If you are planning on opening a bakery, you want to make sure you plan carefully and know what steps you should take along the way. It can be so gratifying to bake for friends and family – but you need more than just appreciation when you are starting a business. You need stability and income. These things only come from having a plan and executing that plan to the best of your ability. Whether you start your bakery in Texas, Alabama or Hawaii, you will benefit from the tips we line out here.

You already know how to follow a baking recipe. Here’s a recipe for how to start a successful bakery!

Starting a Successful Bakery – What to Do

1. Choose the focus of your bakery.

Your bakery business cannot be all things to all people. It needs to have a focus, which means you need to choose what type of bakery you want to open. Do you want to stick to selling baked goods online? Do you want to offer counter service? What about having more of a restaurant-style bakery where your customers can sit and dine? There’s also the option of specializing. You could stick to making specific types of baked goods instead of being more general in your offerings.

2. Verify that there is a market for your offerings.

Passion is a huge part of starting a successful bakery, but it’s not the only part. You also need a market that will buy your products – which may or may not exist where you are. For example, if you want to only bake tiny, exquisite, expensive macarons, but you plan to open your bakery in a small town in rural South Dakota, you may struggle to find enough people to purchase your products and keep your doors open.

You need to conduct market research by surveying potential customers and your target demographic and by utilizing innovative online tools such as scraping proxies to determine if there is enough demand for what you want to sell. If you find that there is not enough demand you are better off changing your offerings to fit demand than trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

3. Write a business plan.

It can be so tempting to skip this step if you can, but you shouldn’t. Writing a business plan is a vital step in determining the validity of your business. While it may take some time and effort to complete your business plan – and maybe a little help from more experienced business people – the benefits are well worth the hard work.

A business plan makes you examine your business idea from multiple angles. You will have to make lists of the equipment you will need, crunch the numbers on what it will cost to open, identify how long you can go without making any money and so many other things. Your plan will help you move forward with confidence on your bakery idea – or force you to reexamine some things to find a better solution to starting a successful bakery.

4. Determine where you are going to open up shop.

Different types of bakeries have different space needs. You might choose to operate the bakery from your home if your local laws allow it and you don’t need a storefront. Or, you might need the options that come from renting a commercial kitchen but not need a store for customers. But if you do want to open a bakery and offer counter service, you will need to find the right space to do so.

5. Form your LLC and get any required licenses.

Most small businesses choose to form an LLC to protect themselves from liability and improve their business image. You can form an LLC without spending a lot of money. You will also want to find out what license you are required to have to sell baked goods in your area and get those licenses well before you attempt to open up for business.

6. Get funding.

If you are going to need funding to start your business it is best to seek it as soon as you have your business plan in place and your LLC formed. Lenders will require you to have a business plan and will usually want you to have incorporated – which you will have done if you form an LLC – before they will consider offering you a business loan.

7. Seek support and guidance.

Starting a business is extremely challenging and starting a bakery is no exception. There are so many things to know and do that you are guaranteed to miss some of them on your own. Every new entrepreneur should seek help where they can find it – and there is always plenty of help if you know where to look.

Find the local small business organization in your area and go talk to them about what you are planning. They may have courses you can take or offer assistance from more experienced mentors. You don’t have to do everything they say, but you will benefit greatly from some of the advice they offer as you move forward with your plans.

8. Prioritize quality and safety standards.

By making sure you always adhere to adequate quality and safety standards, you minimize your risk of frivolous lawsuits and regulatory mishaps. It is best to establish high standards early on in your bakery so that you develop a company culture of quality and safety. That culture will help protect your business year after year.