Start a cake decorating business from home

The business of cake decorating

 

We asked 80 professional full time cake decorators 50 questions about themselves and their businesses, here is what they had to say:

 

Number of cake decorators

(Percentage of cake decorators)

 

1) How long have you been a full time cake decorator?
  1. Less than a year - 5 (6.25%)
  2. 1 to 3 years - 15 (18.75%)
  3. 3 to 5 years - 24 (30%)
  4. more than 5 years - 36 (45%)

 

2) Why did you choose to start a cake decorating business?
  1. It is good money - 35 (43.75%)
  2. It is creative - 7 (8.75%)
  3. It is cheap and fast to set up - 21 (26.25%)
  4. To be able to work from home - 14 (17.5%)
  5. None of the above - 3 (3.75%)

 

3) How old were you when you launched your cake decorating business?
  1. 25 or less - 17 (21.25%)
  2. 26 to 35 - 39 (48.75%)
  3. 36 to 45 - 12 (15%)
  4. 46 or more - 12 (15%)

 

4) When you first launched your cake decorating business did you already have experience in running a home based business?
  1. Yes - 21 (26.25%)
  2. No - 59 (73.75%)

 

5) How long did it take for your business to become profitable?
  1. Less than a month - 11 (13.75%)
  2. 1 to 3 months - 29 (36.25%)
  3. 3 to 6 months - 20 (25%)
  4. 6 to 12 months - 12 (15%)
  5. More than a year - 8 (10%)

 

6) How long would it take for your business to become profitable if you were to start a cake decorating business today using your current knowledge and experience?
  1. Less than a month - 44 (55%)
  2. 1 to 3 months - 31 (38.75%)
  3. 3 to 6 months - 5 (6.25%)
  4. 6 to 12 months - 0
  5. More than a year - 0

 

7) What do you like the most about running your own business?
  1. The freedom - 25 (31.25%)
  2. The money - 32 (40%)
  3. Being your own boss - 17 (21.25%)
  4. Being creative - 6 (7.5%)

 

8) Is the global economic downturn affecting your business?
  1. Yes - 7 (8.75%)
  2. No - 61 (76.25%)
  3. I don't know - 12 (15%)

 

9) Is your business currently..
  1. ..expanding - 35 (43.75%)
  2. ..contracting - 9 (11.25%)
  3. ..stable - 36 (45%)

 

10) As a business owner what scares you the most about the following?
  1. Lack of money - 24 (30%)
  2. Recession - 2 (2.5%)
  3. Bad press - 14 (17.5%)
  4. Wrong political decisions - 33 (41.25%)
  5. Competition - 7 (8.75)

 

11) Which of the following do you think is more important to have for somebody just starting a cake decorating business?
  1. A business plan - 11 (13.75%)
  2. Market knowledge - 35 (43.75%)
  3. A marketing strategy - 32 (40%)
  4. A correct pricing structure - 2 (2.5%)
  5. Knowledge of rules and regulations - 0

 

12) Did you have a business plan when you first started your cake decorating business?
  1. Yes - 9 (11.25%)
  2. No - 71 (88.75%)

 

13) Did you do any market research before starting?
  1. Yes - 17 (21.25%)
  2. Just a little - 21 (26.25%)
  3. None at all - 42 (52.5%)

 

14) What do you think is more important in running a profitable cake decorating business?
  1. To have good cake decorating skills - 14 (17.5%)
  2. To have good business skills - 40 (50%)
  3. To have luck - 6 (7.5%)
  4. All of the above equally - 20 (25%)

 

15) What has been for you the biggest challenge of starting a home based business?
  1. Developing self discipline - 7 (8.75%)
  2. Separating home and work life - 12 (15%)
  3. Resisting distractions and intrusions - 22 (27.5%)
  4. Learning to live without a fixed income - 39 (48.75%)

 

16) Which of the following hurdles was the toughest to overcome before becoming a successful cake decorator?
  1. Lack of business knowledge - 14 (17.5%)
  2. Lack of start up money - 11 (13.75%)
  3. Lack of sales - 51 (63.75%)
  4. Aggressive competition - 2 (2.5%)
  5. None of the above - 2 (2.5%)

 

17) Did you have to borrow money to start your cake decorating business?
  1. No - 63 (78.75%)
  2. Yes, I borrowed money from friends and family - 14 (17.5%)
  3. Yes, I borrowed money from the bank - 3 (3.75%)

 

18) What do you think is more important in a cake?
  1. Looks - 32 (40%)
  2. Taste - 4 (5%)
  3. Looks and taste equally - 44 (55%)

 

19) What do you think sells a cake better?
  1. Looks - 78 (97.5%)
  2. Taste - 0
  3. Looks and taste equally - 2 (2.5%)

 

20) How many days do you work on average per week?
  1. 1 day - 0
  2. 2 days - 0
  3. 3 days - 8 (10%)
  4. 4 days - 25 (31.25%)
  5. 5 days - 33 (41.25%)
  6. 6 days - 10 (12.5%)
  7. 7 days - 4 (5%)

 

21) How frequently do you review your product range?
  1. Monthly or less - 2 (2.5%)
  2. Quaterly - 45 (56.25%)
  3. Yearly or more - 33 (41.25%)

 

