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Getting Down to Basics in Visual Studio .NET
Getting Down to Basics
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Just because cake decorating is extremely creative doesn t give you an exemption from using business savvy in setting up shop and attracting and keeping happy customers Baking cakes, mixing frosting, and coming up with fanciful designs is fun, but you still have to take care of an array of practical demands required to make money on any business venture Having a kitchen for an office doesn t mean you don t have to handle a variety of traditional office duties
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Part V: Thinking Outside the Cake Box
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Running a cake-centric office
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Review the following list of business necessities Granted, at the outset, you may not need every last one (such as a fax line or Web site), but most aren t very expensive, and some from a legal standpoint are absolutely required Office stationery, such as business cards, letterhead for invoicing, order forms, and contracts A dedicated phone line and e-mail address to communicate with customers, and a fax line to receive order forms A Web site to showcase your work and communicate with potential and existing clients (jump to the section Designing a Web site for your designs later in this chapter for more) A city or state business license, which is different than a food preparation license (see the next section) A federal ID number for tax purposes and to obtain a resale number, which allows you access to restaurant supply stores, wholesale florists, and the like for wholesale prices on equipment, tools, and embellishments Business insurance, because sometimes bad things happen and it s nice to be covered when they do Access to professionals such as a lawyer and accountant, preferably with experience in the culinary industry For more information on starting, running, and managing a business, check out Business Plans Kit For Dummies, 2nd Edition (Wiley)
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Finding out about licensing
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I mention legal issues earlier in this chapter, but this recommendation bears repeating: Find out the rules in your area regarding food preparation and retail sales for your decorated cakes as well as zoning restrictions for where you can do your work Start by contacting your county s health department Cake decorating isn t as common as, say, catering, so your first contacts may not know how to categorize your business or answer your questions immediately But be patient and persistent If you get transferred around, let each person know what you re asking for the county s rules and regulations for operating a cake decorating business and take down the name and phone extension of each person you speak with You ll undoubtedly think of questions after you hang up, so try to get a single contact that you can return to for follow-up information
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20: Starting a Cake Decorating Business
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Armed with the necessary information, you can do what s required to operate as a fully functional and law-abiding cake decorating business
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Drawing up contracts
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Don t be content just to take orders over the phone and assume that verbal agreements suffice when you and a customer come to terms on the cake for an event The colors involved, the wording on the cake, the kind of filling, the number of layers, the price it s just too much to leave to chance, so create a contract in which all the details are recorded for both parties to review and sign off on Contracts for decorated cakes usually don t have to be fancy affairs For instance, the contract may be a dated document with the following information: A description of the cake, including its dimensions, flavors, and design details The date of the event for cake delivery The charges associated with the cake A place for both you and the customer to sign indicating your understanding of the cake and services to be provided An exception to using this simple contract is in the case of a wedding cake Because of the cake s bigger size, more intricate designs, and typically higher costs, the contract should contain more detail about the cake you re providing For instance, if someone other than yourself will serve the cake on-site, you can t guarantee the actual number of servings (the cake cutter may divvy up the cake in fat wedges far larger than what you would have done or anticipated); therefore, the contract should only have an estimate of the number of servings However, in the contract, you can guarantee the size of the layers and provide a suggested diagram for how the cake should be cut Contact a reputable lawyer to review your contract and let you know if it includes all the right information or needs to be tweaked
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