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How to make your dreams come true in business

Yesterday it was “Make your dreams come true day” – whatever that means. Tomorrow is Blue Monday – the most miserable day of the year, apparently. But why? It doesn’t have to be miserable. If you’re a business owner you have an abundance of freedom and choices. Rather than feel the burden of the responsibilities of running a business I’d like to help you embrace your situation and find happiness. If it’s normal to feel blue this Monday then let’s be abnormal! Here’s how to make your dreams come true…

What makes you unhappy?

Do you know what exactly is affecting you to make you feel miserable? Common reasons are a lack of money, deadlines for payments and credit cards and the realisation that you overspent at Christmas. It’s normal to miss the feel-good party season that has passed. The weather in the UK also contributes. You literally can’t see the light. SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a real thing. Perhaps your self-improvement goals and New Year resolutions are fizzling out fast. Eating nothing but salad is no fun. Being sober and tee-total for “Dry January” is no fun. There are SO many reasons to be miserable, huh?

What makes you happy?

Do you know exactly what you enjoy and what you ultimately want? It’s fairly common to not have clarity on this. The average person will tell you they’d love to win the lottery if you ask them what they dream of. But there’s been many cases of lottery winners not achieving happiness. Money is not a motivator, it’s a facilitator. Time and freedom is what success should represent rather than financial wealth. What do you want to spend heaps of money on? What lifestyle do you dream of? That’s your motivator. Figuring out what you want is the important start of your journey to achieving your dreams and goals.

How to figure out what your dreams are

Make a bucket list. Scribble down every little thing you want to achieve or experience while you’re on earth. Don’t think about how you’d manage to do them. Don’t limit yourself. Simply write down your wildest dreams if money and time were no object. Also write down the smallest things that would bring you joy. Size isn’t important. (Trello is a great platform to use for keeping your bucket list).

Make a dream board. Find pictures that represent some of the things on your bucket list. Pinterest is an awesome free resource for bringing ideas to life with aspirational imagery. Include some inspirational quotes that resonate with you. Create a Pinterest board (you can make it secret so no-one else can see) or download images to create a photo collage either printed out or digitally. I have mine as my computer wallpaper as well as a print out on the wall in my workspace so I see it everyday.

What does success look like for you?

Once you have figured out what your personal dreams and aspirations are it’s time to figure out what your business goals are. I worked with a brilliant business coach towards the end of 2017 to help me figure this out. If you can afford a business coach it’s a great investment and will help you realise much more than you would on your own. If you can’t afford to invest in a coach then find some business owners that you can relate to and create or join a support group. This can be face-to-face over coffee (Desk Cowork is a great place in Swindon) or over group video calls such as Skype. Alternatively there are many supportive groups on Facebook these days (Coffee with Heather and Local Business Network are just a couple of examples). Spend time with people you look up to and ask for their insights.

Work backwards.

It’s not backwards day yet (that’s 31st January) but seriously set your ultimate dream goals and aim as high as possible. Then make a plan from the end and work it backwards to now. It’s kind of like connecting the dots and will stop you getting bogged down in worrying about HOW to do everything. Create milestone targets and put dates on them. This is how to build your dreams. Break your goals down into more detail when you get to your 12 month targets. You can book onto a 90 day planning session to help make everything more bitesize and do-able. I would highly recommend taking a day out each quarter to plan and have found that Ellis Bardsley’s GrowthCLUB sessions have helped me hugely over the past few years.

Recognize who you need to support you in your journey. You WILL need help. Perhaps it’s recruiting team members, building business partnerships and creating strong business relationships. Surround yourself with the right people – people who lift you up rather than hold you back.

You can always thank your team members and people in your support network with tasty treats – and that’s where we can really help! Be sure to get in touch to discuss ideas with us or browse our range of corporate cakes and branded baked goods.

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What is Veganuary? And why should I care about it?

What’s Veganuary all about?

