Friday, December 31, 2010

The Year In Review

It's that time of year again, when we look back and try to figure out what the heck happened.

My biggest challenge each year is trying to decide whether I spent too much on one category of expenses or another, and where my money would be better used in the upcoming year. That's going to be my project for next week, along with starting on the income taxes.

This week I'm just looking at the basics, how many cakes I did, what are the busiest months, etc., so that I can try to plan 2011.

My business scorecard for 2010 has some good things on it...Five magazine contributions including one cover photo, guest blogging on a few different blogs, writing a book, serving on the board of my bridal association, continuing this blog, partnering with a number of local professionals on different projects,  blah blah blah...

There were also some less-fun things, including the time spent trying to get those pesky plagiarists to take my content and photos down, and more recently, the one dissatisfied customer who wrote fake reviews that I needed to have taken down too (more on that topic at a later date).

At the beginning of the year I had decided to try to manage my bookings a little more rationally. I tend to take on too much (a common story) and then end up suffering for it later. I said "no" a lot more this past year, and rarely had a day where I had to work later than 8pm on wedding cakes for the following day. That's probably my biggest achievement, actually, since turning down business is difficult for most people, myself included.

Considering that saying "no" resulted in a little more sanity, and in the months that I did end up taking on too much my head pretty much exploded, I think that I'll continue to be strict with limiting my bookings in 2011.
Total wedding cakes done was 113, with an unknown number of accompanying groom's cakes, since I don't denote those on my calendars, and I'm not going to go through my contracts to figure that out because I'm lazy.

Busiest months were April and October. The slowest month for phone calls and new bookings was definitely November, but I find that to be true every year. After the frenzy of October it seems like everything comes to a screeching halt for a few weeks in November. The slowest month for actual bookings was February.
Number of wedding cakes that are already booked for 2011 are 42.

For next year, I think that my goals will be to continue writing this blog since I think it's fun, to do more non-wedding cakes (big 3-D ones, not 8" rounds with "happy birthday" written on them), teach more classes, diversify the cake business a little with a couple of ideas that I have in the works, and write another book (topic to be decided). I'm also going to go the the ICES convention in August, since it's close enough to do a short trip, and I might be speaking at a cake business symposium before the convention.

So I guess those are my New Year's resolutions, but I usually don't make any of those, so we'll call them "goals." My resolution will be to never use the expression "I heart this" to refer to anything. I think that I can keep that resolution just fine.

What are you going to work on next year? What happened last year that was good or bad? Should I continue to ask questions or is that just a little too annoying?

 Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at and


Deeva said...

I finally got my business license, so I can sell cakes instead of always giving them away. Still learning more about the business and plan on purchasing your book. Eventually, I want to get into larger cakes, but I know there are LOTS of things I need before that happens.

Deeva said...

Oh yea, I am planning on doing two cake competitions instead of one.

Kara said...

Congratulations on getting your license! A big cake is just a small cake on a larger scale, if that makes any sense! Don't be afraid of them, once you do a couple they're not as scary.

Deeva said...

Thanks. I've done larger cakes, but at a bakery. Since I don't have the proper sized vehicle I can't do them on my own. One day though.

SweetThingsTO said...

Congratulations on a successful year and being able to reflect on everyone!