Tag Archives: cake business

Top Tips for Using Video to Market Your Cake Business

Video About Cake Business - Talk Sweet to MeYou are working hard to promote your business at events, on your website, and everywhere else you go (anyone gotten a customer from the grocery store check out line?), but there are only so many hours in a day. Too bad you can’t send a personal message to that potential customer on your site at 10:30 pm on a Saturday night since you’re:

a. in bed, like me.

b. out grabbing a drink or three with friends.

c. curled up on the couch with your family watching a movie and eating ice cream.

But there’s a solution! An online video is a powerful tool that can help sell your business for you whether you’re sleeping, on vacation, or busy in the kitchen working on another masterpiece. And I absolutely promise, it’s not too hard. If I can do it, you can DEFINITELY do it!

I didn’t use my video to its fullest potential (then again, there are quite a few things overall that I would do differently if I had it to do again!), and as a marketing manager I’m still kicking myself for that. Looking back I think I appear a little snobbish and would rework my script and tone to take some of that out. Be fun! Be friendly! Keep in mind that people want to work with people they like, not necessarily someone who knows it all.

Here are my top recommendations for using video to market your cake business:

  • If you are filming and editing yourself, be sure to use a good quality camera.
  • If you would rather work with a professional (I did), try to link up with a wedding videographer. We’ve talked about the importance of networking before, and this is one way you could really get to know one or two in your area.
  • Write your script carefully, and then have someone you know go over it with a fine-toothed comb to ensure your messaging is on-target. Then have someone you don’t know as well do the same thing. Ask for feedback (constructive criticism only, please!) and incorporate the ideas you think will work well for you. Tweak, tweak, and tweak until it is perfect.
  • You get to be a famous actress actor/actress for the day! Dress the part, pay special attention to your hair and make-up, make sure everything is in place before filming, and then GO FOR IT!
  • If you don’t have a commercial kitchen available, see if you can rent one out.
  • Pay attention to what is in the background.
  • Do something interesting while you’re talking, like…decorate a cake. You don’t want to just be a talking head, but remember that a talking head is better than a picture, which is better than no picture at all. Your customers want to get to know YOU, the person who will be an integral part of their celebration.

Once it’s complete, GET IT OUT THERE! Use it as an introduction on your website. Place a QR code that links to the video on your handouts or business card. Post it on all your social media channels (maybe not all at the same time – space it out so you’re not flooding your followers with the same thing over and over). Send it as a link in your next customer newsletter. Write a blog post about it.

Then sit back, relax, and let your video do some of the selling for you!

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3 Small Business Legal Mistakes to Avoid

Today I just want to share a link to a great video and advice from Marie Forleo. Marie works to help people just like you create a business and life you love – I love the idea that you CAN have it all!

Her website is fantastic and full of great advice – I’d recommend signing up for the updates to your inbox if you haven’t already – but this post in particular offers some super-important advice for business owners. It’s something that every cake business owner needs to review and implement.

3 Common Legal Mistakes Small Business Owners Make

Do you have experience with this? Please share your advice with me and your fellow cake business owners below!

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Party Time!

The following was originally posted on my first blog, The Planet Cake Intern, as I began to learn the art of cake decorating and began putting together the very first pieces of my cake business in Kansas City. 

Flashback - talksweettome.com

Originally posted April 7-11, 2008

There was a lot of fun happening during my final week at Planet Cake, and although most of this post is not necessarily about cake, it was part of my intern experience and therefore must be included in the blog…

Doltone House

The first was the Doltone House bridal show, where Paris and Handi went on stage to speak about…what else? Cake! I asked to tag along so I could see what happens at one of these events and acted as official Planet Cake picture-taker for the evening.

Anna-Maria prepared a beautiful topsy-turvy cake that was featured in the show…

Topsy Turvy cake - Talk Sweet to Me

…while Handi and Paris practiced for their parts in the stage presentation:

paris practicing

handi practicing

At Doltone House, in my obviously unbiased opinion, Planet Cake stole the show. While Paris did a marvelous job with her presentation, Handi skillfully demonstrated how to cover and stack a cake.

paris and handi presenting

Fresh flowers were quickly added by a Sydney florist, and here is Handi with the finished stage cake:

handi with stage cake

Handi, Antony, and Paris also spoke with the brides-to-be at the Planet Cake table

handi and antony

Planet Cake Bowling Night

Planet Cake had bowling night this week too, partially a team-building thing, partially a good-bye thing. It was a blast…and I’m not just saying that because I won (I know a score of 116 is nothing to brag about, but believe me, that is a really good day in my world). I think that everyone secretly let me win because I was leaving. The whole group…

bowling lane

And some individual style…the pictures are a little dark, but you get the idea.

