How to Start a Dessert Business

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You make great desserts. Your family looks forward to eating your desserts during the holidays. You've given them to friends, co-workers and neighbors—and they rave about your baking skills. As a result, you’ve probably wanted to start a dessert business for a while, but have been dragging your feet. Perhaps all you need are a few tips to help get you started.

Check with your city or county business licensing office to see what type of licensing/permits you would need to start a dessert baking business. See if you require any certifications from the health or sanitation department.

Prepare for a health inspection. Your local health department will check that your location is ready for service; that your equipment works properly; that there is proper ventilation for ovens; that all areas are adequately sanitized; that there is food awareness and proper hand washing and that you do not have a pest problem. According to the National Restaurant Association, you should also review your local health code for any special, local requirements.

Find out the type of equipment you would need for your dessert business, such as ovens, refrigerators, work sinks/tables, mixers, storage shelves, baking sheets and pans and how much they cost.

Look for wholesale and retail stores in the area that carry the baking ingredients you need at an affordable cost.

Decide on a name and catchy slogan for your dessert business. If no one else is using the business name, register it. According to Business.gov, you may use your full name as your business name if you are the sole owner. However, if your business name is different from your name, you may need to file a fictitious name with a government agency, depending on your state (see Resources).

Plan what desserts you will sell. If you have a secret recipe that everyone seems to like, include it in your menu.

Attend business and baking classes to get ideas on growing your business and study creative ways to make your desserts. Keep updated on food safety regulations through training programs in the area (see Resources).

Give out samples of your desserts when you can—at school functions, potluck dinners, local offices. Offer to make desserts for a child’s birthday party and leave business cards on the table for parents to pick up.

Place your dessert business online, so people can purchase them from your website or advertise it on a free ad page. Add shipping and handling costs to save money when you shipping your cookies. Again, include your business card and maybe offer a discount for repeat customers.

Sell your dessert at craft shows, special events and grocery stores. Check local stores and restaurants to see if they can use your services.

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