Starting to sell cookies can be a fun and rewarding way to turn your baking hobby into a full-time career. It can also be a lucrative business venture, provided you take the time to do your research and plan accordingly.
Here are the 10 steps you can take to get started on building your very own business.
10 Steps to Launching a New Cookie Business
1. Choose Your Type of Business
The first step in launching a cookie company is to identify the type of business you want to launch. You might choose from the following types among others:
Home-based or homemade cookie business: This is the most common type of cookie company. Home-based businesses are typically small businesses that operate out of the owner’s home.
Storefront business: A storefront business is a brick-and-mortar location where customers enter to purchase cookies.
Online business: An online business is one that sells cookies exclusively online. This type of business may or may not have a physical storefront, as well.
2. Name Your Business
Give your business an identity so people will think of it as a well-known and respected brand. You can take the name of your company from your industry, focus on a geographical location, or use your own name among other options.
The main goal for naming your business is to make it sound appealing and trustworthy so customers will want to buy from you.
3. Determine Your Business Model
There are several possible types of business models including:
- Mom-and-pop business: A mom-and-pop business is a small, family-run business. This type of business is often run out of the owner’s home and may only have a few employees.
- Franchise: A franchise is a type of business that is owned and operated by a private entity, such as an individual or family, but that follows the rules and regulations of a larger company.
- Small business: A small business is an independently owned and operated business that has a relatively small number of employees.
No matter which model you choose, make sure that the business entity aligns with your business goals and the products you offer.
4. Choose a Legal Form for Your Business
By incorporating your business, you will limit your liability. You can incorporate as a Limited Liability Company (LLC), a C Corporation (C-Corp), or an S Corporation (S-Corp). Or you can operate as a sole proprietorship.
The business structure you choose for your business will determine the amount of business and sales tax you pay and which state or federal tax forms you need to file.
Read our article comparing the most common cookie business structures.
5. Write a Business Plan
All business owners should develop a business plan.
A business plan is a document that outlines the goals, strategies, and operations of a business. It can be used to secure funding from investors or lenders, as well as to guide the day-to-day operations of the business. The plan should include information on the company’s products or services, market analysis, financial projections, and management team among other things.
Read our article about how to write a cookie business plan.
6. Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses
There may be required licenses and permits you need to obtain before launching your own business, this is an incredibly important part of your small business administration.
For example, if you are planning to sell your cookies online, you will likely need to obtain a food handler’s license and permit from the state in which you operate. If you are selling your cookies out of a physical location, you will also need to obtain a kitchen safety certificate and a business license from your city or county.
You must also register your business as a legal entity with the state where you plan to do business. You can simply file an online form through your Secretary of State website.
Registering with the federal government is also essential so you can properly pay taxes for your business. You will also need an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which you can apply for at the IRS website, if you plan to hire employees.
7. Determine Your Budget & Apply for Funding as Needed
In developing your business plan, you will figure out how much funding you need to start and grow your business.
If you have your own funds or personal assets to invest in your business, you may consider taking advantage of that. In addition to your personal funds, other forms of potential funding for your business include traditional bank loans, SBA loans, credit cards, angel investors and family and friends.
8. Get the Technology & Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently
When you start your business, it’s essential to have the right technology in place to maximize efficiency. You definitely need a computer with Internet access, and accounting software for tracking expenses and revenues.
You may also want to invest in additional software to automate various parts of your business, such as social media marketing or inventory management.
In addition to technology, you should also have the proper supplies on hand to bake and package your cookies. If you plan to sell your cookies online, you will also need a good quality camera to take photos of your products.
9. Market Your Cookie Business to Potential Customers
Before you start selling your products, you have to let the world know you exist. The first step is to create your own website so people can learn more about your cookies and how they benefit them.
After you launch your website, start promoting it through social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Also consider networking with other people in the dessert or snack industry through social media and blogs so they can help share your business.