Paris returns to her seat after a successful round:

Paris bowling - Talk Sweet to Me

Ritzy concentrating in preparation for her turn:

ritzy preparing

Check out that form, Handi!

handi bowling

Jonny’s victory dance:

Jonny victory dance - Talk Sweet to Me

Team Planet Cake:

Planet Cake Bowling - Talk Sweet to Me

Dinner Party

I must include the fabulous good-bye dinner party that Handi threw. The food was out-of-this-world good, fun people were there, and we even used the Versace plates and wine glasses! Stunning! Look at those prawns:

Group at dinner party - Talk Sweet to Me

Lisa and Handi dessert - Talk Sweet to Me

Have you ever seen so much Versace?!

Versace cabinet - Talk Sweet to Me

Planet cake dinner party

What fun! And…although I don’t have pictures, Anna-Maria also had me over for lunch at her house the following week, which was delicious. Her two boys even contributed some great food to the meal, and it was reassuring to learn from their new electronic game that my brain age is somewhere around 83. Fun times!

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Marketing Your Cake Business

Marketing your cake business - talksweettome.comIn my current position as marketing manager, I was lucky enough to cross paths with Laura Lake, who is, in my humble opinion, pretty much a marketing genius. Laura is a published author who is passionate about marketing…and writes regularly about the topic to help small business owners on the About.com – Marketing page.

Look there for some great information on Marketing,  Branding, and Public Relations that can give you insight and ideas on how to spread the word about your amazing cakes! The posts are not directly related to cake, of course, but can be very useful in giving you some general ideas on what you can be doing.

You can also sign up for her newsletter on the right side of the page here for information delivered directly to your inbox.

Happy Marketing!

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On Being Your Own Boss

More more more - talksweettome.com

I was truly the worst boss, EVER. While I was understanding and worked well with my employees (and was so grateful for everything they did!), I pushed myself to the point of exhaustion on a daily basis, always demanding more in less time.

That is why this makes me laugh really, really hard.

Myself as horrible boss - talksweettome.com

Do you do the same thing? Or have you figured out how to have an amazing work/life balance? Tell me about it!

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Avoiding Procrastination

A not-so-serious tip for avoiding procrastination while running your own business…

Get to work - talksweettome.com

I think this cartoon shows a good strategy for pretty much everyone, whether you go to your kitchen, your home office, or a corporate office…but especially if you run your own business!

Nothing like a little sugar for incentive. Enjoy a laugh or two!

Cartoon on working from home

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Baby Onesie Cookies

A Break from Cake - talksweettome.com

I know this is a cake blog…but we don’t discriminate against other forms of sugar around here. How stinkin’ adorable are these cookies from The Confetti Cakes Cookbook: Spectacular Cookies, Cakes, and Cupcakes from New York City’s Famed Bakery?!

Baby onesie cookies - talksweettome.com text

Since I just reviewed the Confetti Cakes Cookbook, I thought it was high time that I try a recipe or two from it. I’m a bit partial to my mom’s sugar cookies, but the Vanilla Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing from the Confetti Cakes Cookbook were really quite good.

Plus, in the midst of planning for our first baby to arrive in September this year, I couldn’t pass up the chance to make these. I had absolutely no reason to (no occasion coming up, no dinner parties planned, can’t really take them to work), but I’m getting so enamored with the cuteness of it all that I simply could not resist.

The baking - talksweettome.com

On to the fun! I followed the recipe exactly. The dough was a little bit different texture than my usual sugar cookie dough…harder and denser. However, it was easy to handle (after cooling it in the fridge) and cut out the shapes of the onesies with a knife. I made a copy and cut out the template from the book – it was perfect!

Cutting out dough - talksweettome.com

Cut out cookies ready for oven - talksweettome.com

These cookies remind me a little bit more of shortbread cookies than sugar cookies, but keep their shape really well when baking. That is, of course, crucial to having the most adorable onesie cookies ever!

Cooling cookies on rack - talksweettome.com

The icing - talksweettome.com

Next it was royal icing time. I’ve never enjoyed the taste of the stuff, but the Confetti Cakes recipe, paired with this recipe for sugar cookies, tasted good to me. First was piping the outline…

Outlined cookies - talksweettome.com

…then my favorite part: flooding it with the flow icing!

Flow icing - flooded cookies - talksweettome.com

The finished cookies - talksweettome.com

Then on to the overpiping and details. Since we’re not finding out boy vs. girl before the baby comes along, some gender-neutral hearts, stars, sheep, cherries, and the letter “D” (for baby Donnelly, of course!) served as decoration.

Finished cookies on plate2 - talksweettome.com

Finished cookies on plate - talksweettome.com

This project was so much fun! Now I don’t know what to do with all these cookies I have sitting around my house besides make some iced tea, invite a couple friends over and…eat them!

Do you make cookies in addition to cakes in your business? Do you prefer making one over the other? I’d love to know!

