If you are a passionate cook, you find it creative and inspiring to bake and love to try out new dishes. Starting a baking business can be a fun venture for you. Plan meticulously and your business can be on the run within a month. Let’s learn how to scale up your hobby into a home business, from Shivani Chauhan, founder of “The Artisan Bakehouse” and Mughlai Kitchen, based at Noida, U.P. India.
“I am a self-taught baker. I started baking at the age of 6 with my mother and grandfather (a chef by profession). My family & friends always cherished my culinary delights. I was happily married and doing well in my corporate career. Life was going on smooth but soon I realized baking is my true calling. To begin with, in mid 2016, I established a small baking facility at home and started taking orders”. Recounts Shivani.
“My focus has always been to deliver quality products. People started liking my stuff and within no time the frequency of orders increased. So, I decided to go for commercial setup. My husband supported me and we liquidated little personal assets to give my dream a kick start” Says Shivani.
“I hadn’t made enough money yet to hire professional resource and felt stuck again, my younger brother came forward to help me. He learnt the skills from me and joined me as bakery chef. I started hiring and training staff gradually. My work picked up well, I started catering for birthday parties/weddings/ other functions in Gurugram and Delhi area as well. I opened my new shop in the month of February 2020″.
Unfortunately, with Covid -19 outbreak and subsequent lockdown, my shop and bakery were shut down completely. I required a ground-breaking approach to survive. As unlock process began, my brother and I took the charge for the production with handful of staff. Keeping in mind the new normal for safety I changed the model. “ Shivani continues to share her ordeal of management of manpower and other logistics.
• Home delivery service was stopped. Packets with name and address tags were kept in the tower lobby for contact-less self-pick up.
• Accepted ‘Cashless payments only’ .
“I could also sense the growing demand of a safe alternative for cravings of restaurant cuisine. So, I introduced some of my favorite Indian recipes. That’s how my Mughlai Kitchen fell into place and to all my surprise, it became highly successful within no time. It helped me to reach out to more customers than the regular buyers of breads/ cake and pastries. Though I have been working extremely hard these days but I am so satisfied. I feel, with the zeal to innovate with time, anyone can sail through hard times”. She adds.
Step by step guidelines on how to scale up your baking hobby into a home business:
Things you should contemplate beforehand.
• What you enjoy baking the most,
• Who would want to buy the products
• What the competition in your area is like.
• Exactly what you are planning to market
Some more important business tips one must consider are:
• Plan your kitchen space
Treat it like a business environment with hygiene standards and right facilities.
• Get a permit
Compliance is an important aspect before going ahead to set up your live or cloud kitchen. Two major registrations are GST and FSSAI. you can apply online at.
• Set appropriate prices
How much you are spending in the production – including your ingredients, equipment, clean up, packaging, promotion and time. This will help you to set prices that are fair both to you and your customers. Remember “your time” is the biggest hidden cost here.
• Find support
Speaking of friends and family, a support system is crucial in the baking business, baking is only half the commitment. You’ll need to market your business, take orders, help customers and do an array of administrative tasks.
• Write a business plan and assess your start-up funds
Once you know what kind of bakery you want to open, look at the business from every angle. You won’t make profits overnight, so you need to sit down and figure out when you’ll break even and how much money you’ll need to survive
1. Find ways to generate revenue, list expenses
2. Identify your customer base
3. Examine your competition
4. Compile a list of equipment, from appliances like ovens and refrigerators, to smaller items like utensils and pans and tools.
5. Advertise your new business, make sure that people know that delicious home made goods are available for sale right in their community
From home business, you can plan to scale up the business.You can start catering to large customers or open a small retail outlet. But do keep in mind the following:
1. Select the kind of bakery you’d like to open
One of the first decisions. Be sure you’re not making this decision in a bubble. Do have an insight of National and local trends and decide which one is right for you.
Online. You don’t need a storefront to open a bakery. You can start out online, with pictures of your work, a way to place an order and payment gateway you can run it from your home.
Counter service. With a small commercial space, customers can walk in and pick up baked goods from an employee-managed counter.
Sit down. It’s a growing trend in the bakery industry right now. Plan a space that has both an area to order baked goods and spot to sit and enjoy them.
2. Focus on your customers
You can spend all day and night in the kitchen creating the next best cake, but if no one knows about it, it doesn’t matter. That’s why you have to spend time and money to market your business. My suggestion to aspiring bakers and chefs is not to invest too much money on print media like flyers, banners or newspaper ad etc., conversion rate is very less in the beginning.
Social media is a great way to promote your business and reach out to more potential customers. you continuously need to update your profile like your Business pages on Instagram and Facebook to engage your audience. Write a blog. Create WhatsApp group for immediate buyers.
Join groups As with any business, networking can bring in more customers. Join local business groups, small business association and forge relationships with suppliers and buyers both.
Feedback Speak with your customers at the counter, and ask for product suggestion.
“I firmly believe, ‘word of mouth’ is the best tool of marketing. Of course, it takes time to build up your relationship with customers but you will gain their loyalty forever. Happy customers become repeat customers, so work to make each customer experience memorable. Maintain the quality of your products, uniqueness and the personal touch, it will make you stand out of the crowd”. Believes Shivani.