How to Run a Cupcake Shop

by Stephanie Dube Dwilson

Spending your workdays making delicious cupcakes may sound like fun, but running a cupcake shop can be very challenging. The competition is fierce and people can be pretty picky. But if you have a talent for making delicious treats and you like the idea of being an entrepreneur, opening up a cupcake shop might be a particularly sweet opportunity for you.

Develop your recipes. Spend some time experimenting with different flavors to determine which recipes have the right combination of taste and moistness. You might consider taking some baking classes to increase your arsenal of ideas. If you don't want to do the baking yourself, post job listings for a baker who is willing to work with you to find recipes for cupcakes that will sell.

Check your local laws and licensing requirements. Some states and cities require that only baked goods made in a commercial kitchen can be sold, in which case you'll need to rent or borrow a kitchen. Local churches, schools and restaurants might let you rent blocks of time in their kitchens. Other cities may allow you to sell foods baked from your home if your kitchen is commercial-grade quality. You may need food licenses and other certifications, depending on your state and city laws.

Write a business plan. A business plan serves as a road map or blueprint for your business. It will keep you on track and focused. Your plan should include how you will market your business, what type of profits you expect to make, who your competitors are and what type of expenses you will encounter. Search online for sample plans to get you started.

Create a website. You'll want a name for your business and a logo that customers will recognize. The website should feature your menu with photos, prices, information about yourself and details on how to purchase cupcakes. You can hire a designer online from freelance websites such as ODesk. You can also hire someone to design your website or you can build it yourself using a service such as Wordpress.

Sell through an online cupcake shop at first. The overhead costs from selling cupcakes out of your home are much lower and easier to handle when you're starting out. You can take orders on your website and have customers pick up cupcakes from your house if zoning regulations allow it. Market your website by leaving business cards wherever you go, visiting local businesses and purchasing ads to run online and in your local newspaper.

Once you have capital from selling cupcakes online, consider other sales possibilities. Expand your shop or continue selling only online. You might open a storefront locally or rent a food truck and sell your cupcakes from there.

Keep good records. You'll need a software program to keep track of business expenses and sales for tax purposes. You may want to hire an accountant if you can't keep up with sales and record keeping.

Items you will need
  • Kitchen
  • Recipes
  • Cupcake tins
  • Cupcake ingredients
  • Muffin cups
  • Cupcake packaging

About the Author

With features published by media such as Business Week and Fox News, Stephanie Dube Dwilson is an accomplished writer with a law degree and a master's in science and technology journalism. She has written for law firms, public relations and marketing agencies, science and technology websites, and business magazines.

Photo Credits

  • Zedcor Wholly Owned/ Images