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Top Tips for Starting Your Cake Business

Are you thinking about turning your love of cake into a full-time business? Whether this is getting close to a reality or your dream is just a twinkle in your eye, here are my top recommendations (based on personal experience) on what to do when you are beginning to consider making the leap.Top tips for starting your cake business - From Talk Sweet To Me - www.talksweettome.com

Get baking - www.talksweettome.com

1. Start making cakes. If you have a full time job, what you need to do now is build up your reputation and your client list so you’ll be sure to be busy when you make the switch to running your cake business full time. If you don’t have a full time job – it’s time to start and get the word out there! This will help build your reputation…word of mouth about your quality cake is your best recommendation/marketing technique for finding new clients at this point.

I was reluctant to start until I had all the pieces in place, but in fact, this is one of the pieces!

Take it all in - www.talksweettome.com

2. Read the book The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It.  This book was recommended to me immediately by at least three friends who ran their own businesses when I told them I was starting out on my own. It follows a pie baking business, but the lessons can be applied universally and are easily translated into the cake world.  Pay very careful attention to the concepts of working ON your business vs. working IN your business and also the idea that you eventually need to have a plan to take yourself out of the business and still have it run smoothly. If the business relies only on you to survive, at the very least you will be seriously tired.

I read this book after I was already well on my way, but immediately wished I’d read it earlier!

Ask the experts - www.talksweettome.com

3. Make an appointment with a counselor at your local SBA office. The Small Business Development Center through the Small Business Administration can pair you up with a counselor who will meet with you individually to walk through the process of starting and building your business. They also have great classes available!

Several folks directed me to the local Small Business Development Center through the SBA, and I’m so glad I went! My amazing counselor helped me talk through my ideas and get the business set up correctly. She gave me invaluable advice, and then sent me back to my office with an itemized and prioritized list of steps to take before our next meeting. I cannot say enough good things about my experience there. My counselor took my brain that was full of ideas – and hindered by stress and lack of sleep – and helped me pare it down to the essentials to focus on what needed to be done step-by-step. It’s not as overwhelming that way! The best part about it? It was FREE.

Make a plan - www.talksweettome.com

4. Write a business plan. This will probably be discussed at the very first meeting with your SBA counselor, but you definitely need to have a plan and it helps to have one going in. There are plenty of online resources to help you get an idea of what needs to be included (just Google it), or visit your local library and check out a book on the subject. A business plan will not only help you formalize your goals for the business, but it will also help you know where you are in the process and re-evaluate as time moves along so you can change direction if you’re not headed toward your end goal.

I was so intimidated by this entire process that it was hard for me to start. My counselor simply handed me an outline and said to take 1-2 hours, set your timer, and work on it…no distractions allowed. Get something down in each section (it doesn’t need to be perfect the first time!), then come back around to it the next day to finalize and revise. Set your timer again for 30 minutes to one hour for revisions the following day, depending on what you need. A business plan is an incredibly important step – don’t skip it!

Meet and greet - www.talksweettome.com5. Networking. Connect with other local vendors. Do you or your friends know any wedding coordinators, florists, DJs, caterers, etc.? Is there a local group of wedding vendors you could get in touch with and/or attend a meeting? Is there a business networking group you could visit to see if they have any recommendations on who to talk with? Have you met other vendors during cake deliveries? Once you have a few people to get in touch with, ask if you can take them out for coffee since you’re just starting your cake business and would like to get their perspective on the industry and ask a few questions. A few tips:

  • Go to the meeting prepared with a list of questions to ask.
  • Dress professionally.
  • Take them a sample of your cake, and present it beautifully with your business card and contact information.
  • Offer to pay for their coffee – it’s not expensive, and shows your appreciation for their time.
  • At the end of the meeting, ask if there are some other contacts in the industry they would recommend getting in touch with.
  • Most importantly, thank them very much for their time.

Make sure you have their contact information also in case brides ask for referrals from you, and always follow up with a thank you note. Most people are more than willing to help out a new vendor since they are constantly looking for good referrals for their clients and can usually remember what it’s like to be in your shoes.

First impressions - www.talksweettome.com

6. Hire an excellent graphic designer. Get a professional logo and business cards made immediately. These will initially be your best return on investment as far as marketing goes since you can easily carry them with you and hand them out wherever you are. In this case, especially when starting out, if you look professional, people will believe you are professional. Only then do you get a chance to prove it.

My personal pet peeve: When people go to an online business card printer, pick a generic design, and order them because they are inexpensive. Your business cards are your first impression, and you only get one of those! I’ve got an amazing designer – contact me if you’d like her information. She absolutely “gets” our world of sugar and I would highly recommend her to anyone.

I hope this list will be helpful for you. Good luck! Do you have any additional recommendations? Let me know about them in the comments section!

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