How to Start a Home-Based Food Business

by Jerrie Fields

1. Familiarize Yourself with Rules, Regulations and Local Laws

When starting a business from home, start by contacting your local authority for instructions on obtaining a license, permits and area zoning regulations pertaining to home-based businesses.

Furthermore, you want to check with your state's Department of Health in regards to having you cooking space inspected for commercial cooking. You can get licensed after your cooking space passes inspection. If you will be packaging food items, get information on product labeling regulations.

2. Write a Business Plan

A well-written plan can disclose whether or not a start-up idea is likely to be successful, so it's best to complete this step prior to purchasing cooking supplies and tools. Developing a plan will also help you identify the best way to acquire customers, and how long it will take to generate revenue.

Many small business owners choose to use business plan templates. This enables them to avoid the expense of hiring a professional while also avoid mistakes that people typically make when writing a plan from scratch.

3. Purchase Supplies and Equipment

After you have decided on a profitable business concept and you are all set to make and sell food from home, the next step is to purchase cooking supplies. If you have a pastime of cooking, your shopping list may be small. If you need additional cookware or food prep items, check out restaurant supply stores for wholesale merchandise.

Other supplies you will need include packaging materials such as bags, bottles, tins, shipping materials and product labels. There are lots of product packaging companies that supply a diverse range of items - from pink cupcake boxes to plastic pouches to candy jars to wine boxes and shipping supplies - all the way to complete custom-designed production.

4. Find Clients

If you don't consider yourself a salesperson, a simple way to bring in new clients is by letting consumers sample your specialty food items or treats free of charge. Write down several local businesses, organizations and events where you can offer free samples as a gift.

Shoppers love freebies, and once they know about you, they can buy more products from you. It's human nature to want to return favors. On top of that, larger groups give you more exposure to more people. Not only do you reach more people at once, you put yourself in a position to secure larger orders in the future.

Remember to include your business card, a food selection or food list plus details on placing an order. As an extra incentive, include a coupon or special discount. The goal is that you want them to get accustomed to working with you.

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