Thursday, November 4, 2010

"But I Don't Like Sales......"

I hear it frequently. There is someone who loves making cakes, who loves creating artistic displays of sugary art, who has every friend and relative encouraging them to start their business. So they start the process. They buy business cards, they get a website, they set up their facebook page. They are ready. They are "in business".

Then it hits them. They have to do "sales". They have to talk to people. They have to promote their business and promote themselves.

And they hate that.

I mean, all they wanted to do was make cakes. That was their passion. That's what they loved. They wanted to be a baker. A cake creator. Yes, even a business owner. But a salesman? Ah, geesh, THAT wasn't part of the deal, was it?

Well, darlin', I hate to break it to you but yes .... it is. And it's a 24/7 job.

Once you hang an "Open" sign in your door, you are a salesman. Unless you're selling, you have nothing to bake. Selling is all the time, every time.

Every time you hand someone your business card, you're doing a sales call. Every time you mention "I make cakes", you're doing a sales promotion. There's a rule of thumb that you have to knock on ten doors to get one person to listen to you. So a baker who needs to sell twenty cakes a week has to talk to two hundred people. Hand out two hundred business cards. Send an emailed promo newsletter to two hundred email addresses. Shake hands hundreds of times.

In one week. And next week you get to do it all over again.

I love encouraging new entrepreneurs who are starting their business. I revel in their excitement and in their grand openings. I celebrate their victories and when they hit their goals. I love it.

But as much as I encourage the free spirit of capitalism, I have advised people "Don't go into business .... get a job at Walmart in their bakery department." Running a business is tough, hard work. And sales is Job One. You either throw yourself into that part of it 1000% ..... or you don't do it at all.

So before investing thousands of dollars into a commercial kitchen or even into business cards, decide up front if you're cut out for sales. Because if you can't take the heat of sales, you should definitely stay out of the kitchen!


  1. So very true and thank you for your support on Cake Central with the "web presences" vs. being a virtual hobbit!

  2. I think your words are very wise - it's all too easy to get wrapped up in the 'glamour' of designing and making cakes, but if you can't sell them....Love your blog Debi