According to, reported by Inc., bakeries are the country's eighth fastest growing opportunity for small businesses. Given a public that appreciates tasty treats and bakery items, coupled with your knowledge and culinary skills, the timing may be right for you to start your own business. Careful planning and sufficient funding will give you the best chance to succeed.


The choices for the clientele you serve and the products you sell are many, and help to determine the "culture" of your establishment. Depending on your location, you may target university students, local neighborhoods, the office crowd, or tourists. You must decide whether to stick to cakes, pastries and muffins, or to expand your fare to include soup and sandwiches. If you serve meals, you can concentrate on breakfast and lunch or expand to include dinner. Your atmosphere will be a blend of decor, lighting, tastes and smells. Be proactive in deciding how you wish your cafe bakery to look and smell. The aromas coming from an open kitchen will be a big drawing card.


Your chances of success are much greater if you research the market you will be serving. Determine who your target customers will be and where they will come from. If you are to depend in part on commuter traffic, then you will need to consider where the commuters come from if you locate on a busy artery. See how many competing establishments exist in your market area. Include doughnut shops, fast food restaurants, and anyone else who could be a competitor. Try to estimate what makes them successful and how you will be different.


As your business model begins to take shape, do a SWOT analysis on your proposed venture: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Consider your strengths -- baking skills, for example – and your weaknesses, such as lack of business experience. These are internal factors that you can develop or change. If you have limited experience, for example, contact the Small Business Administration, SCORE, or a local college's continuing education program for help. Opportunities are the options that can make your bakery flourish in an under-served market, while threats may come from potential strong competition. SWOT analysis will help you firm up your business model and clarify what steps you need to take to move forward with your idea.

Business Plan

The final step to building your business model is writing a business plan. You can hire someone to write it for you or you can do it yourself with a template from the Internet. You must have a business plan if you intend to get a loan from the bank or a private investor. A plan has a standard format, including an executive summary, description of your cafe bakery and the products you will sell, a brief biography of you and your partners if any, an overview of the market, and a financial summary. The financial section includes your startup costs -- rent, equipment, utilities, labor and supplies -- and a forecast of your sales. You might wish to give a best-case and worst-case projection, including break-even points. With a completed plan in hand, you can evaluate the venture and see if it is a realistic opportunity.