5 Lessons Learned From A Successful Bakery Owner in Kenya

Here at Amari we’ve recently started doing business workshops for bakers which we first held on February 13th while we we’re launching our new book “How to Startup a Small Bakery Business Successfully.”

It was an amazing event that was attended by many bakers and bakerettes who were eager to learn as much as they could. We were also lucky to have guest speakers from Kuza Biashara and Cookswell Energy Saving Jikos as well.

We have realized that most bakers have a great need to learn about the entrepreneurial part of the baking business and that is why we have decided to start doing monthly bakery business master classes that will benefit small bakery owners or individuals who want to start small bakeries. These master classes will offer different topics on business that will be of great insight to all those who attend. For the upcoming business master class this Saturday, I went to meet a certain lady who agreed to be one of our guest speakers in the class and it’s such an honor. She is a very successful bakery owner who has been in the business for over eight years and therefore has great insight to share. Her name is Grace Murugi, founder of Cakes.co.ke.

Grace Murugi-Founder of Cakes.co.ke
Grace Murugi-Founder of Cakes.co.ke

I went to her bakery located on Kindaruma road and met her there, it’s a lovely bakery shop in a peaceful and serene area. The décor is just a bakerette’s dream – I fell in love with it right away.

The lovely Cakes.co.ke Bakery Shop
The lovely Cakes.co.ke Bakery Shop

As we discussed the topics she will cover for the master class, I gained a lot of insight from her in only one hour of speaking with her. I want to share at least five lessons I learned just from listening to her on that day. I’m sure it’ll help any startup bakery business owner, or one aspiring to start one in the future.

  1. Specialize

When you start your baking business and setting it up, specialize. Don’t try to capture many niches all at once, specialize in one niche. Focus on it and be the best that you can be. This concept is evident in Cakes.co.ke and is a big part of their success. They specialize in custom cakes for special occasions and they are very good at it . If you would like to get into another niche, Grace suggests doing so after you have perfected your original niche. Separate the second niche into another unit or department; then make sure you work on perfecting it as well. Now that’s sound advice coming from a successful caker.

Beautiful 2 face wedding cake by cakes.co.ke
Beautiful 2 face wedding cake by cakes.co.ke
  1. Test, Test, Test.

Always test your marketing efforts, no matter how small you may think them. This is a lesson I got from her as we discussed festivals and fairs. Internet and inbound marketing especially online can be quite easy to test and measure; however, trade fairs and festivals can be a bit harder to test. Grace insists that as long as you’re spending money on any activity in your bakery business, you should make sure you test it. This will give you insight on whether you are spending your money wisely in your marketing strategy or not.

  1. Don’t let external opinions or economic conditions dictate your business goals

As startup entrepreneurs sometimes we tend to listen to the opinions of critics and other people on current economic conditions. You might hear people discussing the fact that it is a bad economic year and that sales will be down in the baking industry. Grace’s wisdom is that you should plan well in your business and believe in your bakery’s success. Work hard towards marketing and growing your business, don’t listen to negative predictions of the economy. You will find your own success if you do so – just work hard, work smart & believe in your business. Period.

  1. As your business grows, work on having it run perfectly even without you in it

In the first stages of your small bakery business, you will be working in your business day in day out, night and day. It is to be expected in order for it to grow as you would like it. As it progresses however; after the first few years, you should start building systems. These systems will help your bakery run effectively and efficiently without you having to be there daily. In time, you will have the time to work on your business instead of in your business. You can be able to work on the vision of your bakery in a few months and a year’s time as well. You can find better wholesale vendors, streamline systems to be more effective and help your bakery business run like a well-oiled machine – just like Cakes.co.ke does.

  1. Don’t judge business failures as personal failures

As an entrepreneur, you will encounter failures as you do business – they can be small or big ones. This will discourage you and make you feel sad and un-inspired for a period of time. You should not let those feelings last for long however, or take the failure as a personal failure. This was very profound advice that Grace shared which truly resonated with me. I personally know how it feels like to fail in business and for a while it had felt as if it was a personal failure. Grace however advises that one should only let those feelings last for a short period of time and then, as an entrepreneur, you should move on and start finding other solutions. This is advice that many successful entrepreneurs always give – to ‘fail fast’. Look at those failures as learning moments and move on from them. You will be a better person and entrepreneur after learning. Grace mentioned that it is a priceless lesson, it cannot be bought or un-learned.

These are the profound lessons that I gleaned from this wonderful and gracious lady in one hour.

Our business training workshop in February 2016
Our business training workshop in February 2016

To check out their amazing cakes, visit Cake.co.ke website – you can even order some cake ^_^

I know these five lessons will be of use to you, I know they will be very helpful to me for sure ^_^

Make sure you share this post to your network, it might be of help to a friend.

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