As we approach the beginning of a new year, it’s natural to reflect on what worked (and didn’t work) this year — and where we want to go next year.
We’ve talked with thousands of independent culinary artisans, cottage cooks, bakers, and other kitchen-based creators about their homemade food businesses, their business goals, and the things they’d like to start, stop, or continue doing.
Below, we share five goals to consider adding to your list of 2022 resolutions.
Make More Money
I know, I know… “make more money” might seem like a vague goal for the new year. Who doesn’t want to make more money? You are running a business, after all. The price of ingredients, rental kitchen space, marketing, and your own labor increases each year — and so should your product prices.
Here are a few ideas to help you make more money in 2022:
- Increase your prices: Is it time to revisit your cookie, jam, hot sauce, or meal prep pricing? When was the last time you calculated your ingredient costs, packaging costs, labor costs, and marketing fees?
- Charge a rush fee: If it seems like every order is a rush order, it may be time for you to tack on a fee. What you consider to be a rush order will depend on your business and order volume. Some cake makers would consider any orders placed less than a month in advance to be a rush order.
- Ask for payment upfront: If you already take payment upfront, skip this one. If you’ve prepared an order only to be ghosted by a customer who never picks it up (and, in turn, never pays you), you know exactly what I’m talking about. Start taking payment when an order is placed, or at the very least, a deposit for the order.
- Offer fewer discounts: Are your friends and family constantly asking for freebies? Are your corporate clients expecting discounts? Ask yourself if you’re still making enough to compensate yourself for your time and ingredients. Large orders don’t require less time or fewer ingredients, so should you discount them? That’s up to you!
Do you ever feel like you can’t keep up with holidays, seasons, special events, and other orders? Even though Christmas was only four days ago, it’s time to start thinking about Valentine’s Day orders.
In the new year, set yourself up for success by planning ahead on holidays and events. What are your busy seasons? If you take custom cake or cookie orders and you know that high school graduation season always brings a flood of orders, consider opening your spots for those weeks early and taking reservations well in advance. Or, if you know you don’t want to take special requests during a specific holiday or time period, set boundaries and let your customers know ahead of time so that they can plan accordingly.
Do you offer a pre-sale for your holiday products? Consider opening pre-orders earlier this year, or closing orders a little earlier so that you have more time to prepare (or more time to relax before you get busy!).
Build a Website
Speaking of pre-orders, how are you managing them? You’re not stuck shuffling through Instagram DMs, Facebook messages, and emails for them, are you?
No matter if you sell weekly boxes of assorted pastries for pickup, custom cupcakes, or ship loaves of sourdough across the country, an ecommerce website can help you streamline your entire business. Your customers can still reach out to you with questions via social media or email, but they won’t have to wait on your reply to place and confirm an order with you.
At Castiron, that’s our business — we’re building the easiest, fastest website tools, exclusively for independent or home-based food entrepreneurs. Add products to your store, upload your logo or a cover image to brand your store, and start taking payments for products in a matter of minutes. Ready to simplify your business in 2022? Sign up for Castiron today. It’s free!
Partner with Other Businesses
Local businesses love to support other local businesses. Is there another independent artisan in your town whose products complement your own? Make it a goal to partner with them in 2022.
You could partner with another food business, but you don’t have to. Here are a few ideas for local collaborations:
- If you make hot cocoa bombs, partner with a local ceramicist to sell a gift pack that includes one of their handmade mugs and a few of your cocoa bombs.
- If you’re a jam maker, partner with a local baker who might use your preserves in a pastry or sell a gift set with a loaf of their bread and a jar of your jam.
- If you sell coffee cakes, work with a local coffee roaster to create a “Perfect Morning Package” that comes with a coffee cake and a bag of freshly roasted coffee.
- If you make custom sugar cookies, partner with a local stationery maker or printmaker to create an exclusive holiday card or print that comes with a cookie. Try this out for a Valentine’s Day collaboration or for birthdays!
- Ask a local business if you could set up a table outside of their business the weekend before a holiday when people are doing their last-minute shopping.
- Use local ingredients in your products. Do you use local grains or produce? Be sure to tag the local businesses whose products you use in your products when you share them on social media. At the very least, they might re-share your post and put your business in front of their audience!
When you partner with local businesses, not only are you getting to know another member of your business community, you’re also opening up a new marketing channel. Decide how you’ll promote your collaboration with the other business — could you get in front of their social media followers or a mention in their email newsletter?
Set Monthly Sales Goals
If you don’t set a goal, you’ll never achieve it. Want to sell $1,000 per month? Write your goal down and work backwards to figure out how you’ll reach it.
If you sell cinnamon rolls for $30 a dozen and you want to sell $1,000 per month, that means you need to sell around 35 orders this month. If you’ve been posting on social media for a while and know that each Instagram post typically results in five new orders, how many times do you need to post on Instagram this month? If you know that posting in your city’s local foodie Facebook group typically generates a few orders, how many times should you promote your business there? If you know that an email to your customers results in a dozen new orders, it’s time to start drafting your email.
If you don’t have a good idea of how your marketing can drive sales yet, don’t panic! Test out different marketing strategies, events, and collaborations to see what works best for your business. Every artisan will have different results based on their location, target audience, and product line.
What are your goals for 2022? How are you going to achieve them? If you’re ready to take your business online in the new year, sign up to access Castiron’s free website building tools today. Have questions about Castiron? Want to share your goals? Post in The Kitchen, our community of independent culinary artisans, and we’ll answer them!