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If your kitchen is the home of your heart, it’s time to start your business based on that love. There are almost endless possibilities for a successful business based on the love of food, family, and community; however, you’ve probably already visualized your own kitchen-based business. So, let’s explore how to put your delicious ideas to work!
Steps to Build Your Business from Home
Who are the Customers?
Starting a business in your kitchen suggests that your customers will live in the local or regional area. Ask friends and neighbors what foods they most like and determine if the foods you could prepare will meet those preferences. Also, consider which foods you are capable of expertly preparing and presenting. Do you have a specialty cuisine or create birthday cupcakes? Are you considering the idea of creating meal boxes or baking artisanal bread? Bring the suggestions of those who will become your customers and tie them together with your capabilities to determine who your customers are and how you can best meet their food styles.
Who are the Competitors?
Before launching a business from your kitchen, it is especially important to first study any businesses that are your competitors. You’ll want to examine the food offerings from the competitors, the pricing structures, delivery or pick-up options, and any unique or differentiated factors offered by the competitors. The examination of your competitors will provide a hedge around your efforts, particularly if similar foods to yours are offered. You can devise unique offers and differentiated foods, offer specials or discounts, and employ other techniques to get ahead of any competitors after you’ve identified who they are.
Build a Business Plan
Building a business plan is the most crucial element to starting a business from your kitchen. The business plan will act as your roadmap to prepare for the launch, startup, and growth phases of your business. Inside your plan, you’ll form the assessment of your customers and competitors, create market strategies, set financial projections, and outline the operations of your business. If you don’t already have a business plan, use one of these comprehensive business plan templates as your guide. Follow the suggested outline carefully to fully develop your business plan and revise your plan as needed during the startup and growth phase of your business.
Set Financial Prons and Secure Funding
Use the financials developed in your business plan to set financial projections for your business. Your plan should include a 5-year financial statement broken out in monthly or quarterly periods for the first year and annually after that. Include your income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statements or projections to develop a complete overview.
If you need to secure funding to start your business, you’ll want to approach lenders, investors, banks, or other financial institutions with your business plan and financial projections in hand. These documents will offer a complete snapshot of your business and give prospective lenders a clear view of your vision.
Obtain Liced Permits
To start a business in your kitchen, you’ll need to obtain the necessary permits and licenses that fulfill the food preparation requirements of your city and/or state. Licenses and permits can be found through county or city regulatory agencies. Some agencies may also require a work site visit or additional documentation, such as a food handler’s permit. Obtain any licenses or permits before opening your door for business.
Launch Your Strategies
Chances are customers will soon discover your business by word-of-mouth advertising; however, you can launch your business successfully in a number of different ways, including social media, email blasts, brochures or flyers, and other methods of reaching your community. Consider attending trade shows and other local events to offer food samples and build your clientele. Wherever you choose to interact with potential customers, offer small bites or samples; casual studies have shown that such samplings bring in a significant number of new customers.
As the possibilities for your business unfold, consider the additional components you can add to your offerings to build your business into a larger and more profitable enterprise. For example, one of these growth models may coincide with your current plan:
- If your plan is to sell bread; add sweet dinner rolls, ciabatta, and sourdough rolls
- If your plan is to sell meal boxes; add new and intriguing cuisines or plant-based boxes
- If your plan is to sell produce boxes; add vegetable soups and stews to your offerings
In short, consider the options to add to the food offerings. A growth mindset will recognize when additions and changes can be made that will increase profitability and grow the business.
The vast majority of food-related businesses that start in a home-based kitchen do not end in that kitchen. The delicious food offerings that come from the heart of a cook will typically drive such growth that the business will need to move to a commercial kitchen within six months to a year. As such, prepare for that eventuality and secure space in a coworking kitchen before it is actually needed. As the business grows, consider adding a larger audience. For example, if you’re considering how to start a cookie business, you may begin by selling single, wrapped cookies to neighbors, but you may capture your vision to begin selling cookie boxes to a national clientele. As your food sales increase, continually consider ways in which it can evolve to increase offerings, increase customer demographics, increase distribution, and increase profits. Building a business from your kitchen is merely the start!