How to Start a Food Business from Home: Step-by-Step Guide
Is it your dream to open your own food company in your home? Many entrepreneurs are planning around a world with less contact in light of the pandemic. As such, the idea of creating businesses from home is becoming more prevalent.
In this guide, we detail the steps involved in how to start a good business from home. A lot of planning and preparation is needed, but the payoff can be well worth your time and effort. It’s important to remember that food businesses are unlike most others.
You will therefore need to employ considerable research if you want to get your idea off the ground and running. But as you will see, the right approach can bring one step closer to success.
Here’s What We’ll Cover:
As with any other business idea, you want your food company to come together with as few snags as possible. You can ensure smoother sailing by following key steps throughout the creation of your business. Let’s explore these steps one at a time and discuss what they entail.
Check Local Zoning Laws
Before you do any concrete planning and preparation, it’s important to first check your area’s zoning laws. You might find that you can’t legally operate a food business from your home. So you’ll want to make sure that you are allowed to proceed with your vision before going any further.
Select a Niche
Apart from checking zoning laws, this is one of the very first things you’ll want to brainstorm. After all, you need to know what you want to sell before you can start planning your business. Once you have a baseline for the type of foods you’ll be making, it will be easier to plan for equipment, marketing, and other essentials.
Moreover, do you want to be a food business that offers catering or delivery? Additional services like these can help you find the right niche. For example, maybe you want to prepare wedding cake creations from home and cater them to wedding events.
Or you might envision preparing fresh-baked goods and delivering them to local coffee shops in your area and beyond. You need to plan for offering this kind of scope in your deliveries and prepare accordingly. A big part of determining your budget will likewise centre on your niche.
Write a Business Plan
The next logical step after settling on a niche is to establish a business plan. This is what ties it all together and helps direct you throughout the creation process. Some sources might tell you that you don’t need to put a lot of effort into step. But that’s misleading.
You want your business plan to be rock-solid from start to finish. The reason for this? Your business plan is what you will use to pitch your idea to potential investors. And research shows that most investors won’t even consider a pitch without a good or great business plan.
Included in your plan needs to be your business strategy for success and what kind of return investors can expect. Without these essential components, you will have a hard time convincing anyone to entrust their money to you.
Conduct Market Research
While home food businesses are still somewhat limited, the food industry as a whole is rife with competition. Because of this, it’s vital that you research the food market in your area and any other areas you plan to serve.
A great place to start is with your Chambers of Commerce. There are 53 accredited Chambers that make up the British Chambers of Commerce. So, find your nearest Chamber and see when they hold networking events for businesses. It’s there that you will learn a lot about similar businesses in your area.
Furthermore, it’s an excellent chance for you to speak with fellow business owners in the food industry. You can see what’s working for them and what’s not and take notes to implement into your business plan.
Acquire Permits and Licenses
To obtain your food license, you will need to apply for food premises approval. To get approved, every home-based business owner has to show that their commercial kitchens aren’t part of a personal kitchen.
This also means that you’re not using any of your personal cooking equipment or utensils in your professional endeavour. It’s a violation of the Health Department to do so, regardless of the type of food product you make and sell.
When you’re ready to apply, visit the government’s website and enter your postcode. This will direct you to your area’s authority contact information. You can contact them directly or visit their website to download a registration form for food businesses.
You must register within 28 days prior to preparing food in your home. If you fail to obtain the necessary food license and you get caught making and selling food, you could face fines and incarceration.
It’s also a good idea to take food handling classes early on, as you will be required to do so at some point anyway. They will help you better understand proper food preparation, food law, and safe food handling.
Buy Food Preparation Equipment
This includes ingredients that you’ll be using to make your niche food business items. You’re also going to need the proper equipment to prepare your ingredients. This can include but isn’t limited to:
- Speciality fryers (for things like doughnuts)
- Fryer filtration supplies
- Exhaust hoods
- Baking dishes
- Mixing bowls
You also need to consider packaging and accompanying labels, such as for food ingredients. And if you’re going to offer catering, you will need to invest in trays, utensils, bowls, and things of that nature. However, not just any catering wares will do.
They should be attractive to your clients, especially if you’re catering for a wedding or similar social events. Even if your food is excellent, your catering wares need to reflect as much.
Furthermore, if you offer delivery, you need to think about investing in food trucks to assist in your food operations.
Market Your Brand
One of the final steps is marketing your brand. Social media is a powerful tool for marketing, and you should use it to your advantage. Also, don’t settle on a singular social media platform. Rather, use as many as you can to get your name out there.
It’s also important to let people try your products, as word of mouth is huge in itself. Therefore, try to attend fairs, farmers markets, and other social events, and hand out free samples. It’s an added expense, but it can have a significant payoff later.
If you make quality products, consider such events free marketing. Your goal is to get people to spread the word about the excellent food products you sell. And if you offer additional services like catering, hand out flyers with your samples that detail what you do.
These steps will help guide you in creating the foundation of your home-based food business. But you’re also going to need help on the financial side of your creation. For that, you should consider FreshBooks. With this helpful software, bookkeeping and keeping track of accounting have never been easier.
And if you have employees, time tracking and other tools simplify your food operations. If you’re looking for even more small business insights, be sure to visit our Resource Hub. You’ll find help for starting a small business in the UK and other useful information.