Starting a small (micro) business - advice?

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Lis
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Starting a small (micro) business - advice?

Postby Lis » Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:58 pm

Let me start off by saying I make really good fudge. I love making it. I love experimenting with new recipes and trying new flavors. I have a few standard flavors that I like to think I've perfected. My Christmas gifts this year were packages of fudge, and everyone said they really enjoyed them. A few co-workers even joked that they would buy some in the future, or that I should sell it in stores.

It got me thinking though, that perhaps selling it to some local coffee shops or farmers markets might be a decent way to make some side income. (I have a full time job, non-related, and I have no visions of grandeur that this side business will allow me to quit it.) The problem is, I have really no clue where to start. Do I search for potential customers first, or should I order the packaging for the products so I can show potential clients the full deal? Do I set the prices, or is that up to the various shops that will hopefully sell it? Technically I don't need to use a certified kitchen (in New York, fudge is except from needing a licensed kitchen), but what other licenses, if any, do I need?

I keep trying to search for answers, but each time I do I come up with about 5 new questions to consider. I know I have a decent product, I'm just a bit overwhelmed on how to start. If anyone could share their story on starting their own small side business or what resources they used to get started, that would be wonderful.

Drew
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Re: Starting a small (micro) business - advice?

Postby Drew » Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:32 pm

I am in the planning stages of starting a side business as well. First of all, make sure you report all of your income and pay taxes on it (quarterly). If you are making a decent amount at some point they are going to wonder where it is coming from. Also, you may want to look into insurance and potentially setting up as a LLC. You never know, someone could get sick from your fudge and sue you for an ungodly amount. Better to be safe than sorry.

I would come up with your final product before worrying about customers. You want to be able to show them the finished product. It is harder to sell someone on an intangible idea than on a nice, finished product that is right in front of them.

Jerry
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Re: Starting a small (micro) business - advice?

Postby Jerry » Tue Jan 07, 2014 12:00 am

A market survey will be a good idea for you to know how many people/coffee shops/farmers, etc. will be interested in buying those products. And as Drew has suggested, it will be better to go for a LLC in this case.
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mistlechild
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Re: Starting a small (micro) business - advice?

Postby mistlechild » Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:58 am

Drew is right in that you should perfect the recipe before you begin selling it. That's the most important step right there. If you have a sub-standard product, no one is going to buy it, right?

After that's taken care of (and It sounds like it won't take long to do that since you already have a great product to begin with), you can pitch it to local bakeries, cafes, grocery shops, farmer's markets, wherever you imagine selling it. The best way to do that is to go into each shop with a selection of your product for sampling. Ask to speak to the owner or manager in charge of orders and pitch it to them.

Friends of yours like it already? Advertise on your Facebook that you're taking orders.

What about packaging and all that? Fudge isn't hard to package. There's probably a ton of DIY tutorials on Pinterest to inspire packaging and you can get a quick logo designed for not a lot of money through websites like Fiverrr.com. Find a local print shop that makes stickers and there you go you have a logo to put on top of your packaging.

As for pricing, you can always be honest with the people you're pitching to. They know better than you how much they can sell fudge at. What kind of an overhead do you have? Is it expensive to make fudge? If you're only making pennies off of each piece maybe you're pricing them too low.

This is where I would start. The other things--websites, taxes, etc.--can come later. Hope this helps!
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