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Last year I discovered…That dog training is similar to marketing my cake business.
Which may seem like a weird statement to make but let me explain.
Since I got Rufus (my dog) last year, I have discovered that trying to retain the attention of a puppy is very similar to marketing. You see, when you want your dog to come to you or to even be interested in you, you need to be MORE interesting than everything else. Everything else. Imagine… You are competing with other dogs, birds, and so many other smells and sounds when you are asking your dog to come and be with you. And let me tell you, trying to get a scent driven puppy to come back to you and competing against everything around you is not easy.
I’ve had to try everything… including calling him and dancing around like some sort of idiot in the middle of the park while simultaneously pressing his squeaky toy like a mad man (sometimes it worked sometimes it didn’t). I have come to discover I was marketing myself to an audience of one – Rufus. I was doing exactly the same things I did when I first started my business. I knew who my audience was but I had to work out how to reach them and capture their interest in some way. How was my business going to stand out and be more interesting than other cake businesses, DIY options and dessert choices out there? How can I convince them to come to me despite everything else that was out there?
In the beginning I had to do so much more than just placing an ad in a magazine or handing out my business cards. Much like with Rufus, I had to do more than just call his name and expect him to come (when he was a puppy). I had to condition and train him that I was far more interesting and rewarding to be around. And yes, that included lots of treats, bringing bottles of interesting smelling stuff out with me and toys. Slowly and surely we got there… We are still on our way to him being 100% reliable but most importantly we are moving along.
How did I do it with my business? I had to show my customers that the business was more than just cakes. It was about me and my story behind the cakes – so I started a blog. I had to also show them exactly what I was capable of, so I joined industry networking events made lots of display cakes. Most importantly, I got out there and told venues and customers I existed (equivalent to me making a fool of myself at the park). Because after all, how the heck are they supposed to know about me if I don’t tell them? Much like with Rufus, sometimes I succeeded and other times I failed.
I have learnt a lot during my journey of training my slightly crazy puppy but the most surprising thing is how I have applied those learning outcomes to my own business. Because a dog (among other animals) doesn’t lie to you… they either like you and are interested in you or they are not.
So, what are you going to do to make you and your business more interesting to your customers? What can you do that will make them come to you against all odds (other cake decorators, cheaper pricing, other dessert options)? Think about it 🙂
And if you are finding it hard to market your business or are just feeling stuck, perhaps it’s time to get some professional help, inspiration and advice. Take your business further… My next live industry specific Business of Baking class with Michelle Green is in Melbourne (June 18th – 19th), Sydney (July 16th-17th), Brisbane (Aug. 6th – 7th) and Auckland (Sept 3rd – 4th) later in the year. Join us for two days of laughter, support, fun, networking, inspiration and awesome business advice – all with no judgment.
If you are not sure if this workshop is right for you, why don’t you check out what our past students have been saying about us.