The story is often very similar. Over the years, you’ve frequently been praised for the baked delights that come out of your home oven.
Friends and family hound you for your secret recipes, and shower you with flattering comments that are sweeter than your macaroons. Everyone says you should turn your passion into a successful business.
You never took it seriously before, but recently, you’re thinking about it. Do you really have what it takes? Should you do it? Can you do it? What’s involved?
Bakeries are Businesses
The first thing to bear in mind is that in opening a bakery, you are also starting a new business. This may seem obvious, but unfortunately, a lot of people overlook this simple connection and enter the industry ill prepared for the challenges that lay ahead.
You may have outstanding baking skills, but what do you know about running a small business? And more specifically, what you do you know about setting up and managing a bakery business?
The answer is most probably not much, or in some cases, not enough. In which case, it is important for you to find out as much as you can on how to run a business, and to learn about how to make a living as a baker.
For most people, this may be boring, tedious and quite intimidating, especially if you are new to operating a business, but it is very necessary and there’s no avoiding it.
To own a profitable bakery, not only do your products need to be outstanding, but you need to be able to manage the business efficiently too. In fact, some would argue that the business management aspects are even more important than the quality of the items baked.
Aspiring bakery entrepreneurs often have a common misconception that all you need to do is to be able to bake exceptionally well. If this were true, hundreds of bakeries would not have gone out of business in the past.
Are Your Baking Skills Sufficient?
There’s quite a bit of difference between baking limited quantities leisurely at home and producing larger volumes under pressure in a business.
In all likelihood, you’re probably very competent baking in your kitchen to churn out the delightful tasty treats you’ve been making for years. But have you tried increasing the volume by 10 times or more, constantly testing new recipes, and doing it every single day?
In other words, do you have the experience to bake on a larger scale for commercial purposes? Because this is what you need to do once you open up.
And to achieve this, you will need to hire other people. Do you have experience delegating to and managing a team of bakers and kitchen helpers?
For most of you, the answer is probably no. You’ve been used to doing it all yourself at home, and have very little exposure into how a real bakery business operates.
But don’t worry, as a lot of successful bakery owners started out in the same way. All you have to do is to acquire the knowledge and gain as much experience as you can before starting up.
If you can, try to get a job working in a bakery, as that will give you first hand experience of what it’s like. You’ll be able to learn how things are done, observe the challenges involved, and generally pick up some tricks of the trade.
Apart from getting real-life working experience yourself, you can hire experienced bakers to be part of your team and tap on their knowledge and know-how.
If you don’t know how everything is done at the outset, don’t worry. Ultimately, every bakery has their own way of doing certain things and you will refine your systems and processes along the way together with your team.