Questions to ask yourself before starting new business

Dear Krystle and Pauline,
I would love to start my own business making and selling cupcakes. I have always loved baking and have recently been made redundant from my job as a teaching assistant.  Although I love working with kids, I would love to explore the creative side of my talents.  I have some savings but I need this to live on while I decide what direction I want to go in. I would be grateful for any advice as I feel that at 29, time is running out.

Dear Gemma,
Thank you for writing in, as your letter reflects the current economic climate. There are a lot of people in their late twenties upwards, who are being made redundant from jobs which were traditionally secure, safe positions.

This age bracket is also the target area when people reflect on their lives and careers and consider other options and opportunities.  

Ten years ago at 29, we would have said you had plenty of time to make your mark, but not now. Now we would advise you to do as much as you can while you are fit, healthy, motivated and hungry for success.

The baking industry has recently become very saturated with cupcake makers, as everyone and their daughters seek to cash in on their fun hobby. You will commonly see these opportunists at schools fetes, farmers markets and other fairs. There are also many small boutique bakeries opening in Yummy Mummy areas, but we do wonder how sustainable new cupcake start-ups are in today’s cutthroat market.

There are a few bakeries that have a franchise of stores, which makes financial sense as they can buy produce in bulk.  For this reason they may be able to withstand the tough climate. For a fresh starter like yourself, we would ask the following: Do you have any experience in the catering industry? Have you researched any of the food health and safety regulations or certifications that you need to be able to sell food to the public? And the biggest one of all is, what is your USP or unique selling point, which puts you ahead of your competitors?

As you are 29, you’re just under the age cap and able to approach the Princes Trust, as they provide help to people who want to start their own business within the age of 19-30.

Rachael Founder of Zany Cakes has the following advice. Start small, baking from home, thereby keeping your overheads low. Check out your local area and establish whether there’s a market, as the closer to home your clientele is, the more convenient and cost effective it will be. Research new and innovative flavours and don’t be afraid to experiment, as this could be the USP that sets you apart from your competition. Research any affordable fairs or festivals, and always carry business cards with you wherever you go. Good luck!

By Krystle and Pauline Downie

Krystle and Pauline Downie run It’s My Magazine, a personalised album for your event, presented in the style of a glossy magazine, and Kadence Bluu, Hair Integration Solutions for women experiencing hair loss.
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