You might have come across it recently, and that’s because January is the month in which everyone is that little more fired up to self-improvement and healthy eating. January is the month of resolutions, goal setting, and dieting. It’s also the perfect time of year to try vegan. But what exactly is involved, and why should you consider it?

Veganuary is a charity inspiring people to try vegan for January and throughout the rest of the year. No long term commitments, just a 30 day challenge to try it and see how it feels.

Why should I care?

There is a Chinese saying that goes: “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.”

The secret to happiness is helping others.

Being vegan is good for the environment, good for your health, and good for animals. It ticks all the good deeds boxes all at once.

1 – Caring about the environment is fundamentally sensible. Even more so if you have children. But even if you don’t have children there’s bound to be someone you care about who is a decade or more younger than you. Wouldn’t it be nice if the planet was still inhabitable for them in a few decades time?

2 – Animal cruelty is not okay. There are lots of vegetarians that choose so because they think killing animals for food is bad. But you don’t have to kill an animal to cause cruelty. The truth behind the dairy industry has now been uncovered. Word is spreading.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/30/dairy-scary-public-farming-calves-pens-alternatives

3 – Your own health. If you care about nothing else, your health is the most precious thing you own. And yes, you own it.

What’s the point of Veganuary? Why does it exist?

Going vegan is a major lifestyle change. Most people can’t simply change their lifestyles overnight to commit to something new forever. Veganuary offers you the chance to try it for 1 month and makes it easier for you. Lots of national chains and businesses support the campaign by introducing more vegan options into their menus and product selections throughout January, especially here in the UK. You also get given lots of FREE support in the form of a daily email.

Why should I sacrifice things that I enjoy? My happiness is important.

Your happiness is super important. If you’ve never tried vegan before it can look like an extremely huge sacrifice. There’s SO MUCH stuff you can’t have, right? Who doesn’t love bacon?! And cheese! Rather than focusing on what you CAN’T have anymore, try focusing on what you can substitute instead.

One month is a perfect amount of time to try something new. You can explore vegan food options you may not have noticed before. Let’s face it – when cheese is available you don’t tend to notice the OTHER options that are out there. You won’t know what you’re missing out on until you discover and try it for yourself.

Ignorance is bliss. – But knowledge is power.

It’s perfectly normal to want to protect yourself from information that may distress you. But with the age of technology, knowledge is easy to find. When you start to dig deeper into the truth of the dairy industry you WILL find shocking information. And you may not want to believe it. But turning a blind eye on a problem doesn’t make the problem go away. Instead, take ownership of your actions. Making small changes to fix the problem (or at least stop facilitating it) makes you an extremely good person.

https://www.plantbasednews.org/post/5-moments-animal-ag-is-scared-of-veganism

How does going vegan affect my health?

January is always an ideal month to try a healthier lifestyle change after the over-indulgence of Christmas. Presumably Veganuary is centred around January because it’s when most people are motivated with New Years resolutions. It’s not uncommon to want to drop a bit of holiday weight this month. Vegan foods can be incredibly good for you – if you focus on substituting rather than simply cutting out ingredients.

https://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/health/vegan-health-benefits-nutritionist-expert-a3673991.html

Where do vegans get protein & calcium from then?

Protein is easy to find. Instead of meat, there’s nuts, spinach, peas, tofu, beans, and more.

Calcium is also easy to consume. Instead of cows’ milk, there’s an abundance of plant milks. It’s also found in green vegetables, tomatoes, oranges, chickpeas, beans and more.

There is one single thing you might not get enough of in a general vegan diet – Vitamin B12. However there are plenty of cheap and easy ways to get this into your diet. These include daily supplement tablets or consuming plenty of fortified foods.

Read more about this here: https://www.vegansociety.com/resources/nutrition-and-health/nutrients/vitamin-b12/what-every-vegan-should-know-about-vitamin-b12

Why not give it a go?

Set yourself a 30 day challenge and sign up for free to get support from Veganuary. You can do this at any time of year (just like I did last August).

Are you considering it, or have you signed up already and giving it a go? I’d love to hear your experiences.

