Selling your baked goods or any product for that matter is a huge hurtle for a lot of people. I know for myself, when I started the catering company I was planning on having a partner to do all the sales. I imagined myself happily baking away in the kitchen while she was out pounding the pavement getting new customers. My dream business was to spend the day in the kitchen with the mixers and ovens running, and maybe answering the phone when the orders were pouring in. Boy oh boy was I delusional.
First off, having a business partner is a terrible idea. I know, it is so tempting to take a look at other peoples strengths and wanting to partner up with them because what they bring to the table is something you don’t feel you are good at. I won’t even get into all the reasons partnerships are a bad idea, but trust me, all the experts advise against it. There are more potential problems than benefits to that situation.
I know you might not want to hear this, I know I didn’t. You are best suited to sell your products. If you are just starting out, you get to wear all the hats, remember? I know it seems scary, but think about it. You know your product better than anyone else on the planet. You understand all the benefits of using the quality products teamed with the expertise you have to produce those treasured family recipes everyone loves. You can just see and smell the aroma of walking into your grandma’s kitchen. Now you are using her recipe to start your business. It is a tribute to her, and that will come through in your voice.
If your customer asks about the ingredients, the baking process, you are the expert, you made them. If you are making bread, you can explain why you use a combination of grains to make the bread taste the way it does. You can tell them about the benefits of adding things like flax, nuts and wheat germ. You can speak to the value of using honey for your sweetener. You get the drift. Besides that, if you are a solopreneur, your customers love to see you . In my experience, people love to ask about how I made the ______. It is my opinion that taking the time to chat and be present to the customer and pay attention to them is totally worth it. It sets you apart from the other companies they might choose to do business with. So let’s get down to business – how can you sell you product?
Who will buy what you bake?
If you answer that by saying “Everybody”, you will have to put a check mark next to that question. The truth of the matter is that there are only certain people who are willing to buy from you. I apologize if that sounds harsh, but I am a realist. People have lots of choices and there is a lot of competition. Don’t be discouraged though, competition is a fact of life. Look at the up side of it, if there is competition, it simply means there is demand for your product. Besides, you could not possibly serve everyone, so you just need to find the niche of people that you can sell to.
The grocery and big box stores will beat you out on price every single time, so don’t even think of trying to compete on price. You won’t make any money. You also will kill yourself if you don’t limit the products you are going to offer. Are you seeing where I am going with this?
Specialize, be the best at a particular thing or group of similar products. If you love to make bread, start with that. If you have the best cookies on the planet, start scooping. If you are going to sell decorated cakes, start thinking of a group of people to sell them too. For instance, if you love to make really fancy cakes, brides may be your market. If so, have you checked out the next bridal fare? Are you planning on taking your portfolio along with samples to let people taste your cakes to make sure they taste as good as they look.
I could go on and on, but instead I want to invite you to sign up for my free mini webinars. We can talk about sales and marketing, what niche to target, where you might be able to sell, and so much more. My fingers get tired typing, so we can just talk. Please sign up for the next session by clicking on the link. I look forward to talking with you soon.