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The GBBO Effect: Setting up a home baking business

The Great British Bake Off is more popular than ever with over 10m of us tuning in to be entertained by collapsing gingerbread houses. So for those inspired by the show – planning to move to a baking career or create a side-job – here's how to set up shop at home.
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There might be some controversy around its move to Channel 4, but we can be certain that over the last seven years the BBC hit has turned us into a nation of cake lovers, with total sales of baked goods growing by almost eight per cent between 2010 and 2015.

Whether it be eating or making, the show has made people fall in love with baking again. And it will be the inspiring push for many entrepreneurs to turn their passion into a profession and think about setting up their own dream baking business.

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Turning this dream into a reality takes more than a few cakes though. For anyone thinking about a change of career, or hoping to make side cash from a hobby of creating sweet treats, the heat will not just be on in the kitchen. From getting paid and monitoring cash flow, to balancing profit and loss, how can aspiring entrepreneurs knead their way through managing their own business and make the “GBBO effect” last? 

Here are six top tips to help your baking business rise to success – tips that can also be used to start up any side venture or firm.

(1) Be sure you’re ready

It takes blood, sweat (flour) and tears to get a business going, and likely even more dedication to turn it into a profitable venture. Don’t take the decision to start lightly.

(2) Track your competition

The baking market is a competitive one, so making your bakes stand out is crucial. Monitoring your competitors is a good way to find your unique selling point and keep one step ahead of them.

(3) Listen to your audience

It’s not all down to taste. Customer feedback on your service and delivery is crucial to evolving and improving your business. Set up the relevant social media channels and start conversations. See what is working on your website by using Google Analytics, and always act on the information gained immediately.

(4) Stay on top of your finances

Poor financial management is a common reason why start-ups fail, so don’t spend all your time in the kitchen. Starting with strong financial footing and then keeping a close eye on the books is vital. 

(5) Keep track of your business performance

Once you’re up and running, having a complete overview of your finances will help you make fast and informed decisions. This might be looking at a healthy pipeline and deciding it’s time to invest in new equipment or identifying a need to ramp up marketing.

(6) Don’t be afraid to fail

Any recipe can go wrong until you find how it works for you and you get that perfect bake. Many inspiring entrepreneurs formed successful businesses after numerous attempts. Getting the recipe right and trying again will ultimately lead to your success.

Once you have a solid base to start your baking business and make it run smoothly, you can finally spend time doing what inspired you in the first place… bake!

Dominic Allon is Europe VP and MD of Intuit QuickBooks.

We also look at how Biscuiteers has channeled the nation’s love of cakes, cookies and croissants to produce a fast-growing business stocking retailers such as Harrods and Fortnum & Mason.

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