Corporate Cakery caters for all dietary needs. This means our cakes and baked goods are made with a variety of ingredients and recipes. These include gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan options. However I want to urge you to try our vegan offerings. They taste good, I promise!

If you fancy a free sample, drop me a message – there’s no catch.

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Meet Corporate Cakery’s new baker Leigh!

Corporate Cakery new baker Leigh

Meet the newest addition to the Corporate Cakery team – our new baker Leigh…

Introduce yourself – what’s your background?

Hi my name is Leigh, I’m 46 years old and have been married for 20 years. We have twin boys who are 12 years old and we love spending family time together.  My working background was in finance for over 15 years, but after having the twins I gave up work for 11 years to care for them.

It was very important to me to be a stay at home mum and be there for the boys, but as they are now growing more independent and need me less, I figured it was time for me to look for work again.  I didn’t want to go back to office work, I wanted to find a job in something I was genuinely interested in – which happened to be baking cakes. I had always made the boys birthday cakes and had became very interested in everything to do with cakes, you could say I was a little obsessed.

What are your hobbies & interests? Tell us a fun fact about yourself!

Well needless to my hobbies are anything to do with cakes. Reading about them, watching TV about them, buying equipment for them, going to massive cake shows, and of course eating them. But aside from cakes I also love going on long rambles with my family, and I love military aircraft, which is a bit random,  especially military helicopters.

Fun facts… I once went to Bermuda for the weekend, just because.

I’ve been above the arctic circle which was pretty cool, and I’ve been a zoo keeper for a day. The most memorable thing that day was cleaning out the Rhino enclosure, there was a lot of poo!!!  Also feeding a tiger, that was amazing.

And I’ve flown 2 helicopters and a small aircraft… awesome.

How long have you been baking for?

I’ve been baking since the boys were 1 (11 years).  I made their 1st birthday cake and got hooked. Now they come up with bigger and better ideas for the next years cakes to try and push mummy that bit more to try and get better.

What attracted you to working at Corporate Cakery?

2 things attracted me to Corporate Cakery. Flexible working hours – I’m a freelance baker which suits our family brilliantly, it means I can still have the school holidays off with the boys and work in term time. Also the ethics of everyone at Corporate Cakery. They care about where the ingredients has been sourced from, and how. Those values are important to me too.

Corporate Cakery bakers cake makers

 

What does your job involve?

My job involves baking homemade tasting branded cupcakes, brownies and large cakes for companies, bosses, anyone really who wants to show someone that they are appreciated. Nothing tastes as good as homemade.

What do you like most about working at Corporate Cakery?

I honestly love everything about working at Corporate Cakery. I’m doing a job with something I’m passionate about with perfect working hours, not many people get that opportunity. Working in a industrial kitchen is pretty cool too, and they have ‘ washing up fairies’, I like that a lot.

What are your biggest challenges?

My biggest challenge is self doubt.

What do you imagine the next 12 months to be like? What are you looking forward to?

I think the next 12 months are going to be an exciting time for Corporate Cakery, as they expand and grow, and I get to bake more. Especially triple chocolate brownies, they are so so good.

Corporate Cakery bakers Leigh and Samantha with logo branded christmas cookies

What’s your favourite baked treat to eat?

My favourite baked treat to eat WAS a cupcake, but that has all changed since working at Corporate Cakery. It’s now their triple chocolate brownies, they are simply divine and also happens to be the thing I like to bake the most now, happy days.

Find out about the rest of the Corporate Cakery team HERE.

 

Read about Corporate Cakery’s launch

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7 things your cake maker should be doing (but probably aren’t)

Wickes logo branded Money Cake

“How much do corporate cakes cost?”

