I recently had a chance to interview the founder of Baked Bites, an exclusive cup cakes business, established by a young entrepreneur leaving collage.
Tell us a bit about your background, and how you got into business?
I have always had a sweet tooth and never liked spicy food from day one. I went to a private school where they always served food that was too spicy for my liking, so I would bring my own food from home. When I would go out I would always be the first one to order desert. A couple of years ago on my nieces birthday I baked my first cake, then I thought to myself after the good compliments I got, that it is always someone’s birthday, seeing the potential I could turn my hobby into a business.
What inspired you to start an exclusive cup cake business?
At first I started baking for family and friends. I began experimenting with different recipes and working on feedback that I would get from people, like this I have perfected my very own recipe. Seeing the increase in popularity of cupcakes I went on several private cupcake courses. I am always improving and developing my cupcakes to offer my customers the very best in the market.
What would you say is the most challenging part of starting up a business from home, and how did you overcome this?
The most difficult part in starting a business from home (especially for me) is that I had very little space, sharing the kitchen and storage with family. However my families have been very supportive and helpful in every way. Its important to have your own space from where you can conduct your business, if its at home, set your self a room, or a corner where you can have your equipment’s and run your business tasks.
How did you fund your start up business?
I was a student and did not have a full time job, therefore I did not have sufficient funds to start of with. However with whatever money I did have, I invested in equipment and ingredients, and started baking for family and friends on occasions at a very low cost. Slowly I managed to save some money and held a stall at a few social events, which were held locally. Each time I held a stall at these events, there was always an increase in sales and profit.
How do you currently promote your business?
Fortunately for me I have a friend that designed my logo and does most of my design work (i.e. flyers, business cards etc.) at no cost, or you can say for free cupcakes! Likewise another close friend designed my website, again in exchange for cupcakes. I distribute my flyers myself. I also promote my business on social websites and search engines, so having a good network around you will defiantly help your business, and as you know that saying, its not what you know, its whom you know. I found this very true in my business.
Most of your customers are through recommendation, how have you achieved this, and how important is pleasing your customers in business?
To me, my customers mean everything. No customers will mean no business. Pleasing my customers and meeting there needs is my number one aim. Being consistent and providing good customer service from the very first phone call has lead to good customer relations and repetitive orders.
How do you manage do everything your self, from sales, to making the cakes, delivery?
Its simple! A customer rings me and I arrange a meeting with him/her if they wish. Samples are provided for them to see and to discuss about them with me. I listen to my customers in detail so that I can meet there needs. As soon as the order is confirmed the first thing I do is work out how much of each ingredient I need and how long it will take to bake and decorate. Then I plan when to make the cakes so that they are delivered within 24 hours of the cakes being baked, ensuring quality and freshness.
Do you feel it is important for a business to have a website, even if it is as basic as yours, what feedback and enquires have you had from your website?
In the world we live in now, the Internet has become part of our day-to-day lives. After having a website I have seen a considerable increase in customers and enquiries. Having a website makes it easy for me to reach out to more customers through online marketing and is also a way for me to interact with new customers. I feel that it is important to have a website in today’s day and age.
What is the future plans for Baked Bites?
Baked Bites is always developing new products and designs. In the near future we hope to introduce cupcake fillings, more flavors and more designs. We are looking to expand by offering local businesses our cupcakes making them available at your local cafés/parlors, and slowly reaching out to a wider customer audience.
What advise would you give to a new start up business, from the experience that you have had.
First of all, every business takes hard work and thoughtful planning to get it up and running. Before starting any business you should have knowledge of that field and also be aware of your competitors so that you can bring something new/different to the market. Its vital you spend time and effort improving the product because customers will judge and recommend you on your product. In short, if the customer likes it he/she will recommend it.
Visit Baked Bites at: www.bakedbites.co.uk