When I lived in Atlanta, there was a husband and wife team in the Muslim community known for their amazing, decadent desserts: New York cheesecake, creme brulee, cupcakes, pies and so much more. The brother was an unemployed, but accomplished, pastry chef. He was having trouble finding work so he and his wife created their own own opportunity. They started out partnering with caterers to provide elegant desserts. They fulfilled individual orders on the side. Before they knew it, they were running a full fledged, home-based business.
You can turn that passion for food into a profitable business. You can sell baked goods online. Here’s what you need to make it happen.
How Does an Online Bakery Make Money?
An online bakery makes money simply by selling baked goods. Like any business, it pays to specialize. You might specialize in a type of baked good or you might specialize in an event or holiday.
For example, you could become the birthday baker. Or you might make the best gluten free vegan cookies on the planet. Specialize and you can create a name for yourself It’s much easier to market a specialty.
What Do You Need to Get Started?
To start your own online bakery you’ll need:
- A business plan
- Equipment to make your product
- Photos of your baked goods to use on your website
- A website or online store (you can sell your products on sites like Foodzie.com)
- A means to accept payment and ship your product
- A marketing plan – who is your audience and how will they learn about your business?
- A computer with an internet connection
You’ll also want to investigate your local legal requirements. Do you need a sales tax certificate? Do you need to be certified by your health department? Do you need insurance?
Tips and Ideas to Market Your Online Bakery
The more people who know about your business, the busier you’ll be. (And the more money you’ll make).
#1 Social Networking – Social networking is a great way to connect with others. You can let them know about your business and your delicious products. You might even create a fan page on Facebook. On this page you can share baking tips and special promotions.
#2 A Newsletter – Email marketing is a wonderful way to stay in touch with your existing customers. It’s also a great way to gain new ones. Consider creating a newsletter. In the newsletter you can include baking tips, recipes and even review or promote baking products. (You can earn extra income by becoming an affiliate for bake ware that you like and use).
#3 Testimonials and endorsements –Oprah has launched many cookie, candy and cupcake shops. If you have testimonials or endorsements by all means use them. Post them on your website. Share them in your marketing materials. Testimonials, reviews and endorsements help build demand for your product. They also motivate others to buy.
#4 Create a loyalty program or membership program –Your best customers are the ones who buy from you often. Creating a loyalty program can increase the number of ‘best customers’ you have. For example, you might start a cookie of the month program. People pay a discounted monthly membership and receive a dozen cookies in the mail each month.
#5 Partnerships. Consider partnering with other relevant businesses to cross promote. For example, if you sell gluten free vegan cookies and you know someone who sells gluten free vegan bread, you can promote each other.
The key to owning a successful online bakery is to start with a business plan. Who is your audience? What do you sell? How will you market your product? For as little as a few dollars you can have your online bakery up and running. Then you can start baking and profiting.