A slice of prophetic cake
One day in 2004, as she was travelling back from a work conference, Cynthia Akinsanya bought a piece of cake from the buffet trolley on a train, tasted it and thought: “My cakes taste just as good, I can do this.”
Inspired by this, and by the friends and family who had been saying she should be selling her cakes to the public, she launched ‘Delights by Cynthia’ the following year. Today, Cynthia’s cakes look so good, some have been led to call them prophetic.
That doesn’t surprise Cynthia. As one would expect from a Christian in business, especially in a market as competitive as baking, she says, “I make sure I pray for creativity when it comes to creating the cakes. There are some designs that I just know have not come from me. God [has] downloaded some great ideas my way.”
‘Delights by Cynthia’ has since received many awards: Small Business of the Year 2012, at the Camden and Islington Business Awards; 2011 Businesswoman of the Year, for the Women4Africa Awards UK, and a nomination for the MumsClub Business Mums Award for 2011.
Cynthia likes to think that each cake – made using free-range eggs and some Fair Trade ingredients – is uniquely created for each customer. “I love the fact that my creations get to take centre stage at some fantastic occasions and moments in people’s lives,” she said. “This morning, I received an email from a mother thanking me for making her son’s birthday cake [and] a cool picture of this little boy with his cake.”
Passionate about ‘business with integrity’, Cynthia believes that as a Christian it is even more important “to charge the correct prices, be as transparent as possible, deliver on time, and work with excellence”.
She doesn’t just pray about her own business but also for her competition. “By doing so, I no longer see them as a threat. Plus, if God is going to bless their business, I know He will bless [mine], too.”
Cynthia is so keen to share Kingdom principles for business that she started a series of workshops called ‘It’s your time to flourish’. They give women interested in starting a business the opportunity to spend time with those already running one.
She also believes in giving back, no matter how small a business is. “Through the business, I have been able to sponsor and support a child through World Vision. My daughter’s vision is that as the business grows, we are able to sponsor a child in each continent.”
As a business owner, wife and mother of two daughters, it comes as no surprise that Cynthia feels her greatest challenge to be “too few hours in the day to get everything done”, but it’s funny how God always sees things differently.
“Recently, I have felt God (and my husband) telling me I need to slow down, that some of the things I believe are important are not. I have a huge, never ending To Do list. I find when I spend time with God and ask Him to show me the priorities, the day runs more smoothly, and my life and the business are in balance and order.”
Find out more about ‘Delights by Cynthia’ at www.delightsbycynthia.com, or follow on Twitter @You_Flourish
How to use LinkedIn to grow your business
LinkedIn is the social network platform of choice for business professionals, but how can you get the most from it? LinkedIn expert, Emily Miller, has five tips:
- Make sure your personal profile is complete, has a professional photo, and includes your marketing key words in the headline.
- Find a handful of active groups for your market, and comment (nicely!) on other people’s posts. It’s a bonus if you publish your own discussions (but avoid selling your services directly).
- Use LinkedIn’s advanced search features to research your target companies and decision makers. Use LinkedIn’s InMail to contact them, or get referred to them by your intermediate connections.
- Create a great company page. It’s a terrific way to present your brand image, highlight your products and services, and provide another channel for your thought leadership.
- Make sure all your invitations to connect are customised (ie. don’t use the standard LinkedIn invite text), and then follow up with a face-to-face meeting.
Follow these top five LinkedIn tips, and see how business development becomes more efficient and effective for you.
Denise Roberts is founder of Christian Women in Business UK and Loud Voice Communications