For the person who enjoys cooking or baking, opening a food business is a great way to combine a hobby with a career. But starting a business selling your food items requires more than cooking up a great meal. Businesses require research and planning to put them on the right track. Further, food businesses require additional permits and perhaps even inspections before being allowed to make sales.
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Decide what kind of food you want to sell and how. A variety of food-related business options include catering, meal delivery services and baked goods. You can focus on specific niche markets, such as catering weddings, meal delivery for new moms or baked goods sold through local coffee shops or stores.
Write a business plan that provides the specifics about your business, including the items you intend to sell, and how and to whom you intend to sell them. In the financial section include your startup costs for equipment, supplies and food ingredients, as well as business expenses such as marketing. Include information about your projected sales and income over the next year.
Set up your business. To protect your personal assets such as your home, consider creating a business entity such as a limited liability company. Apply for a business license from your city or county government office. Contact your state’s occupational licensing board for information on laws governing food service businesses particularly those operated from home. Some states may require a separate kitchen while others only require separate equipment and ingredients. If you’re state collects sales tax, apply for a sales tax permit from your state’s taxation office or comptroller.
Purchase your food making equipment and supplies. This is dictated by the type of food you’ll be making but can include items such as bowls, baking dishes, mixers, spoons and other utensils and measuring items. These should be stored separately from your personal items as should the food ingredients as well. If you will be selling your goods through stores, purchase packaging materials to wrap your food items. If your state has labeling laws, use a computer to create ingredient labels to stick to your food packages. If you will be working as a caterer, purchase serving trays, bowls and other items that look nice for public events.
Market your food business. Make samples of your food items and take pictures to use on your marketing materials, such as portfolio, website or brochures. Match your food items to seasonal events. For example, if you make cookies and candies, have promotional events for Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day. If you are a caterer, create marketing materials to target June weddings or summer family reunions. Place promotional materials or advertising in places your target market will find, such as magazines or websites. how to start an in home business