This is the most common question we get asked. It’s usually an easy answer, because all of our prices are shown on our website before you order, but we also make things that aren’t featured in our standard product range. Whether you have looked at our prices or not, I’m sure you’d like to know how to judge the price correctly to get a fair deal. Not just from us, but from any bakery. But price isn’t the only thing to consider when you’re ordering corporate cakes. What should you check before buying? Read on to find out… Continue reading 7 things your cake maker should be doing (but probably aren’t)

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Case study: BFA annual conference with D&T

BFA conference with D&T cupcakes Twitter

Corporate Cakery were proud to be involved in the British Franchise Association annual conference this year. As well as supporting customers who were up for awards, we helped d&t to make a fab impact with a selection of logo branded cupcakes tailored to the occasion.

The cupcakes were handed out at the d&t exhibition stand at the 2 day conference and tied into a social media competition. We loved seeing the tweets & the pure enjoyment that was being shared. Business events do NOT have to be boring, and the proof is in the pudding (or cake).

We asked the d&t team to share their experience with you – and here it is…

D&T logo branded corporate cupcakes

What was the occasion?

D&t are heavily involved within the franchise community and work closely with the British Franchise Association. We attend the annual conference every year to exhibit our services to the franchise community.

Each year we look for innovative ways to promote franchising as a whole and our services.

We were looking provide our clients with a corporate gift that was unique and had not been tried before.

D&t are passionate about supporting other local businesses and we had heard about the Corporate Cakery company via a client.

After looking at several alternatives, cupcakes provided our clients with a personal gift as well enabling us to run a social media campaign #dennis&tasty

 

D&T twitter post for logo branded corporate cupcakes at BFA conference #dennisandtasty

 

McDonalds logo branded corporate cupcakes BFA conference

 

Home Instead franchise logo branded corporate cupcakes BFA conference

Did you have an idea of what you would need?

We had a clear vision of what we wanted and the Corporate Cakery were able to support us with our vision.

 

Twitter post #dennisandtasty of D&T logo branded corporate cupcakes at BFA conference

What was the outcome?

The cupcakes were a huge success and major talking point throughout the conference.

We created a huge social media campaign by using the #dennis&tasty which resulted in publicity not only for d&t but for franchising as a whole.

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the cupcakes this was clear by the noise on social media.

 

Winner of D&T #dennisandtasty competition at BFA conference with logo branded corporate cupcakes

 

Suit the city twitter post about #dennisandtasty logo branded cupcakes at BFA conference with D&T

How did this benefit you?

It encouraged people to talk about d&t and franchising which is a positive result for the whole industry.

Greensleeves franchise logo branded corporate cupcakes BFA conference

 

Costa Coffee logo branded corporate cupcakes BFA conference D&T

Browse our exhibition ideas

or order online NOW

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What it’s really like to become vegan…

Becoming Vegan cupcakes

 

Over the summer things get much calmer and quieter for business (which is both a curse & a blessing as a B2B cake business), so this gives me a chance to do a bit of experimentation and product creation.

 

After all, you might all love our logo branded vanilla cupcakes right now, but maybe one day in the future you’ll be bored of them and want something new?! I’m also on a bit of a mission to improve ethics, both in business and as an individual, and spread awareness of things that I become aware of so that others can be more mindful and ethical too.

 

I’ve also always been passionate about not “punishing” people for having dietary needs, allergies or intolerances, and found myself feeling curious about what it’s actually like to be someone with a “dietary need” as I’m luckily not allergic to much so haven’t had much insight.

 

So, in July 2017 I decided to challenge myself to see what it’s like to be vegan for a month. By going vegan, I mean eating only plant based foods for 30 days straight.

Continue reading What it’s really like to become vegan…

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Event case study: South West Expo celebrates 5 years in Swindon

SouthWest Business Expo 2017 Swindon

Swindon is a great place for business. As it’s not a city, it can be outshone by Bristol, Bath & Reading, but is a hive of business activity. This year marked the 5th year of the South West Expo in Swindon. Obviously this caused for some celebration, and we were happy to help!

We’ve been exhibiting at the South West Business Expos in Swindon (and more recently Bristol) for the past 3 years (originally as Little Miss Cake Maker before we rebranded) and always find it enjoyable and beneficial. Throughout the years we have produced cupcakes for the successful events which always go down a storm, but rather than tell you how effective our corporate cakes are at business events, we asked Alec Jones-Hall, Director of The Great British Expo’s Ltd to share his experiences of working with us.

