Did you know that over the past few years the number of local buyers purchasing bread weekly has ballooned to almost 10.5 million? That's a lot of bread!
But like any other sector in the food and beverage industry, there are always challenges that can stop you from achieving your lofty bakery-business goals. We've identified the top 4 challenges we often see and give you a few handy tips and tricks to help you overcome them.
1. Tight on Cash
We see this a lot with bakeries just starting out. Of course it makes sense in getting all the proper investments, loans and donations that you can to back your bakery but you also need to learn how to manage your cash flow.
There are many ways to keep your cash flow positive. We recommend starting with a solid foundation and developing a good cash flow forecast. This will give you visibility of all your incomings and outgoings. In practice it means you'll know if you're going to exceed your profit predictions or you'll get advanced warning that you're going to fall short so you can turnaround a backup plan pronto. It will also help you understand if it's your customers' late payments that are making you come unstuck. On-time payments are critical if you want to stay in the black.
If you need a quick guide on how to create an accurate cash flow forecast, check out this post.
2. Effective product promotion
We know that it can be quite challenging to effectively promote your latest products so they start flying off the shelves. Traditionally bakeries host small events or even send free samples to their customers but we're in the digital age now and there's a digital solution that's more cost-effective and less time consuming. Introducing... the digital catalogue.
Compared to print versions, digital catalogues are a lot cheaper because you don't need to print them or post them. What's more, you can easily update them every time you add new products to your range. A digital catalogue also works really well if your sales strategy is to focus on seasonal products like Christmas cookies, Easter Treats or Valentine’s day cakes. You can simply create a digital catalogue showing off all the products under your “holiday” theme and easily share it with your customers.
3. Running out of inventory
This is a big problem that can have big consequences. You see, if you're entirely dependent on spreadsheets or other paper-based systems to keep track of your inventory then it can lead to missed order deadlines, wasted ingredients, excess spending, unhappy customers - the list goes on.
The good news is that once again its technology that can give you the easy fix. Tech tools like an inventory management system will help you track your stock levels so you'll know if you're running low. An online inventory system alerts you as soon as you need to replenish your stock and some can then place an order directly for you. Magic.
There are loads of inventory systems on the market today. We’ve done the research for you and compiled the best ones here.
4. Collecting and managing multiple wholesale orders effectively
Many wholesale bakeries take their orders via a whole host of different methods - phone calls, texts, emails. And whilst yes, when you're just starting out there may not be that many orders to keep track of. But surely your goal is bakery-world domination with hundreds of orders a day and this is when you'll need a better system.
Once again, the answer is to invest in technology. Putting a good order management system in place early so you can immediately manage multiple wholesale orders will mean your transition from good to great will be smooth and stress-free.
An order management system keeps all your orders in the one place so you can easily see and track them at any time. It improves your customer experience as they won’t have to call you or email you through their orders, they'll simply order online in just a few clicks. Orders then appear straight in your production system, in real-time, without any manual data entry.
The better order management systems on the market will do more than just manage your orders. You'll be able to set up your own digital catalogues, sync with your current inventory system so you can see your stock levels, and they can also help you keep your cash flow in the positive by allowing your customers to pay you immediately.
Of course, challenges are common in any food and beverage business, but it's how you manage them that will make or break you. Our biggest tips are to review your processes regularly so they work seamlessly and invest in good technology so you can put your bakery in the best position for success.
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