Inspired by the Great British Bake Off? How to start a cake baking business from scratch

It’s National Cupcake Week and The Great British Bake off is back on our screens – what a time to be alive! Whether you’re a fan of the new format or still pining for the days of Mary Berry, the Bake Off still has our nation baking, and more so this week than ever. But the question is, if you’ve been inspired, how can you go about using your baking skills to start a serious cake baking business venture?

 

The show has already been responsible for launching a few baking businesses and careers. Just ask Nadiya Hussain, who has never looked back since becoming the Bake Off Champion. She’s travelled the world, written books and even baked for royalty.

 

Of course, it’s hard to guarantee the same level of success, but more and more people are starting down that route as the market for baked goods continues growing rapidly. Experts have suggested the UK baking market could grow by 9% by 2020, and much of that growth will come from small scale, home-made baking products. You can make a living with a cake baking business by selling in street markets, local shops and in some cases on a national scale.

 

How to start a cake baking business

 

The chance to earn money by doing something you love is always tempting, but be aware of the potential obstacles, too. It all starts with the basics.

 

Make sure you have all the equipment

If you’re a keen baker you may already have most of what you need, but it could be a good idea to upgrade your equipment. Better equipment will lead to a better result and faster production.

 

Try out your recipes

Use friends and relatives as a test bed for your recipe ideas. Remember, you’re not only looking to see if they like it, but also how much they would be willing to pay if they saw it on sale. This helps you set your pricing.

 

Build your own skills

There is a gap between a good amateur and a professional. No matter how good you think you are it can be a good idea to take a professional commercial baking course before you set your business up fully. It will help you refine your skills and operate on a commercial scale. Just having the accreditation can reassure customers and create a more professional feel about your baking service.

 

Building the business

 

You need a little more than just baking skills to set up a cake baking business. You’ll have to think of a suitable business name, establish your brand, and work on finding your gap in the market. Here are some things to consider.

 

1. Branding

A great brand can make all the difference between a business which rises to the top, and one which falls flat, so to speak. Getting a logo designed professionally is one way of looking like you know what you’re doing right from the start of your venture.

 

2. Choosing a company name

The same goes for your name. Spend time thinking about a name which sticks in the mind and sums up everything that’s good and exciting about your business. There a no hard and fast rules about what makes a great name. Often it will just feel right.

 

3. Registering your company name 

Once you have a name, check it’s available via the search box on our home page. If it is, register the name as a limited company earlier rather than later. This will ensure that you as an individual are not liable to any debts the company might get into. Registering your name via our home page is simple and takes roughly 15 minutes.

 

Time to start trading

 

So, now you’ve brushed up your baking skills and purchased the right equipment, you’re almost ready to start trading. This begins with identifying a route to market.

 

Many bakers start their business selling at a local street market stall. These are becoming increasingly popular and are springing up all over the country. Some of the most famous markets, such as Borough Market in London, could really prove valuable, although renting the space can be extremely expensive. The competition can be fierce and it’s no easy matter to stand out in a crowded market, especially if you’re a newcomer. So, one important feature will be your company’s marketing.

 

Alternatively, you might find a good market in a local delicatessen or even a local supermarket. With consumers proving increasingly keen to buy locally sourced produce, many branches of the biggest chains are actively sourcing products from the local area – this could be your chance.

 

All in all, the thought of starting a new enterprise can be intimidating, but it's not as hard as you might think. Take it one step at a time, and build your company piece by piece. If you have the passion, imagination and drive to succeed, there’s no saying where it can take you.  

 

Happy National Cupcake Week! You can find more practical guidance on registering a limited company and getting into the food business over in the help centre or in our company formations guides.