Great British Expos Swindon logo branded cupcakes

What was the occasion & why choose Corporate Cakery?

We were celebrating our 5th Birthday in Swindon and was expecting over 1000 business to be attending our event. We wanted to make a massive impact and tell everyone that it was our 5th Birthday. We wanted to encourage everyone to be involved in the celebration and what better way than offer them all a cupcake with our logo and birthday message on.

We chose Corporate Cakery due to their professionalism and the quality of the products they produce. Everyone within the region speaks very highly of the company and the standards they provide.

 

Continue reading Event case study: South West Expo celebrates 5 years in Swindon

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Why ethics are underrated 🙊

Samantha Whittingham Corporate Cakery ethical

The Corporate Cakery blog is going all philosophical today! You might think we’re ‘just a cake shop…’ but you’re wrong. Although I run a cake business, I have core values that I strongly believe in, and as a business owner those values are also reflected in my business. Ethics are one of those core values, and here’s why.

 

 

One of my reasons for starting a cake business in the first place was because cakes are such a happy thing. Cakes are featured at all kinds of happy occasions (weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, christenings, etc). In life we can all fall victim to focussing on negative things whilst overlooking the positives. When I created Corporate Cakery I wanted to help business people acknowledge positive events within business & celebrate successes rather than be stuck in the endless world of goals and to-do lists.

 

I used to work for a regional newspaper company before starting my business. As a young salesperson I was encouraged to celebrate tragedies, incidents and deaths happening locally because it helped us to sell more papers. Why? Because it made our advertising space more valuable. This was a morbid and morally dangerous place to be and I hated myself back then. No matter how much you pay me, I’m not going to feel good about celebrating negative and morally wrong events. I realised that although I earned my degree in advertising, that path was not the best thing for me to continue on in life. As it turned out, I could use my handy advertising skills to set up a business helping other business owners to celebrate and embrace their branding through corporate cakes 😉

 

So, what are ethics?

Continue reading Why ethics are underrated 🙊

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Event case study: Total Guide to celebrate 5 years in business

Total Guide to Swindon 5th anniversary party

Total Guide to 5th anniversary logo branded birthday cake

Total Guide to celebrated their 5th year in business in 2017, and Corporate Cakery were there to help them celebrate in style!

As an online business based in Swindon they have started to branch out to other parts of the UK, so we have a lot in common, including the knowledge that a true celebration needs really good cake.

Rather than tell you all about it, we asked Liz Hutchings (Ledger), Director of Total Guide to and all round fabulous business woman, to share her experience of celebrating her epic achievement with our help…

Samantha from Corporate Cakery with Liz Ledger and 2 little girls blowing out the candles on the cake

Why did you choose Corporate Cakery?

We wanted to throw a Summer party for our clients and suppliers to celebrate turning 5 earlier this year. Having worked with Sam previously and wanting to mark the occasion with a branded birthday cake, Sam and Corporate Cakery sprang straight to mind as they always do such a fabulous job!

 

Total Guide to 5th birthday party

Did you know what you would need?

I knew we need a birthday cake with our logo and Total Turns 5 on there but I’m not the most creative when it comes to baking and let Sam advise and as usual she went the extra mile – Sam used our logo and created a beautiful cake and even took the summer party theme to mind and created some delicious and very pretty cup cakes and cookies!

 

Selection of branded logo cupcakes, cookies and chocolate brownies for the Total Guide to Swindon 5th birthday party

What was the outcome?

The cookies and cupcakes were such a great idea as it meant less serving required on the evening and created a bit of a stir with people gathering around the selection. They were also easy to eat and less messy which is crucial for a business/networking event! The cookies, cupcakes and half of the enormous cake were devoured on the night and the remaining cake made the staff very happy the next day!


