Small Business Feature: Once Upon a Cake, LLC

Small Business Feature:  Once Upon a Cake, LLC Main Photo

2 Oct 2017

small business, beatrice business, cakes

Wedding cake by Once Upon a CakeSmall Business Feature: Once Upon a Cake, LLC

Sandi Steele dreamed of owning her own cake company. For years, she put care and love into the cakes she made for family and friends, selling special occasion cakes now and then. However, the area of Nebraska she lived in was too rural, and the customer base too small, to support an actual business. Upon moving to Beatrice, she decided to finally turn her dreams into a reality and opened Once Upon a Cake, LLC with her daughter, Randi Duis.

Making the decision to leap and pursue her dream was the start of an adventure that has turned into a successful local business. With the slogan, “Making All Your Cake Dreams Come True” they create gorgeous wedding cakes, fabulous birthday cakes and even anniversary cakes. These are not standard sheet cakes but ones with intricate designs and an incredible attention to detail. Clients enjoy their cakes so much that the business has doubled in the past year, mostly from word of mouth.

Getting started

When Sandi was ready to form her business, she first sat down with NGage and Main Street Beatrice to find out how they could help her. Knowing these community resources were available, she scheduled a meeting to discuss her business objectives and to find out what steps she would need to take to get launched. “They gave me a lot of information to think about and as we started putting it together, Glennis from NGage put us in touch with various seminars where we could gain additional business skills. She also connected us with other local resources, including the legal clinic at the University of Lincoln who helped with our LLC formation. Through REAP, we found an accountant who could help us set up QuickBooks.”

Other business resources they benefited from include:

  • REAP Women’s Business Center (connection with a local CPA who helped set up their accounts)
  • Social media and marketing workshops
  • Startup workshop, titled “The Key to Business Success: Entrepreneurs are Luck Makers, Not Risk Takers”

These are some of the many programs offered by NGage, Main Street Beatrice and the Beatrice Area Chamber of Commerce.  All these entities have cooperatively assisted small business start-ups and retention together in the community. They bring additional resources as necessary, based on entrepreneurs' needs.  For Sandi, these resources were diverse and valuable.

Participation is key

“There are so many opportunities to attend seminars, workshops and events. By participating and networking, we met other local businesses which complimented ours. When we get our shop up and running, we want to have connections and partnerships with other businesses so that people can come here for wedding cakes and we can refer to photographers, dress makers, florists, etc. We are essentially building our own wedding network. Everyone is local so what helps one of us will help another one. For example, Denise with Tall Tree Tastings has a small venue that could be good for a little reception or pre-wedding event. We want to be a local resource to help brides with planning their special day. In turn, we have also benefited from businesses referring back to us” said Sandi.

Business growth

Since starting in July of 2015, Once Upon a Cake, LLC has experienced significant growth. The first year, they made four wedding cakes. In 2016, they made fourteen and this year, that number has nearly doubled. More importantly, they are building a solid reputation that has earned them the privilege of receiving referrals from the local bakery, previous clients and a retired cake maker. Without advertising, their business is growing leaps and bounds. With a future goal of opening and running a special occasions bakery full time, Sandi can see the path to additional business success. It involves taking one step at a time and continuing to leverage community resources that make it easier to grow.

NGage is here to help

The resources and seminars Once Upon a Cake, LLC utilized are available to your business as well. NGage assists startup and existing companies with a wide range of business challenges. We invite you to contact us today and “NGage” in small business resource assistance.