Starting a Cake Decorating Business

So now that you’ve spent time learning about cake decorating and practicing the art of cake decorating, maybe taking some classes, reading some books, and generally building up your skills you want to start your own cake decorating business. Congratulations! Are you ready to get started?

Taking Stock

Before you get started with your new business, you need to sit down and ask yourself some hard questions.  Give yourself some time to really think about the answers to these questions carefully because they will affect your business.  You need to clarify what your desires are for this business and how you will make it succeed before anything else.  So while the business is still just an idea in your mind, ask yourself these questions:

Do I know enough to decorate cakes professionally?

Be honest with yourself about your skill level. If you’re still learning how to decorate cakes really well that’s ok, but if that’s the case you might want to put off starting the business until you have more experience.

If, on the other hand, you’ve had formal cake decorating classes and you’ve been reading every book on cake decorating that has come out in the last few years then you might just be ready to "go pro."

What kinds of cakes do I want to specialize in?

It’s in your best interest to pick one style of cake and specialize in it.  When people turn to a pro for cakes, they want to know that the person they are hiring makes those kinds of cakes all day long every day of the year and will be able to give them exactly what they want. 

To figure out what type of cake you want to specialize in, think about what kinds of cakes you like to decorate the most. Do you like decorating wedding cakes? Birthday cakes? Holiday cakes? Anniversary Cakes? Pick one area that you think you would like to specialize in, such as Wedding Cakes or Birthday Cakes. You can always branch out from there later on but for now, start small and specialize.

Do I have the time to start a business?

Starting a small business is a very time consuming process. If you already work full time, or have a family at home, or both then you need to assess how much time you can really devote to starting your new business.

If you don’t have enough time in your current schedule, but starting a cake decorating business is really important to you then ask yourself where you could cut back to free up some of your time.  Can you take a leave of absence from your job? Can you cut back to part time hours? Can you afford to quit entirely?

If the time constraint comes from family obligations, ask yourself if there is a way to juggle your schedule to give you some time to focus on the business. Can your partner pick up the kids two days a week so you can spend the afternoon working on the business? Maybe a neighbor could watch the kids in exchange for some cakes or some baking lessons? Is there an activity that the kids could do after school that would give you a few hours to yourself to spend on the business each day?

Get creative when you’re thinking about your schedule and you can probably find a way to get the time you need and still fulfill your other obligations.

Do I have the money to start a business?

You don’t need a lot of money to start up a business these days, but you will need some. Sit down with your partner and go over your finances, assets, and liabilities. Figure out where you can cut back to save money and where you can afford to invest in a cake decorating business. Do you qualify for a small business loan? Can family or friends invest in the business to help you get started? Do some research at the library and online to find creative sources of business income.

It might take some time to research your finances and put together a solid financial plan for the business, but it’s something you have to do. The reason that so many small businesses fail is lack of financial planning.  If you need to, hire a financial professional who can help figure out what you can afford to put into your business and how to get your business off the ground.

Don’t give up if it seems like the money isn’t there.  If you are really dedicated to making cake decorating your profession and starting a business of your own then you can find a way to make it happen. But you have to believe in yourself and in your business potential. Utilize all the resources that you can and don’t give up!