Total Guide to Swindon branded logo cupcakes in pink, purple & blue   Total Guide to Swindon logo branded cupcakes in red, orange & green

How did this benefit you and your customers?

The fantastic thing with this is even though the cakes were provided for one night, the benefits in terms of ongoing PR and marketing will continue for years. We have wonderful photos of the cake which we can use in our marketing collateral and when entering awards. Importantly, it also showed our customers and suppliers that we care and value their custom and showed off our branding and marked a key milestone for the business. Our customers have also benefitted from meeting Sam and the team at Corporate Cakery so they have a contact to use for their own events.

 

Total Guide to Swindon logo branded cookies at the 5th anniversary party

 

It was a Total-ly great business birthday party 🎉 Check out the Total Guide full image gallery HERE ⬅️

If you have an event or occasion coming up and would like our help we would LOVE to hear from you!

💌 Email us or check out our website 😍

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How important are your customers, really?

Have you thanked yours recently?

If you’re a business owner, I’m sure you know how important your customers are. Henry Ford rightly stated: “It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.” Obviously it’s important to keep your team happy, but there are many business owners out there that run their businesses single handedly (I was one of them) – in fact 76% of UK businesses don’t have any employees, so if you’re a solo-preneur, a sole-trader, or an individual running a business, hats off to you! I know how hard it is.

Customer service is not a department, it’s everyone’s job.

I don’t know who said this, but I’m sure it’s someone wise. As a small business owner, you wear all the hats. You are the customer service department, and that’s awesome.
If you’re a service-based business, your customer service couldn’t be more important. Someone could fall in love with a product without knowing who made it (although most of my customers know me as I try not to hide behind the products too much), but if your business is selling a service which relies on communication between your customers and you or your employees, how do you strengthen that relationship?

 

Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.
Mother Teresa

Every company’s greatest assets are its customers

“…because without customers there is no company.”
Michael LeBoeuf, Author of: How to Win Customers and Keep Them for Life

 

If you’re reading this I’m pretty sure you know what I’m about. I run an online cake shop for businesses (that’s Corporate Cakery.com). One of the fundamental parts of my business model is that Corporate Cakery is shaped around our customers. We make bespoke products and learn an incredible amount about what products are enjoyed or not desired on an ongoing basis. Unsurprisingly my christian name Samantha (not that I’m religious) has a biblical meaning which is ‘listener of god’. Swap ‘god’ with ‘people’ or ‘customers’ and that’s an awesome fact (I thought so anyway)!
My point is that I listen to what my customers need, and this has led me to launch a new service which I’m about to reveal to you…

 

“When we give we receive – when a business does something good for somebody, that somebody feels good about them!”
Ben Cohen, Ben & Jerry’s

Our new on-demand thank you service

We’ve listened to you, and are proud to be launching a super subscription service, making it easier and even more affordable to send thank you gifts to your clients.

 


Corporate Cakery’s subscription service makes it easier for small business owners to send thank you gifts to your clients throughout the year – because a small gesture goes a long way and I totally understand that gratitude can be easily forgotten as the day to day stuff takes over (where does the time go?!)

 

A customer is the most important visitor on our premises, he is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us an opportunity to do so.
Mahatma Gandhi

How does it work?

It’s very simple! Like all of our products it’s a bespoke service – we create a credit account for you with an annual allowance. You get to choose your budget, which is paid monthly, and you tell us when and where to send your bespoke thank you gifts out throughout the year (just give us at least 3 days notice). So for example you gain a fab new client next Monday? If you’re on our subscription plan, tell us where they are and we’ll send them a box of thank you cupcakes or cookies with your logo to arrive with them by the end of that week.

 

You can sign up by selecting one of the following plans:

The ‘bitesize’ plan for £25/month

Full details on the bitesize plan here

The ‘brownie points’ plan for £45/month

Full details on the brownie points plan here

The ‘super sweet’ plan for £75/month

Full details on the super sweet plan here

or email us!

 

If you know someone that would find this service useful please do spread the word! And feel free to get in touch to find out more 🙂

There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.

– Roger Staubach