Cakealicious is a cake business I own and run from home. It started off as a hobby many years ago and I was encouraged to start a business by my friends and family. I have been running it for the past 9 years and as the owner, I wear many hats. I am the admin support, marketing manager and baker. To stay on top of everything I need to be extremely organized and manage each project perfectly, otherwise I get behind on orders and my business suffers.
Running a cake business has a lot to do with project management, and PRINCE2® has helped me to manage mine more efficiently. It is important to have certain measures in place if you want to see your business grow.
Learn from experience
Learning from experience is so important. Mistakes are part of the learning process, but your business is unlikely to grow if you keep making the same ones. PRINCE2 recommends carving out some time to consider what went well and what didn’t after every project. The lessons from each project should be captured in a log and considered when planning and creating strategies for any new project.
For example, as my business grew, I began to have trouble keeping up with orders and managing enquiries, because my website was not doing enough of the work for me. I knew it could be improved by automating many of my processes. When I designed my new website, I made sure that it was an e-commerce website, so that customers could make orders without any intervention from me. My admin was reduced significantly and users had a better experience on the website.
The purpose of the quality theme in PRINCE2 is to define a system that will create and verify that products are fit for use and meet requirements.
There are two main goals of quality control:
- to ensure that the quality requirements are met
- to avoid unsatisfactory performance
In baking, you cannot compromise on quality as you can clearly taste the difference when using higher quality ingredients. If you let the quality slip it is unlikely that you will gain repeat clientele and may even receive negative reviews.
I have found that it is best if you identify the main areas that will affect this. For me, flour, butter, and vanilla are the things that improve the taste of a cake most dramatically. If I use high-quality versions of these ingredients, they bring the right texture and flavour and result in a delicious moist sponge. With this in place, it will meet customers’ expectations.
Following the plan
The plan theme is fundamental to the PRINCE2 methodology; a good plan will facilitate control throughout the project lifecycle. Plans are used to provide instructions and are used as a baseline to measure progress.
In baking, a plan is more commonly known as a recipe. When baking something for the first time, it is always best to follow each step in the recipe. Over time, you will become more confident and comfortable with other approaches and you can begin experimenting. Many people have asked for advice when baking cakes and I have heard some crazy stories about cakes sinking in the middle, cakes falling apart, and so on. The commonality between these stories is that they did not follow the recipe/plan!
Effective project management relies on a good plan. If you are having trouble with your projects, you should be able to turn to the plan and follow it step by step to get where you need to be. Remember, spending an hour planning will save you time later down the line.
People assume that PRINCE2 is only for large organizations and projects, but I use it every day to manage my one-person business. It can be tailored to any business and I have seen significant improvements since I implemented it within my business strategy. PRINCE2 is useful for any type of project, from the single user ‘cupcake’ project, to the complex and multi-level ‘wedding cake’ project.