You guys, I am extra excited to be sharing this Balanced Babe of the week’s advice on entrepreneurship for two reasons, one: she has created her small business under the age of 30, and two: cupcakes and liquor all in one bite sounds like a party STAPLE!
We were able to pick the brain of owner of Cupcakes and Cocktails, Brittney McCoy, and boy we are glad we did. Brittney dishes on what it takes to be an entrepreneur, how she has grown her business, and how she markets her concept. So ladies, get your notepads out ’cause it’s time to get serious!
BB: What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
BM: I would say that humility, patience and communication are three skills that are necessary to be a successful entrepreneur. Anyone can say they are an entrepreneur, start a business and open up shop. You have to be humble in order to approach strangers with a product or service hoping that they will have a need for it. You have to be humble to ask others to promote you and spread the word about your business. You have to be patient when some people say no to what you’re trying to offer them. When people are not accepting of your product, or even open to hearing your ideas it can sometimes feel frustrating. You definitely need to be patient when your business fails in one area. It will happen but trial and error takes patience. Lastly, communication is vital to be successful. If you cannot communicate with others about your business, whether it’s verbal or virtual how will you sell anything? Nonverbal communication is also important; you have to be able to pick up on someone’s body language and how they are receiving your message.
BB: What are the most crucial things you have done to grow your business?
Networking! When I first started Cupcakes & Cocktails I was literally at every event with a tray of cupcakes giving them away along with my business card. I really believed in my brand and was confident that if people just tasted a cupcake, they would be hooked. I believe it has helped with the success of my business. Often times, people don’t even know my name, I’m referred to as “the cupcake girl” and to be known by my product is definitely a great thing. Those free samples I use to give away have translated into repeat clients.
How do you go about marketing your business? And what has been your most successful form of marketing?
Like most business owners, I promote on social media sites with Instagram being my most useful platform. Majority of my target market uses social media on a daily basis so it is smart for me to have accounts to be able to communicate with them. I like to offer sales and promotions to my online followers, which helps bring in business and for new followers to gain more company awareness. Word of mouth has been another form marketing for my company. A lot of my new clients will say “I saw your company on this person’s page” or someone posted a picture of my desserts and that’s what led them to me. I also market my business at social/networking events by being a vendor or dessert sponsor. By doing this I am able to have a lot of personal interaction with potential clients.
Also, I run deals on Groupon and LivingSocial, which has been quite successful. These two companies send out 1000’s of impressions promoting my business to their subscribers. This helps me reach an entire different demographic of clients for my decorating classes which I otherwise would not have been able to reach.
What’s the worst business advice you’ve ever received?
People will always feel the need to give business advice even if you ask for it or not. They seem to know what’s best for the business even though they know nothing about the industry. I’ve had people tell me that I shouldn’t raise my prices for any of my cupcakes/desserts because people would never pay more since I don’t have a storefront yet. That was by far the worst advice I’ve ever received. It’s safe to say that I didn’t listen to those people. I believe that my prices reflect my business practices and the quality of service I’m providing. I feel that when I first started my business I set my prices too low because I didn’t know the worth of my business and I just wanted people to purchase the product. Over time I learned that if you have a good product and provide great service, people won’t mind spending the money because they know their money is being well spent.
Can you describe your typical day?
I don’t always do the exact same thing everyday, and I love it. Usually the first thing I do in the morning is to check/respond to all emails, and then I check all social media accounts and post pictures to my platforms. Throughout the day I will continue to check for new emails and also check back in on the social media pages. I interact with followers by liking some of their pictures or responding to the comments they left on the post. If it’s a day that I’m teaching a cupcake decorating class, I like to make sure that I have all the supplies and decorations for each person packed and get their cupcakes boxed up.
I like to arrive at the venue my classes are held an hour early to start prepping. I always like to make sure everyone at my class has an awesome experience when they leave and would want to tell a friend or family member about this. After the class is over, I clean up my area, head home and try to get some much-needed rest.
As an entrepreneur and business owner how do you maintain the Balanced Babe lifestyle?
I try to maintain the Balanced Babe lifestyle by not getting stressed out by the number of events or orders I have going on. Each week I like to write out daily tasks I’ll need to complete for that week, this helps me stay on track and remain organized. I try not to take on too many things at once, such as doing two large cupcakes orders that would be due on the same day and attending a networking event later on in the evening. I make sure that I eat breakfast in the morning so I will be focused and have energy to complete my busy schedule. I also try not to eat processed foods and cook at home as much as I can.
I make sure that I don’t make everything about business and always make sure I set aside time to spend with family and friends. I also give myself personal days, where I focus on re-channeling my energy, relaxing and enjoying life.