At some point in life, many foodie people may think about starting their own online food business from home. Congratulations! Starting an online food business from home or with limited resources takes determination and courage, and you should be proud. You can start your own online food business from home easily. We will show you how.
Now it’s crucial that you learn all you can about the food industry and how to run a business from home. This aspect is especially critical for home food businesses, as you will need to make sure you adhere to food safety standards, as well as develop a good business plan.
Let’s take a look at everything you need to start your online food business from home.
A step-by-step guide to starting your online food business from home
Starting your business without leaving home can be fun and lucrative, but it can also be challenging. Follow the steps that we propose in this guide to make the process easier for you.
1. Choose a market niche
To guarantee the success of your company, you must find a particular market niche within the food industry. Keep in mind that this industry is quite broad and encompasses a variety of specialties.
What will yours be? Are you going to start a catering business? Are sweets your specialty? Maybe vegetarian or vegan food?
By choosing a specific niche, you can differentiate yourself from other home-based food businesses and increase your chances of success.
2. Do research on your niche market and the competition
Once you’ve decided on your niche (a combination of what you like to do and what your customers will like), it’s time to do some in-depth research on your market to complete your dream of online food business from home.
Keep in mind that the food industry is extremely competitive. You must know what other companies will be your main competition, and be able to recognize if, unfortunately, the market is already oversaturated with other companies like the one you plan to open.
For this step, you must first focus on your local market. Don’t worry about the domestic market yet. Even if your products have the potential to be the best in their specialty, you are not likely to compete with national brands from the start.
You can do your local market research by attending local events sponsored by organizations like SCORE, the Small Business Administration (SBA), and your local Chamber of Commerce. Meet business people in your area, other people in your industry, receive all the information they can give you, and ask them what the keys to their success have been.
3. Prepare a business plan
Once you have done this research, you are ready to create a business plan. As your business is home-based, it is not necessary that your business plan be extremely formal, but it must be clearly written so that you can consult it at any time and make the necessary adjustments.
Read this: List of Things Needed to Start a Business
However, a business plan is not just a guide for you to use. You will also use it to present your business to the necessary institutions when you want to apply for a loan or lines of credit, so it is a key tool to guarantee your success.
Your business plan will include elements such as the name of your business, a description of your activities, your plans for the future, and how you plan to fulfill them. It will also include your market research and where the capital you are using for your business is coming from.
Take a look here to learn how to create a business plan for a food truck. It’s true that you’re not at that point yet, but your home-based business plan won’t actually be much different. Plus, with this information in your hands, you’ll be ready to take your business to the next level when the time is right.
You can also get free help creating your business plan by consulting with the SBA or SCORE.
4. Register your business
You must register your business, however small and simple it may be. Registering a business is simply about informing local governments about your business name and where it is located. It is often done to prevent multiple companies from having the same name in the same state and is sometimes required for tax purposes as well. Registering your business is the same as requesting a DBA, a procedure that allows your clients and the authorities to know the name of your business. Here you can find everything you need to register your online food business from home.
5. Obtain the proper licenses and permits
Food businesses require multiple business licenses and permits to operate, even if your business is located in your own home. Health authorities want to make sure that the food you prepare is not only safe to eat, but also includes the ingredients that you mention on the label.
You should make sure to comply with local regulations when it comes to labeling. Not only will you need to label your packages with the product name, your company name, and contact information, but also the ingredient list and calorie information, if necessary.
Keep in mind that improper labeling or preparing food in unsanitary conditions can lead to a number of serious problems, such as causing consumers to become ill with consumption.
On the other hand, the specific licenses and permits you need will largely depend on your location. First, you need to make sure local zoning laws allow you to run a food business from home. If so, you will need to ensure that you can meet all of the food safety requirements established by your state.
Generally speaking, you will need a kitchen to start an online food business completely separate from the kitchen you use for personal purposes. This means having not only separate appliances but also separate utensils.
To find out exactly what you need to comply with the law, check with the appropriate state and local agencies.
6. Buy the necessary equipment and utensils
Once you know the requirements mentioned above about how your kitchen should be, you can buy the necessary equipment to cook from home. We repeat that this may involve setting up a completely new kitchen and in a separate location.
In addition to the basic equipment, you will also need to find the best suppliers for the ingredients you use. To buy your basic ingredients, you can open an account at a local bulk supplier or restaurant supplier. You can also find a supplier that specializes in specific items that are harder to find from bulk suppliers but are relevant to your business.
7. Do proper marketing
Once you have completed steps one through six, you are ready to begin preparing and selling your food. Hurrah! It has been a long journey, but hopefully, it was worth it. But before you start cooking and packaging your product, you need to make sure you have a solid plan to promote it.
The marketing strategies that you plan to implement should be included in your business plan (Step 3). Therefore, be sure to refer back to your business plan to guide you at this time.
If you are new to this field, we invite you to learn the basics of marketing here: you will soon realize that it is a key factor in the success of any business, regardless of its size.
That’s how you can start your online food business from home in 2020 easily.