Is it possible to start a business based solely on cupcakes? Aren’t they cute little sprinkly things for girls’ birthday parties? Yes. And people pay top dollar for pink and sprinkly things.
Think of it as a highly-specialized catering business, and now let’s take a closer look at what it really means to start a cupcake business out of your home.
The first thing to do is to get a sense of your demographic, who is in need of little deserts for what reasons, etc. How much disposable income do the people in your community have? If you really want to be a pro, you can easily access census information and find out which areas, broken down by small parcels of just a few blocks, have the most children, etc.
From there, it’s a matter of finding out what prices local chain groceries offer, what kind of business local bakeries are doing. Are there are any needs these parties aren’t meeting? Do the grocery stores lack freshness or quality? Do some of the small businesses lack the capacity for special orders, custom decorations? Do they tack on exorbitant prices for party-sized orders or require too much notice, etc? Might you be able to excel by offering delivery?
Also keep in mind that there are a wide variety of niches you can occupy, including gluten-free or sugar-free products as one part of your line. Without a doubt, you’ll want to do something that other businesses do not.
One of the particular issues pertaining to baking is the specifications of your kitchen. You’ll have to meet local requirements, so that’s one of the first tasks to attend to, before opening your doors.
From there, you’ll want to figure out how to get your supplies at the lowest rates and establish accounts with suppliers. Tangentially, it’s also important to have your accounting system in place as well as your process of accepting payments. You’ll have to look into some of the online payment processing tools, including those with mobile apps. You may choose to go with a professional accountant, but it’s not a decision you need to make before day one—it may depend on your volume and on your expansion.
Social media will probably be a big component of marketing a home-based cupcake business. One of your strategies you may prefer is trying to connect with schools, sports leagues or teams and other organizations. You may not be selling a cupcake here or there, but bulk orders for parties, etc. Therefore, you’re going to need to build a list of groups or organizations that will be in need of your sweet items.
You may go the route of “guerilla” techniques like handing out free samples to secretaries at schools and local businesses, etc. You don’t need to plaster ads all over the place or try to become some sort of big name in your community. Your business will work best with a small group of loyal, dedicated customers who have as regular a need for cupcakes as possible.
Remember to make those cupcakes look pretty, keeping your audience in mind!