As a professional chef, I have always known that consistency is key to any food business. It translates to any other product too; electronics, toys, clothes, and basically anything you can think of. When I started my own business, I soon realised that Consistency Is Key For Bakery Business Success.
Consistency Is Key For Bakery Business Success
Consistency is not just important for the product. You have to be consistent with your staff and customers. If you say one thing and do another, this doesn’t sit right with anyone.
I Made Mistakes
Although my products were consistently well made and standards were always set really high, the way I added new products and changed the layout of the bakery shop was very inconsistent. This inconsistency took away from the brand and I think affected the cupcakes negatively. This also rolled over to the staff, who were presented with an inconsistent shop to work in.
Having a strong brand allowed us to get away with it, but only just. If we weren’t in such a prominent city centre location, then I don’t think we would have made it.
So now when I set up anything new, I spend a lot of time planning everything beforehand. I start as I mean to go on, and don’t make any additions until my original plan has succeeded or failed. There is a funny thing in our society where people who fail are ridiculed. Failure is actually key to success! Richard Branson once said, ‘if you don’t make mistakes, you don’t make anything.’ The trick is, to fail fast! Realise that what you have created isn’t working and isn’t going to work, then stop immediately and try something else. Often, criticism will come from those that have never tried anything themselves.
Know When To Add Products Or Services
Adding new products or services to a business is a good thing to do, but there are times when it is not recommended. For example, carrying on with a bad idea and then introducing more ideas alongside it to try to rescue the situation. Keeping a bad idea, or a bad business running and hoping new ideas (or products) will help, is not sensible and will rarely pay off.
Another example is adding new products when you don’t need to. This is pretty much what I did. I shouldn’t have added new products to the cupcakes, instead, I should have put everything into the cupcakes and focussed on them with a laser-like focus.
Our newest venture, the social enterprise, www.epicanimalquest.com is focussed on vegan, homeschooling families that like to travel. That sums up who we focus on. When I write for them I think about what they would like to read and what they would be interested in. I am very strict that I don’t go off trying to appeal to, for example, gap year vegan backpackers. While the information could translate to them, I don’t try and include them. Until we have completely owned the vegan homeschool family traveller market, I’m not moving on to another one.
Own Your Niche
Focussing on one group or niche doesn’t mean all others will be excluded, though. You will still get some gap year vegan backpackers following you. The majority will be the target customer, though, so appealing to them will increase your bottom line. Trying to appeal to everyone will not.
Huffington post did this. They focussed on one blog theme and owned it and then added more and more until they got to be the media giant they are now. They were careful not to rush to add new genres until they had fully executed on their first one.
So fight the urge to sell all things to everyone, you are not a supermarket. Focus on a niche and then do everything in your power to own that niche in a consistent manner. When you get there, add another and repeat the process. You will be surprised at how profitable owning a niche can be.
1000 True Fans
I work on the principle that 1000 true fans are all a business needs to be successful. If you can have 1000 raving fans, then you can sell to them, upsell products or services, and ask them for recommends. You can be sure they will come back time and time again and keep buying from you. Keep them happy and they will tell all their friends to come to you too.
Once you have 1000 true fans, then focus and see what you can do to serve them better. Can you add on a product or service that they need? Can you upsell more? These 1000 customers will be the foundation of your business and will allow you to scale up correctly and take your business to the next level. I firmly believe that in order to get to 1000 true fans, you have to be consistent.
How To Be Consistent
All this is great, but how do you become consistent in business? Here are 18 ways that I make sure I am consistent in business and in life generally:
- Do what you say you will do when you say you will do it
- Be realistic and never promise what you know you can’t deliver
- Be Positive
- Set Goals
- Change things slowly
- Never make snap decisions
- Set Boundaries
- Focus on your niche
- Design your perfect customer and always sell to them
- Take ownership and never blame others if it’s your fault
- Always be honest – integrity is everything in business and in life
- Keep Motivated
- Don’t be afraid to fail
- Use templates for all your forms, products, and services
- Develop a set of policies and procedures and use them
- Don’t listen to negative people and avoid them at all costs
- If you make a mistake, work through it until the end and then move on
- Never run and hide when things go wrong
I hope this helps you and your business so you don’t make the same mistake as me. I stand by these 18 points especially integrity and owning a problem. I have encountered many people who lie, steal, cheat, and blame other people and they never last long in business. So be a winner and always be consistent and your bakery business will be a huge success!