You also need to start gathering the materials needed to execute on your promotions strategy, which is your strategy for attracting new customers. Cookie businesses should consider the following promotional strategies for which you should start getting prepared:
- Creating a strong social media presence
- Creating informative blog content
- Developing partnerships with other businesses
- Utilizing search engine optimization (SEO) techniques
It is also important to outline what sets you apart from other cookie businesses in the cottage food industry. Do you offer the best chocolate chip cookies? Are your gluten free cookies just as delicious as other cookies? Understanding what sets your business apart from others will help you better establish your marketing message.
Read our article about how to market your cookie business for more tips.
10. Get New Customers & Grow Your Business
When you promote your cookies, you’ll start to get interest from potential customers.
Make sure you’re ready to serve these customers. Also, be sure to establish systems to ensure consistency and reduce costs. And be sure to find and train the right people to help you grow your baking business.
Read our article about how to effectively grow your cookie business to learn more.
Starting a Cookie Business FAQs
A Cookie business offers a lot of potential for entrepreneurs. Cookies are a popular food item that people enjoy eating as a snack or dessert. They are also relatively easy to make and don’t typically require expensive ingredients.
What’s more, cookies can be packaged and sold in a variety of ways, which gives entrepreneurs flexibility in how you operate your business. For example, cookies can be sold online, at a farmers market or through a brick-and-mortar store.
To start a successful cookie business, you need to have a strong understanding of the cookie baking industry, the market for your products and the competition. You also need to have a well-developed business plan, the right technology and software in place, and effective marketing and promotional strategies.
In addition, it’s important to have the proper supplies on hand to bake and package your cookies. If you plan to sell your cookies online, you will also need a good quality camera to take photos of your products.
You can start a cookie business from home by following the steps outlined in this article. First, research the market and develop a business plan. Next, you need to get the right technology and software in place. Then, you should market your business to potential customers. Finally, you need to get new customers and grow your business.
To start a cookie business online, build an eCommerce website. You can use a platform like Shopify to create and launch your website. Then, start promoting your website through social media channels and other online marketing techniques. Finally, start taking orders and shipping your products to customers.
Here are a few tips for starting a cookie business:
Research the market. Understand the cookie industry, the market for your products and the competition.
Develop a strong business plan. This will help you map out the steps you need to take to start and grow your business.
Get the right technology and software in place. This will help you run your business efficiently.
Have effective marketing and promotional strategies. You need to promote your business to potential customers.
Get new customers and grow your business. Find ways to attract new customers and grow your business.
A simple checklist to use when starting a cookie business is as follows:
- Choose Your Type of Cookie Firm: This should be based on what you are best at and how much experience you have. Remember to keep your interests, skills, and experience in mind at all times.
- Name Your Cookie Business: This should be done with care, as your brand is important for attracting the right customers. A simple, memorable name will go a long way.
- Choose a Legal Form for Your Business: Whether you choose to become a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation or another option will depend on your business. Ensure that you are aware of all the implications of each type.
- Determine Your Cookie Business Model: Determine how your business will make money. Will you sell products, services, or a combination of both?
- Write a Cookie Business Plan: Your business plan will also help you determine what your start-up costs will be and will provide a roadmap with which you can launch and grow.
- Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses: In most locations you will be required to apply for a business license and/or permits before you can begin operations.
- Determine Your Budget & Apply for Funding as Needed: You will need to know how much money you have to spend on all of your business-related expenses before opening any doors. If needed, apply for a small business loan or other funding options.
- Get the Technology & Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently: You need to have the right tools in place to succeed. Implement software that will help you manage your time, contacts, and business operations in general.
- Market Your Cookie Business to Potential Customers: A solid marketing plan will be crucial to your success. It should focus on attracting the right customers so that you can provide them with the products they truly need.
- Get Customers & Grow Your Business: Once you have a solid marketing plan, it's time to actively pursue and secure those who could benefit the most from your cookies.
Starting a cookie business can be a great way to earn an income and have fun while doing it. However, there are some steps that need to be taken in order to start a business successfully and legally. Make sure you research the market, develop a strong business plan, get the technology and software needed to run your business efficiently, market your business to potential customers, and actively pursue and secure customers. With careful planning and execution, you can start and grow a successful business.