Monday, April 23, 2012

No, There's Not Enough Work For Everyone

Something that really chaps me is when people say things like "there's enough business for everyone" when discussing undercutters, illegal businesses, or whatever.

No there isn't.

If there was enough business for everyone, there would never be a business that closed. I can think of a bunch of businesses that closed in my area just within the past year. Restaurants, furniture stores, bookstores, wedding businesses, electronics stores, the list goes on.

On a few of the cake forums I read there are always people talking about illegal businesses. Half the people want to turn them in, and the other half say "there's enough business for everyone, leave them alone."

I'd be willing to bet that the ones saying leave them alone either aren't business owners, they're trying to be really generous, or they have no concept of reality.

Using weddings as an example, let's say that you live in a place where there are ten bakeries and 1000 weddings a year. If each bakery gets the same amount of business, just for argument's sake, everyone would be doing 100 weddings a year.

So now let's say that ten more bakeries open up. Even if everyone still shares the weddings evenly, that just makes 50 wedding a year each. Now what happens if twenty more open up? You're down to 25 a year.

That's assuming that everyone gets the same amount of the pie, which isn't how it really works. But even if the other bakers only take a small amount off of your total, you're still down for the year. (Plus, that means that you can't raise your prices as you normally would because there's more suppliers, which means that there are going to be people who are willing to charge less and/or undercut others' pricing. If they can deliver the product in acceptable shape or whether it's going to be a cakewreck isn't the issue. We're talking about the booking side of it, not the caveat emptor side.)

It's also assuming that the number of weddings will stay constant or increase, which we know doesn't happen. If the economy slows down people postpone weddings, which will make even fewer opportunities for bookings. Which will make for fewer opportunities for businesses to book clients.

So if you need to book a certain number of weddings per year to make a certain amount of income, you're going to have to pay attention and adjust your tactics if you see the market becoming glutted with new businesses.

I'm not going to get into the specifics of how to do that. But PLEASE don't keep saying that there's enough business for everyone. Seriously. It's not reality.


Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, custom wedding cakes in Richmond VA

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