Covid-19 has well and truly hit Australia now, and while we’re all hoping to avoid a country-wide lockdown the truth is even without a lockdown, small businesses are already feeling the effect of this epidemic.
So what can you, as a small cake business, do to protect your business in this uniquely challenging time? The good news is you are probably already doing most of it. If you are a registered cake business operating out of a registered kitchen then all this ‘wash your hands’ and ‘keep your kitchen clean’ information is just common sense to you. You’re probably thinking to yourself ‘did people not wash their hands before this?’. But there may be a few things you haven’t thought about yet that will help you protect your business over the next few weeks or months.
If you are extremely tired of hearing ‘wash your hands’ and ‘wipe your benches’ then maybe skip the first two points...
Okay this one is pretty obvious, and you’re most likely already nailing this step, so keep doing what you’re doing and scrubbing those hands for 20 seconds at a time. Throw a few extra washes in while you're baking, we touch our faces more than we realise and it won’t hurt to keep your hands extra clean at this time.
The next, once again very obvious, point is to keep your kitchen clean. If you have a council registered kitchen then you’ll already know all the drill, sanitise everything, wipe down the benches, etc etc. Keep those mixers sparkling! Remember to use commercial grade cleaning products and have them stocked up. Council often do random inspections and they may want to check out the products you use.
It can be daunting taking on new cake orders when you’re not sure if you will get sick or be quarantined at any time. The good news is that if the whole country goes into lockdown then you most likely won’t be letting anyone down by not finishing their cakes since it’s doubtful they will be hosting any parties. However, if you have to go into self-isolation whilst the rest of Australia carries on then it might be a good idea to have a quarantine buddy - someone who is willing to take on and finish your orders if you yourself can’t, and vice versa. That way you have a quick solution to present to your customers if you find yourself unable to complete orders.
If you usually have a very strict cancellation policy, it might be worth making a few Coronavirus-related exceptions. You could reduce your cancellation timeframe, offer deposits backs, or offer rain-checks. A lot of people will be cancelling weddings, christenings, and large birthday celebrations, but come next year, once this epidemic has passed, there will still be vows to be said, babies to be sprinkled with water, and birthdays to be celebrated. Offer people the chance to postpone their order until their next big celebration so you can hold onto deposits where possible.
The best way to make sure your cakes get to their destination safe from coughs, sneezes or another cake trying to shake their hand, is with a secure cake box. We stock a wide range of cake boxes in all shapes and sizes, and plenty that have a clear window so your customers can admire your creations without lifting the lid and breathing all over the cake inside.
Whether it is a little table outside your door, or a quick knock when leaving their cake at their door, many of your customers will be very understanding about collecting their orders without face to face contact. Think about leaving a little note and a free cupcake for them to keep the personal touch without well...the personal touch.
Square Reader lets you accept chip and contactless cards, Apple Pay and Google Pay anywhere. It connects wirelessly and helps you avoid touching cash. Plus, many people prefer paying with card nowadays anyway so it might be a good investment.
People will still be getting engaged this year for weddings next year so it might be a good idea to set up a business Skype account so you can take consults safely and keep the business coming in.
Talking about future business, make sure you set up and keep updating your online presence, be it on a website, Facebook page, or Instagram account. Having great pictures of your recent orders will give potential customers an idea of your style and keep you in their mind for any future orders.
Don’t forget about the power of a gift card. They are cash right now when you need it, and your customers won’t be risking placing an order they can’t use. A lot of people want to support small businesses through this time and gift cards are a fantastic way for them to do that. Whilst you’re at it, check out other small businesses who also sell gift cards and share the love (but not viruses) around...did we mention we sell gift cards?
All of us at Lollipop Cake Supplies want to help you and your business to keep going during this time. Be sure to check out our online store where you can order supplies to be shipped straight to your door, or place an order to pick up in store and save yourself time spent indoors with strangers. We can even bring the parcel out to your car and pop it in your boot so you don't have to leave the comfort and security of your car, just ask us in the comments section of your order and give us a ring when you arrive!
We hope you (and your businesses) all stay safe and well this year!