22) How often do you change prices?
  1. Monthly or less - 6 (7.5%)
  2. Quaterly - 39 (48.75%)
  3. Yearly or more - 35 (43.75%)

 

23) Do you use a price matrix to price your cakes?
  1. Yes - 3 (3.75%)
  2. No - 50 (62.5%)
  3. I use my own pricing method - 27 (33.75)

 

24) Have you ever accidentally underpriced your cakes?
  1. Yes - 31 (38.75%)
  2. No - 49 (61.25%)

 

25) Do you offer discounts?
  1. Yes regularly - 0
  2. Yes but rarely - 17 (21.25%)
  3. No I do not offer discounts - 63 (78.75%)

 

26) How do you find most new customers?
  1. Recommended - 19 (23.75%)
  2. Referred - 51 (63.75%)
  3. Advertising - 7 (8.75%)
  4. Other - 3 (3.75%)

 

27) Do you sometimes have to turn down potential orders because you have too much work to do?
  1. Yes quite regularly - 43 (53.75%)
  2. Yes but rarely - 30 (37.5%)
  3. No I never had to turn down orders -7 (8.75%)

 

28) How much does seasonality affect your sales?
  1. A lot - 41 (51.25%)
  2. A bit - 32 (40%)
  3. None at all - 7 (8.75%)

 

29) Do you allocate time to improve your cake decorating skills?
  1. Yes regularly - 0
  2. Yes but rarely - 12 (15%)
  3. No, I will learn a new skill only if I have to - 68 (85%)

 

30) Do you do custom work?
  1. Yes regularly - 32 (40%)
  2. Yes but rarely - 27 (33.75%)
  3. No I don't do custom work - 21 (26.25%)

 

31) Do you have a website?
  1. Yes - 31 (38.75%)
  2. No - 47 (58.75%)
  3. Under construction - 2 (2.5%)

 

32) Do you sell online?
  1. Yes - 4 (5%)
  2. No - 76 (95%)

 

33) Do you think a cake decorator needs a website?
  1. Yes - 23 (28.75%)
  2. Yes but it is not essential - 39 (48.75%)
  3. No - 18 (22.5%)

 

34) Do you accept creditcards as a form of payment?
  1. Yes - 12 (15%)
  2. No - 47 (58.75%)
  3. No, but considering it - 21 (26.25%)

 

35) Did you ever deliberately underprice your competitors?
  1. Yes - 19 (23.75%)
  2. No - 61 (76.25%)

 

36) Have you ever driven a competitor out of business?
  1. Yes -17 (21.25%)
  2. No - 63 (78.75%)

 

37) Do you copy ideas from other cake decorators?
  1. Yes regularly - 17 (21.25%)
  2. Sometimes - 58 (72.5%)
  3. No, never - 5 (6.25%)

 

38) Do your competitors copy ideas from you?
  1. Yes regularly - 50 (62.5%)
  2. Sometimes - 21 (26.25%)
  3. No, never - 9 (11.25%)

 

39) Did you ever Sell copyrighted designs without authorisation?
  1. Yes - 3 (3.75%)
  2. No - 77 (96.25%)

 

40) Do you deliver your cakes?
  1. Yes - 38 (47.5%)
  2. No - 4 (5%)
  3. Sometimes - 38 (47.5%)

 

41) Would you consider opening a commercial bakery?
  1. Yes I am planning it - 6 (7.5%)
  2. Possibly -31 (38.75%)
  3. No never - 43 (53.75%)

 

42) How many times a year do you go on holiday?
  1. Never - 5 (6.25%)
  2. Once a year - 17 (21.25%)
  3. 2 times a year - 35 (43.75%)
  4. 3 times a year or more - 23 (28.75%)

 

43) Do you offer help and advice to people who want to set up their own business?
  1. Yes frequently - 13 (16.25%)
  2. Yes but rarely - 29 (36.25%)
  3. No - 38 (47.5%)

 

44) Do you think you could earn more money in a different occupation?
  1. Yes - 9 (11.25%)
  2. No - 48 (60%)
  3. I don't know - 23 (28.75%)

 

45) Do you think you could be happier in another occupation?
  1. Yes - 3 (3.75%)
  2. No - 61 (76.25%)
  3. Maybe - 16 (20%)

 

46) Does running a cake decorating business allow you enough time to pursue other hobbies and interests?
  1. Yes Plenty - 27 (33.75%)
  2. Yes some - 44 (55%)
  3. No, cake decorating takes up all my time - 9 (11.25%)

 

47) If you wake up on a warm summer's morning and feel like taking a day out would you do so also if you have work to do?
  1. Yes, I always do it - 48 (60%)
  2. I rarely take a day out without planning it ahead - 26 (32.5%)
  3. No - 6 (7.5%)

 

48) Do you reward yourself with luxuries such as sports cars, boats and expensive holidays?
  1. Yes regularly - 12 (15%)
  2. Sometimes - 51 (63.75%)
  3. No, never - 17 (21.25%)

 

49) Are you saving for retirement?
  1. Yes regularly - 43 (53.75%)
  2. Yes Sometimes - 29 (36.25%)
  3. No, never - 8 (10%)

 

50) Do you think you will still be making cakes once you retire?
  1. Yes - 31 (38.75%)
  2. No - 7 (8.75%)
  3. I don't know - 42 (52.5%)

 

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