Everyone wants to set up their own cup cake business these days. It is impossible to go through a day without seeing a cup cake. The cup cake has taken on an iconic potency in the subconscious of the British public, it has become our comfort in cake form at a time of crisis and austerity.

Isn’t it great? 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the cup cake originated in America and had its first mention way back in 1796 in American Cookery by Amelia Simmons. No mention was made of chocolate sprinkles, butter icing or whipped cream, simply that they should be small and baked in cups. Things have clearly moved on since Amelia’s day – I wonder what she would make of some of the weird, wild and wonderful cake designs we see today?

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I must admit to being quite tempted to getting a slice of cake action, maybe try out my oven-baked entrepreneurial skills. A working day consisting of nothing but cake sounds like my idea of perfection. Until it becomes obvious that I am literally eating the profits. Ah, a girl can dream…

Lots of other people, with more steely determination and a lot of cake mix are establishing businesses selling sweet sugary delights to a hungry populous. But setting up any new business takes a lot of commitment and personal sacrifice. You need a credible business plan, a budget and heaps of energy.  And you need to be a really good baker who can consistently turn out delicious, mouth-wateringly good cakes. On top of all this, the other secret ingredient to cupcake glory is promotion. You may have the baking covered, but what about the marketing? Here are some tips and hints to help sell your cakes once they’re out of the oven…

Stay alert

Promote your cakes all the time. Have a smart business card printed detailing your wonderful services and hand it out at any given opportunity. At the hair salon, in the library, at the kid’s play centre, even in the gym –  you never know where your next sale is going to pop up from. Put your card on noticeboards in shops and supermarkets – local people do actually read these boards and it’s a good way of spreading the word in the community about your services.

The chances are you first started thinking about setting up a cup cake business following positive feedback on your creations from family and friends. Use your social connections in the local community to put the word out about your new business. There aren’t many occasions where cup cakes aren’t welcome – contact local party and wedding venues with information, also approach local firms and offices – cup cakes are a popular celebratory gift for retirements, significant birthdays, pregnancy, engagement and anniversary greetings.

Give ’em away

Try providing free cake samples to local cafés, delicatessens and bakeries. Once they get wolfed down, it’s possible they’ll put in a regular order for your yummy offerings. Basically, get them hooked on your fab cakes and they’ll be beating the door down with repeat orders.

Expert help

If you need to spend all your time in the kitchen up to your elbows in flour, think about delegating certain areas of running the business. To organise your promotional strategy in a cohesive and holistic way, consider approaching marketing companies skilled in increasing your visibility and profile, and in turn, your profits.

Cakes go social

Work the internet angle enthusiastically. Sign up for Facebook,Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram,Google+,LinkedIn and Vine and also set up a scrumptious looking website that is clear, direct and easily navigable. The website should have regularly updated blog articles relevant to cup cakes and newsy items about what you have been getting up to. Instructional videos or a Youtube channel dedicated to cup cake capers are all areas where you can increase your profile and attract new leads, so consider adding these features to your website. All this digital devilry is incredibly time consuming and you may want to outsource the management of your online presence to a third party.

As I said at the top of the article, there are a lot of cup cake businesses out there. To illustrate the demand in interest, take a look at the number of courses and evening classes available on the subject. This means that the competition is tough and sugar coated success does not come automatically. In competitive market conditions, you need to give yourself an edge, so go heavy on the marketing and for the icing on the cake  follow it up with truly spell-binding sweet creations…