My gourmet dog treat business wasn’t some well-crafted plan that took years of education and experience to accomplish. I just simply enjoyed baking treats for my dog at home and thought other people out there may enjoy my products as well. The dessert industry, for both humans and pets, has really taken off over the past few years. I simply came in at the right place and the right time. If you have a special talent that you enjoy, consider turning that skill into a profit. Some of the greatest and most profitable businesses in the world, such as Amazon and Google, where started right at home. I wanted to take the time to share my 3 tips that helped me to start my dog treat business.
Know the Laws of the Land
You may think since you are starting a business from home that this is going to be easier than starting a small business, but think again. Be aware that local, state, and federal laws apply to your home based business as well. Before even beginning to plan out your business, do your homework to see if this is a feasible option for you. In some states, for legal or public health and safety reasons, home based bakeries are prohibited. If home bakeries are allowed, you still will minimally be required to have a business license of some form. Know that you also could be subject to health inspections just like any other bakery. Also, I highly recommend that you invest in business liability insurance. Even if it isn’t required by law, having your business insured will protect you both professionally and personally if a client has a quarrel with your product or service offering. Lastly, look into any necessary permits that may be required for food industry companies.
Have the Right Equipment
My bakery was created and still runs out of my home in Austin, Texas. I have a four bedroom, two-story house which is more than enough living space for me and my family. Starting out, my kitchen was not up to the task of running a home bakery business. Most bakeries are run out of a retail shop or from a rented commercial kitchen space. I decided to work with what I had and made my kitchen meet my needs. I had to go through a lot of maintenance work orders. From dishwasher repairs to refrigerator repairs it seemed like I was spending all of my profits on appliance repairs in Austin. Know that your input costs to get your business started are going to be high. If you are starting a bakery business, know upfront that those appliances are going to be expensive. Budget the time and the money for problems that are most definitely going to arise.
Create a Great Product
A lot of people that decide to start a small business make the mistake of introducing their product or service to the general public far before the business is ready. You have the right the right balance between finding a product that is desired and how to make yours stand out from the crowd. I had what is referred to as a “soft opening” for my dog treats. I had a party at my home and handed out my treats to my closest family and friends who were also dog owners. This was how I conducted a small sample of the market I was hoping to capture. I asked them to fill out an anonymous survey that asked for their opinions and suggestions to improve my product. Anonymity was an important factor because this meant I was more luckily to get true and uncensored feedback that would was key to improving my business. Client feedback, product success, and profitability were always three concepts that I kept in the forefront of my mind with every business decision I made from ingredients to presentation.
Even if you aren’t looking to start a home bakery, I hope the advice shared with you today will help or inspire you to take the plunge and start your own business.