Archive for the ‘Start & Run a Home-Based Food Business’ Category

Accounting 101

Friday, January 22nd, 2016

For most of us, bookkeeping and accounting are the worst parts of owning a business. But it’s best not to ignore the business side or you could end up going out of business. Before you throw together a Facebook page or flyer for door to door delivery, spend time learning and planning.

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QUIZ: Do you

  • look at the financial aspects of your business?
  • have a basic understanding of your expenses and your income?
  • know what your products cost to make?
  • know how to price products?
  • make sure your customers pay you?

You don’t need to hire a bookkeeper or an accountant. But to run a profitable and sustainable business, you need to have a basic understanding of your finances.

Home-Based Baking at its Best! For help with these issues read Start & Run a Home-Based Food Business.

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Holiday Cookie Decorating and Business Workshop

Saturday, November 21st, 2015

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On November 8, SweetAmbs and Baking Fix held a holiday cookie decorating and business workshop for twelve students. The day was split into two parts. In the morning, Amber taught some of her favorite cookie decorating techniques to make beautiful holiday designs. In the afternoon, we learned about the Home-Based Baking Business: an introduction and overview of the necessary steps to running a profitable business.

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The holiday cookies!

Amber demonstrated each technique before students began practicing.

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Cookies were left to dry on sheet trays. A fan promotes faster drying.

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Amber's display table with many of her cookies.

The table was a wealth of ideas for new business owners.

Thank you cookies! A great new product idea.

Amber's demos continued all morning.

Notice how Amber holds the bag and positions her arm.

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    Every student received a box to take home cookies.

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    We took a break and ate lunch provided by SweetAmbs. In the afternoon we talked about the business end of running a successful baking/decorating business.

    Keep an eye on Amber’s website for more upcoming classes. If you’re unable to attend classes at Amber’s studio in New York’s Hudson Valley, you can purchase video tutorials here.

    Notebook!

    Amber has notebooks, calendars, jigsaw puzzles, and note cards available on Zazzle.

    And the latest news: Amber’s decorating cookbook will be published next fall.

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    Join SweetAmbs and Baking Fix

    Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

     

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    How To Start A Home-Based Baking Business And Cookie Decorating Workshop! The day will be split up into two parts. In the morning, Amber of SweetAmbs will teach you some of her favorite cookie decorating techniques to make beautiful holiday designs.

    In the afternoon, we’ll learn about the Home-Based Baking Business: Do you love to bake, decorate, and give away holiday cookies? Have you ever thought about selling your cookies? More than forty states have a cottage food law that permits individuals to run a home-based baking business. This class is an introduction and overview of the necessary steps to running a profitable business; students will leave class with a checklist for getting started. For anyone interested in learning about the business of home baking, this class is for you.

    The decorating portion of the class is suitable for beginners as well as those with some experience in cookie decorating. We will provide all materials as well as lunch and refreshments. You don’t need to bring anything with you to class.

    To register, visit SweetAmbs Classes

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    A Business Plan for the Coming New Year

    Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

    Happy New Year everyone! For anyone thinking about starting a home-based food business, start the new year off right. Take the time to plan for your business. It’s worth the time and effort.

    Plan for the coming year.

    The most important ingredient for a good business outcome, is to plan for it. Start with a simple business plan or create something with more detail. My book, Start & Run a Home-Based Food Business, has a sample plan.

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    There are also numerous sample templates available online. Your plan is a place to start, it does not have to be perfect. You’ll always be making changes and updating, but having a plan gives you a start to creating a viable, profitable business.  

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    Writing a unique business plan is an excellent way for you to formulate a personalized plan, one that can help you meet your needs.  Good luck in the coming year!

    Home-Based Baking at its Best! If writing a plan seems like too much work, then starting a business now may not be for you.

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    Starting a Home-Based Food Business?

    Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

    I periodically re-post this topic for new readers:

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    Across the U.S. more than forty states currently have a cottage food law that allows for legal operation of producing and selling food from your home kitchen.

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    But there’s way more to this venture than simply creating a Facebook page. And certainly more than just having fun in the kitchen.

    If you want to run a legal, profitable business, I have a few suggestions:

    1) Start baking or cooking and keep notes on everything you do. Look for uncomplicated, easy to make, great tasting recipes. Think about ease of production – you don’t want anything too fussy when you’re starting out. Think about shelf life – you want something to last at least a few days. And it’s best to avoid expensive ingredients when you’re new to the business side of food.

    2) You’ll need a business name and a name for each of your products. Begin making lists.

    3) Set up a bookkeeping system. Running a legal business includes keeping track of income and expenses and declaring your income to the IRS.

    4) Learn to price your products. There’s no point in just pricing based on what you think customers will pay, or what the supermarket charges. It’s important to know how much each product costs you so that you’re not subsidizing a business with your personal money.

    5) Write a business plan. If you want this venture to be profitable, it will help you understand the underlying issues involved in running a business.

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    Yes, I know it can seem overwhelming. For more help, read Start and Run a Home-Based Food Business . Read it through, but don’t let any of the business aspects scare you. When you’re ready, contact your local health agency, your state’s department of agriculture and markets, or use the links provided with my book. States and provinces have different licensing procedures, so be sure to follow the guidelines in your area.

