Taking the first steps in starting a baking business from home, is not unlike starting any other business from home. If you are serious about embarking on this endeavor, there are many ways to do and just as many not to.
Avoid premature scaling
AKA: “I have this killer idea that i absolutely know everyone wants and i’m going to spend my life savings as rapidly as i can over the next 3 months”.
Forbes magazine, recently published an article that digs deeper …“My friends at Startup Genome just released a report on why startups fail. After analyzing surveys from 3,200 startups they concluded that of the majority of startups that failed, 70% fail because of premature scaling. Although, I did not run the analysis, based on the research I conducted for my recent book, Nail It then Scale It, I couldn’t agree more—most startups fail precisely because they try to scale too early. Oh yes, and by the way, premature scaling also kills innumerable new projects at existing businesses as well, so innovators everywhere, beware.” (read more)
So how do you avoid this pit fall then? It’s not rocket science. Here you go:
Find out your customer needs
Before you do anything – i.e. spend anything on websites, buying fancy food mixers or investing in a sexy cupcake franchise – just TALK to your customers. Yes, it sounds easy and straightforward but most early stage businesses avoid it.
- Talk to at least 25 perpective customers (do not skimp – get the phone book out if you have to)
- Avoid selling anything. I’ll say it again, avoid selling anything. You are in research mode, not selling your idea (scaling comes later).
- Be open-ended in your approach i.e. be open to hearing what people want to tell you they need. Do not put words in their mouth.
- If you hear that your idea is set to collapse like a bad soufflé, then BE HAPPY, you’ve just saved a stack of cash and time. Create something people really want.
Build a prototype
So you ask, how do i build a prototype for a baking business at home without spending a heafty wad of cash. Here’s a story, you can work out the rest yourself. A young entrepreneur thinks that creating a text-book rental service for college students is a great idea – think Netflix but instead of being mailed a DVD you get a text book on Chemistry 101 and when you’re finished you send it back – he has virtually no money and only 3o days to work out if the idea is a flier. Here’s what he did. Throw up a quick cheap website in a day (using a template), took out some google and facebook ads that drove students to his site. When the students signed up for his service – yes he took orders – the young entrepreneur went to Amazon, purchased Chemistry 101 and had it drop shipped to his customer. There was no way for the the renter to send back the book – he let them keep it – but that didn’t matter to test the concept. The idea got legs and students started to sign up in their droves (he proved the need). He proved his entire business model for a few thousand dollars. His business is now values at more than $300m (read the Chegg.com story).
You should be validating and experimenting around your baking business from home idea for virtually zero dollars at the get go. Once you’ve done this you can start scaling. They’ll be more on this is future posts.
Suggested reading. The Lean Start-up by Eric Ries