Selling My Cake Business

At the beginning of last year in 2016 I was 100% focused on selling my cake business, The Vanilla Pod Bakery.  I had simply got bored with it and didn’t see how I could lead the life I ultimately wanted and run my cake business at the same time.  One day I would love to travel the world. 

 

5.5 Years Of Challenges

The Vanilla Pod Bakery started life back in 2009  and for the first 5 and half years I had a lot of challenges. Lots of ups and downs.  Nearly gave up when it was at it’s worse but then turned a corner to success. 

I got systems in place, I revamped my prices, rejigged my expenses, found my niche,  concentrated on the end customers. In fact realised who my ideal customer was vital in helping my marketing. I drilled down, focused and moved forward faster than I ever thought possible.

I went from working full time turning over between £65,000 and making a less than zero profit (goodness knows how I survived!) to working in the business part-time and turning over £35,000 and making a £25,000 profit.

 

Achieved My Goal Now What

Back to last year. I had a got bored. I had build the business up to a level that was consistent but lacked a challenge. For the past 5.5 years I had a new and scary challenges. Now that I had achieved my goal of creating a sustainable bakery business I became uninspired so I thought the next step was to sell it. That would be challenge.

Pia's Cake Business Journey

 

The Selling Process

I contacted several agencies who talked me through what I could achieve if I sold my cake business. When I had it valued last year they said I could get between £5,000 – £7,000. I thought that was a fair price. But friends and family told me I had worked too hard to build the business to sell it for that.

I went back to one agency and asked them what would I need to do to get a sale of between £10,000 – £15,000 or more for the business. They came back to me and said make the business less about you. Create a business that anyone with a business mind could run. I thought, ok,  new challenge accepted.

 

Getting Ready to Sell My Cake Business

Over next 10 months from January to October everything I did with the Vanilla Pod Bakery was to get  ‘sale’ ready. I increased my marketing efforts so I would have a full order book for the new buyer, I create a digital product to sell on my website (FYI I still haven’t done anything with that), updated the Vanilla Pod Bakery policies/producers handbook and constantly thought about ways in which I could sell i t (gumtree, word of mouth, etc). 

All the while thinking, am I doing the right thing. What happens when it sales. Sure I’d go travelling but then what. Make Money With Cakes is slowly up surely growing but it is a start up business and at the moment I can’t take an income from it. Ummm. 

 

Chance Conversions

In the Autumn of 2016 I had a chance conversion with a friend and then another friend both which lead me down the road of doing a complete U-turn.  

The first friend simply asked me ‘what will you do when you want to have a family?’ She went on to say ‘at the moment you have a business that is growing slowly but steadily year on year, it is bringing you in an income, you understand the business inside out’. (Side note: I am about as far off from having a family as you can imagine, single lady here – happily single might I add too). But it resonated. It resonated far more than I thought. Now I am in my 30’s a family is something I would love to have within the next 10 years. 

The conversion kept playing in my mind.  I was like that is all very well to stick with Vanilla Pod Bakery but I am so ambitious.  At the moment I am only one person. I only want to work part-time on business, so there is only so far I can grow it. Queue chatting to another baker friend (Sue from the Homebaked Gift Company) who simply said “freelancers”. 

 

Falling Into Place

Suddenly things started to fit into place. I could visualise myself running the business side, doing the marketing, meeting people, answering enquiry, exhibiting at wedding fayres and creating the occasional cake when I needed to get my creative on but fielding most of the cakes to a team of super talented freelancers. Freelancers who loved creating cakes but didn’t want to run a business. Freelancers who would be happy to work under the Vanilla Pod Bakery brand. It all instantly seemed to click. The journey seemed exciting again, a new challenge, well lots of new challenges lay ahead, taking on freelancers, training, mentoring them, bringing in more business, ramping up my marketing and more. 

 

2017: The Next Chapter

On November 9th my strategy for Vanilla Pod Bakery changed. A rough new plan was but in place. New ideas raced through my head. It was fantastic, I felt I got my entrepreneurial spirit back for The Vanilla Pod Bakery. As a bonus I thought I would write about my journey on here to help and inspire you guys too. 

I am so excited about what 2017 will bring. As soon as I made the decision not to sell things moved really quickly. I got one freelancer in place before the end of 2016. She is amazing. My aim is to have a team of 3 specialist freelancers by the end of year and the goal is to create 60 wedding cakes this year.   Last year I created 45 wedding cakes by myself so 60 with extra helps seems achievable.

It is nerve-racking saying it out loud but the more I do the more it will become reality! 😀 

Pia Cato

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