**none of the programs, stores, etc listed are sponsored**
There may be a period of time where you don’t have any order OR you’re starting and don’t know what to do. What’s the next step? Let’s get into it!
Although you may feel a certain way about not having orders, you are in a good position believe it or not. It not only gives you a time to rest (and hopefully get your eating schedule back on track) but also to create new ideas and improve on certain techniques. Here’s some things you can do while you wait:
We all get busy while baking and unintentionally get unorganized. Use this time to go through ALL the tools you have, from baking pans to cutters to molds to parchment paper AND anything else you have. Leave no stone unturned. You can create an Excel or Google Docs spreadsheet to show what items you have and the quantity. This can keep you from purchasing an item you already have. If you want to use an app, because there’s an app for everything, some are Inventory Now (iOS), Goods Order Inventory (iOS & Android) and Instant Inventory (Android). If you don’t want to spend Ikea money, you can get some organizational items from Walmart, Target, Aldi (a gem), discount stores like Ross, and Facebook Marketplace.
· Get Your Finances Together!
In order to know if you are meeting your goals, you have to know your numbers. When people think of keeping track of money, Quickbooks comes to mind. They offer a free 30 day free trial and then the basic membership is $25/mo (sometimes, they have 50% off deals so check them out). Write out your new sales goals and determine if your prices will remain the same, increase or decrease (due to inflation and new skills learned, your price should DEFINITELY increase, not remain the same or decrease). Not only do you need to check your goals but also make sure you have enough set aside for taxes!! You can check your state’s Tax Assessor or Sales Tax office via their website to confirm what the percentage is by state and the deadlines you have to pay. If you miss the deadline, more than likely, you will penalized by paying a late fee plus a certain amount per day. Missing the deadline = less money in your business pocket.
· What Are You Selling?
Do you advertise that you bake and sell cookies but you actually sell cupcakes and cakes more? You may want to consider either removing cookies completely from your product list or focus more on/advertise cupcakes and cakes. Advertising the items you sell more ensures more sales and brand loyalty among clients and potential clients as well as it allows you to focus more on the things people want from you. Facebook Business has one of the best algorithms to advertise a business; you can tailor your audience to age, interests, location, etc and Facebook will do the work for you. You can also advertise in other small groups like yard and estate sales, business offices and at local farmers markets. If you have any tools you will no longer use, you can give them to a friend, another baker, a thrift store, or you could sell them. If you are a home baker, make sure you research your state's Cottage Laws to find out if anything has changed since the last time you viewed it.
· Sharpen your pencil!
What does this mean? Take this time to sharpen and/or learn new skills. If you want to improve the look of fondant or a new design on your cakes, use dummy cakes to do it. If you need to improve a recipe, get your ingredients and get a trash bag ready. If you want to learn how to decorate with royal icing, get your ingredients and tools ready. The sharper your skills, the more you can charge. Dummy cakes are very versatile and can be decorated for display for later (weddings, parties, etc) and competitions. Without any orders, the primary goal should be to sharpen your skills. Some ways you can sharpen your skills are through taking classes from other bakers, YouTube, craft stores and pastry books. Sometimes, you can ask pastry chefs who work in the field questions and they’ll answer you (if they have time and if they’d like to).
(Cake Dummy Tip: To get the fondant to stay on the dummy cake, first rub it down with Crisco or your preferred shortening. It’ll smooth out the dummy cake so when you lie the fondant on it, it’ll remain on it. You can also use royal icing to cover the lines and dents, especially when decorating a double barrel dummy cake. Just make sure you smooth it out to avoid ugly bumps and bulges.)
Don’t be dismayed during down time. It’s a blessing and it combats burnout. Hope these tips help you the next time you have that feeling. Happy baking!