their pastries to business cards. When you leave, jot down everything you can remember. How did the bakery make you feel? Who would feel at home there? Chances are good that these answers will point you toward their niche. Pick your favorite ideas or concepts and start brainstorming how you could incorporate them into your own bakery business!
Finding a niche isn’t always easy, but it can be the difference between a break-even business and a runaway success. Take a little time to think about your specialty, and your customers—and your bottom line—will thank you.