    Home-Based Baking at its Best! Important tip: Before you start a business, get used to the reality of daily food production. You may love baking cookies and brownies, but it’s different when you have customers and orders to fill.

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    Starting a Home-Based Food Business?

    Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

    Across the U.S. more than forty states currently have a cottage food law that allows for the legal operation of producing and selling food from your home kitchen.

    But there’s way more to this venture than simply creating a Facebook page. And certainly more to it than just having fun in the kitchen.

    If you want to run a legal, profitable business, I have a few suggestions:

    1) Start baking or cooking and keep notes on everything you do. Look for uncomplicated, easy to make, great tasting recipes. Think about ease of production – you don’t want anything too fussy when you’re starting out. Think about shelf life – you want products to last at least a few days. And avoid expensive ingredients when you’re new to the business side of food.

    2) You’ll need a business name and a name for each of your products. Begin making lists.

    3) Set up a bookkeeping system. Running a legal business includes keeping track of income and expenses and declaring your income to the IRS.

    4) Learn to price your products. There’s no point in pricing based on what you think customers will pay or what the supermarket charges. You will only attract cheap customers if you price based on the cheap cake lady in your community. It’s important to know how much each product costs you so that you’re not subsidizing a business with personal money.

    5) Write a business plan. If you want this venture to be profitable, it will help you understand the underlying issues involved in running a business.

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    Yes, I know it can seem overwhelming. For more help, read Start and Run a Home-Based Food Business and Home Baking for Profit. Read them through, but don’t let any of the business aspects scare you. When you’re ready, contact your local health agency, your state’s department of agriculture and markets, or use the links provided with my book. States and provinces have different licensing procedures, so be sure to follow the guidelines in your area.

    Home-Based Baking at its Best!

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    Across the U.S. it’s County Fair Season

    Saturday, August 24th, 2013

    This past week the weather was New York perfect for the Dutchess County Fair!

    Dutchess County Fair

    County fairs are a place to enjoy strolling with friends and family, a place to enjoy food, games, rides, exhibits, and entertainment!

    Are you a fair-goer? Have you entered any contests? At most county fairs, it’s a place where home made baked goods shine and some entrants walk away with winning ribbons.

    Several years ago, Annie won a blue ribbon for hearth bread.

    Annie then took  my class, Start & Run a Home-Based Food Business, applied for a home processor permit under New York’s cottage food law, and started a business: blueribbonhearth. This week she was back at the fair doing a biscuit demonstration.

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    After assisting with her demo, I walked around looking at the culinary exhibits. More than 550 products had been entered.

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    After looking through the home made goods, I walked along the midway.

    Rides and games.

    Games and rides.

    As I neared the exit gate the only thing I could think about:

    Where did I park my car?

    Visibility and professionalism are important for home-based food businesses. Consider doing a demo at a farmers’ market, county fair, or anywhere that food is featured.

    Home-Based Baking at its Best!

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    Start & Run a Home-Based Food Business, 2nd Edition

    Monday, July 15th, 2013

    If you want to start a profitable artisan food business, this book will walk you through the necessary steps to achieve success.

    Start & Run a Home-Based Food Business 2nd Edition

    Start & Run a Home-Based Food Business, the first comprehensive book to help entrepreneurs turn their dreams into reality, was published in August 2009. After several printings a second edition was recently published. To read more about all the Baking Fix books, visit our Bookshelf.

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    Home Baking Skills for Profit or Pleasure

    Sunday, April 14th, 2013

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    Are you starting, or thinking about, a home kitchen business? Writing a simple business plan is the first step in launching a successful business. The second step is understanding basic issues such as efficient production methods, how to maximize your kitchen workspace, and the all-important food safety.

    Join us next Saturday, April 20, 9:30 am – 3:30 pm for my next class at the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY.

    Home Baking Skills for Profit or Pleasure
    Gain the confidence of an industry professional! In this class, we’re moving out of the kitchen and into the classroom for a comprehensive discussion of commercial baking techniques. In just a few hours, you will find out how to turn your kitchen into a well-run production area, utilizing shortcuts and tricks for recipe and product development, quantity production (including scaling up recipes and using the assembly line method), shelf-life testing, packaging, storage, food safety, and more. You’ll learn everything you didn’t know to ask about equipment and appliances, and how oven heat affects baked goods. And you will discover the art of maximizing baked goods for visual and sales appeal and discuss how to adapt traditional recipes for healthier baking with whole grains. Whether you’re baking for profit or simply want to learn tips and tricks from a professional, this class is for you.

    As a participant in this class, you will enjoy lunch and receive a copy of Home Baking for Profit to take home.

    About the Instructor
    Mimi Shotland Fix, author of Start & Run a Home-Based Food Business and Home Baking for Profit, began a licensed home kitchen business in 1979. She has since owned and operated several successful retail bakeries, worked as head baker and pastry chef for multiple restaurants, was featured in Cooking Light magazine, developed products for corporate food companies, and tested ovens for a major appliance company. Later, she returned to school for an MA in writing and food studies. Ms. Fix owns a culinary consulting firm and teaches business and hands-on baking classes in several local colleges. Her website, BakingFix.com, provides continued support for small food businesses.

    To register for next Saturday’s class.

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