Today our Louise is sharing news of an exciting challenge she set 280 Bakes this month. Let's see how we got on!
This month I set a sales target.
Now, in the past I’ve been sceptical about using targets in personal and business life, mostly to avoid stressing myself out trying to hit, and possibly failing to hit, said target, and not really seeing myself as a salesperson. It’s good to dream big, but was there much point in pushing so hard when I already work so much to gain customer leads? And is there too much at stake for my personal confidence and wellbeing in working so hard and potentially failing?
Encouraged by a business coach I’m seeing, I thought it couldn’t hurt to try to hit a sales target just once and see how it went…
So, one month ago, I set myself a target of generating 50% more cake orders than in the four weeks previous. Maybe that sounds a bit ‘finger in the air’, but the previous four weeks (May 13th – June 14th) was a good month for us in terms of order generation, and 50% extra would push our orders to 28 orders in 28 days. It had a nice sound to it, and I liked that.
What did I do to help generate extra orders this month?
Well, most of our orders come from Facebook – hail Facebook! However, our email newsletter list is growing, as is our Twitter and Instagram following, so these were all useful to help show potential customers the delicious cakes we are baking, and in turn, encourage new and existing customers to order our products. Added to this, we had Father’s Day orders to promote and we got a fair bit of attention online from replicating the lemon and elderflower recipe from the royal wedding. Tying in with national events sure can help!
Interestingly, a large portion of our orders during this period were made by phone this month. Normally the contact comes in via email or Facebook in the main, so I wonder if the new attitude to marketing influenced this…
What was the result?
Today is the final day of the challenge.
Yesterday we hit the target of 28 of cake orders in 28 days – with a day spare!
Needless to say, I am over the moon. I may even enjoy a slice of cake tonight to celebrate. And all this happened in a month featuring a week of torturous hayfever, and three weekends away. Who knows what I could have achieved without a social life! (Kidding)
Celebrations aside, well done us, what did this mean for 280 Bakes?
All of this will hopefully lead to more business growth, more baking, and more happy customers!
Has having a target helped?
Undoubtedly, yes. As expected, pressure built a little on myself to work harder, smarter, and to be more creative with thinking of things which people would like to see pop up in their busy lives. However, achieving that goal of 28 orders in 28 days – and a day ahead of our deadline – has given me more confidence and a real sense of achievement.
Honestly, if we’d been a few orders off hitting the mark, it still would have been an amazing achievement to increase orders by almost 50%. Setting a goal, I have realised, is not only about achieving specified things; it’s also about having a way to measure how successful your tactics are and how effective your communications planning is. Even if you ignore the detail in the numbers, knowing there’s been an X amount of extra custom over a defined period of time due to some hard work is a real boost.
I may even set another target for later in the year.
Sod it. Let’s nail that down. I am going to try to hit 28 orders in 28 days again during the month of September.
You think I’m putting it off? No apologies there. July is going to be a bit crazy in my personal life so I may need some space, and August is generally a slower month in the business. The kids are off, people are on holiday, and I figure (totally anecdotally!) that some parents take the time to bake with their kids. Plus, September is statistically the month with the highest number of birthdays – go figure – so birthday cakes may be in high demand.
Our bakers didn’t attend any local events this month, but potentially, when I run this challenge again, this could boost sales further when people try our cakes at a festival or market and decide to order more in the days or weeks.
Of course, now, I realise I am in fact a bit of a salesperson and it’s always been that way. It’s essential the good of the company. I’m not pushy, but I’m driven, I know our target market and I want to make my company a success. If that makes me a salesperson, so be it!
I want to say some ‘thanks’ before I sign off. Thank you, of course, to my bakers – you’re fab! Hard-working, creative and passionate, couldn’t have developed 280 Bakes to this level without you. Secondly, thank you to my husband for his patience / ability to ignore me and get on with it when I am working on the laptop or elbow-deep in flour. Lastly, thanks to Robin, who made me try this whole target thing out – inspired!
Do any of you have small businesses? Do you ever set goals like this? I’d love to hear about your experiences – just comment in the box below.
Enjoy your weekend,
Owner, 280 Bakes
We celebrated our second birthday today, and this is how it went down!
First, we announced an expansion in our business!
From today, we have bakers based in Stroud, Gloucestershire, who are delivering our cakes in the town. Find out more here, including how to join our team of bakers.
Then, we actually WENT to Stroud!
Given the main part of our birthday celebrations was the above announcement, we decided to surprise a business in Stroud with a cake. This is where Spacehoppers Co-working came in - we delivered a 280 Bakes branded cake (see the logo and BRIGHT PINK nature of said cake in the picture below!) to three entrepreneurs who were at the time working in the shared office space. A complete surprise to all and a welcome tea break from their hard work!
We chose Spacehoppers because we've had previous experience in co-working environments and we love the vibe from entrepreneurs who work in such places. A big 'HELLO AND THANKS' goes to Ben at BeKagool who tweeted us a photo of the cake being enjoyed in the office after we left.
Finally, we popped along to St Andrew's Park, Bristol...
We had to celebrate on 'home turf' too, of course! Word got to us that the Bristol Vegan Parents Group was meeting with the kids for a half term get-together, so we took them some complimentary cupcakes to sort out a snack for that lovely lot. The meeting point was "by the coffee hut in the centre", so cake and coffee worked out perfectly!
A fabulous day - we feel well and truly celebrated!
Thanks to all our willing cake eaters and our hard-working team. Here's to another successful year at 280 Bakes!
