How to Start a Home-Based Tamale Business

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If you've been told you make the best tamales around and have thought about starting your own home based tamale business, now you can. In this article, we'll take a closer look at growing your idea into a money-making venture.

Tamales make for a popular and delicious choice when it comes to a home based business. The first step in starting a home based tamale business is to create your business plan. Don’t skip this step if you want to be taken seriously when you need a loan from a bank or even if you want to eventually sell your business. A business plan will help organize every aspect of your business and help you launch it according to what is best in your area. Consider taking a training course on how to start and launch a small home based business. Any training, education, certificates or diplomas can help assure knowledge and credibility in your field. Learning as much as you can, not only about running a small business, but also about the food industry in general, will help you stay on the competitive edge. It will also give you the proper foundation for establishing industry parameters, quality standards, and a guidance system for all aspects of your small business endeavor. Join trade associations and learn all there is to know about your particular interest. Find special classes and training in the art of making tamales. Even if you already know how to make tasty tamales, it won’t hurt to get additional training in special recipes, seasonings, and cultural/regional differences in tamale making. The more you know about the subject, the more qualified you’ll be in operating your home based tamale business.

Check into Food & Drugs Administration requirements for tamale and food preparation (see the link below in the Resources section). Learn about the regulations, safety rules, and labeling requirements. Carefully assess your options and find out about any exemptions related to small businesses. Apply for any licenses needed to run a food business and meet all requirements with strict determination. It’s best to be legitimate and do it right the first time than to have to revisit the issue after someone comes knocking on your door.

Next, research the best places to purchase the items and ingredients needed to not only make your tamales, but package and deliver them (see the link below in the Resources section to get started). Establish good relationships with vendors and negotiate prices when necessary. Buy in bulk and at discount prices. Never compromise on taste and quality or you will lose discerning customers.

Determine your quantities and your tasks. Because there are so many varieties of tamales, determine in advance how many types you plan to make and what sort of meat fillings you need to buy. Also, determine the type of facilities and storage you need. Take careful inventory of any remodeling your kitchen and home will need to accommodate your new endeavor. For example, you may need more kitchen counter space for assembling your tamales. You may also need a larger refrigerator for drying the dough, and special cooking units for finalizing your tamales. Determine what tasks will require the most time and efforts, i.e.: cooking and boiling the quantities of corn, processing the fresh corn into dough or masa, drying the corn in a refrigerator for 24 hours and grinding the corn once it's dry. You'll need a grinding machine for this. Next, you'll need another machine to mix the flour and other materials.

Determining the assembling process. If you are working alone, you need to realize the time involved in assembling the tamales from start to finish. In most restaurant settings, the assembly-line process may involve four to six people at a long table. After all the corn dough has been dried, you will begin to assemble the tamales. The masa or dough will need to be filled and the meat and sauce topping will need to be added. Then, you will need to package and store them until they are sold or delivered to your customers.

Finally, determine your market and let them know you have a new home based tamale business. Will you sell directly to the public? Since you’re operating a home based tamale business, it might be challenging to do this unless you cater to home parties, sell to friends and families, work associates or set up a tamale table in a parking lot or park. Be sure to get permission before doing this. Send out a mass email to friends, family and associates. You could also sell your tamales directly to restaurants, stores, specialty markets, and even online. If you plan to ship the tamales, be sure to know how to pack them so all the ingredients remain fresh. Consider packaging, shipping, and related costs.

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