Owner of 280 Bakes
...well, kind of. We're baking 'copy-cat' royal wedding cake, but you need to be quick to nab yours as there's only five available!
Order by 3pm Friday - gluten free, standard and vegan cakes are available. Deliveries are to Bristol and Portishead only, and all cakes are 10 slice, home baked by our network of local bakers.
Have a lovely weekend!
The Team @ 280 Bakes
Here are some of our latest bakes, all home baked and delivered. which one's your favourite?
We often post photos of our cakes on our social media, when they're off for delivery. Join us over on Facebook, Twitter or follow us on Instagram today!
The Team at 280 Bakes
** BREAKING NEWS ** Our blog has, for the first time, had over 2,000 views in one week!
What an achievement, good news for Good Friday! It's been a lot of work, but great fun - more to the point, we're glad you're enjoying reading it.
Let us know if there's anything you'd like to see us blog about and we'll give it a go.
The Team @ 280 Bakes
OrderS for Easter this year close on Good Friday (30th March) at 7pm...
Make sure you've got your orders in for Easter bakes before 7pm on Good Friday (this Friday coming). We're baking Crème Egg Brownies, Vanilla Egg Nest Cupcakes, and Kitkat Cupcakes as specials, but let us know if you need anything else for family and friends visiting.
Please do ask if you require vegan or gluten free cakes - we'd love to help.
Deliveries are available until Saturday evening. We will not be delivering cakes on Easter Sunday and there's a limited service on Easter Monday.
The Team @ 280 Bakes
Our biggest corporate cake yet was baked this week for the Environment Agency's flood conference.
The third annual Flood & Coast conference, organised by the Environment Agency, was held this week - and we were there! Our Louise was asked to make a cake in the shape of a remote controlled river monitoring boat, an "ARC-boat". It's a surf board-like craft worth over £16,000, used to measure speed and depth of rivers, and other data to aid flood management efforts.
The Agency had sold it's 100th boat, which gave them a fabulous reason to celebrate.
The cake was cut by the Chef Executive of the Environment Agency Sir James Bevan, the Director of Flood and Coastal Risk Management John Curtin, and Louise.
Feedback on the cake, a chocolate sponge decorated in an eye-catching lime green to mimic a real ARC-boat, came... flooding in, post event on our Twitter.
Thank you to the Environment Agency and in particular, Nick Everard, for the opportunity to bake for the occasion. We're more flood aware than we were before, that's for sure, and a small part of the flood family.
The Team @ 280 Bakes
BUTTERCREAM or fondant: The choice is yours on our cakes, but what's the difference?
When helping our customers decide what they would like as decoration on their home baked cakes, we normally recommend either buttercream or fondant icing (both can be made vegan and gluten free friendly). However, not everyone knows the differences between the two types of icing, and there are pros and cons to each, depending on what style you want from your cake, so here's your definitive guide.
Buttercream is our cheapest option, and is nearly always used on our cupcakes. We'd describe it as sweet and rustic looking, perfect for filling sandwich cakes like Victoria Sponge, or a base for decorating with other items, like your favourite sweets. We can do it vanilla or chocolate flavour, but have done lemon in the past. It's not great in hot weather though, be warned!
Some customers like to know fondant is "the kind you see on traditional birthday cakes". Fondant is sheet sugar paste, essentially, is used in modelling and can come in many colours. It is a little more expensive as more work and skill is involved in using it compared to buttercream, kneading it until it's smooth and pliable. A buttercream 'crumb coat' is normally applied underneath the fondant to ensure there's no lumps.
It's not for everyone, as it's a little sticky to eat and is fingerprint prone if you have little hands around, but fondant gives you a beautiful smooth finish on a cake, like you can see here:
This is the third type of icing we use at 280 Bakes. It's not a common request, but it's good if you want something a little less sugary. Meringue icing basically a sugar and egg white mix, creating a meringue style finish. Glossy white, fluffy, and very pretty, we love this one. A word of caution goes to our bakers on this one: Another cake for cooler days, this icing needs to be stored in the fridge. Make sure there's no strong odours from other food in there. Meringue icing picks up strong smells and ends up tasting a little off. Garlic icing, anyone...?
We hope this helps with deciding what style of icing you'd like on your cake. At the end of the day, each type has its place, not everyone likes it, but it can really be the 'icing on the cake' - literally - for our delicious home baked cakes.
The Team @ 280 Bakes
With just one week left of Veganuary, when a huge swathe of new vegans join the movement, here's our final January vegan blog: Can you spot the difference between a vegan and non-vegan cake?
What do you think of when you think vegan cakes? Unless you're a regular customer of ours, you might not think of much! No eggs, no margarine or butter, no milk chocolate, no milk... What could a vegan cake look like?!
Well, a vegan cake looks just like a normal cake, actually. And no, we don't use kale... Take a look at some of our recent bakes, and we challenge you to spot the vegan ones! (Answers at the bottom of the blog post)
Our Louise has just come back from Costa Rica, bearing photos of cakes from the Latine American country. No tasters, but the photos look awesome!
So, Costa Rica s not known for its cake - or really, even its food. You might think of beaches, wildlife, music, before you think of the food from that area, but there really is so much lovely goodness to try, and cake is no exception. Take a look at some of my photos below ... Let me know if you've ever baked these yourself!
A true baker snaps photos of cake while she's on holiday...
Look out for more cakes from abroad, whenever one of our bakers goes on holiday. You can follow our 'cake holidays' on #280ontour on Twitter.
Thanks for reading,
Louise & Team.
Welcome to the 280 Bakes blog! Most posts are by our team, but if you fancy guest blogging, give us a shout!