Do you love chocolates and enjoy making them too? Channelize your passion for chocolates and your skill in chocolate making for others. Start a homemade chocolate business and see a vast array of opportunities open up in front of you. Starting up a Chocolate Business is as interesting and challenging as it sounds.
There are a lot of aspects that you need to take care of, to be able to run a homemade chocolate business successfully and also scale it up in time.
Things to do Before You Set Up Your Home-Made Chocolate Business:
There are a few things that you need to do before you set up your business. They are as follows:
Do Your Research
To be a leader in any business you need to understand the business opportunities very well. For this business too, you need to do your research well. To begin with, you can check out a particular neighbourhood where you plan to set up your store and see what the demands of the locals are.
You need to keep a close understanding of the other sweet and chocolate store that is available nearby. These are your primary competitors.
For competitor analysis, you need to be judicious and unbiased. Go out to see what these competitors are offering, how their products are selling, what is the quality of their products, and the like. Taste them, talk to the owners, and observe them. Only when you can gauge the strengths of your competitors can you make the best out of your opportunity.
Decide Your Niche
As simple as it may sound, in chocolate business you cannot make and sell just everything. You need to specialise in a particular niche, that is, a particular kind of homemade chocolate or maybe a couple of types to begin with. As your business grows further you can keep adding new products to your list.
Specialising in a few kinds of chocolates makes it easier for you to focus on your client’s demands with quality and also helps you to be the best of what you offer to them.
Perfection in Your Recipe
Improvising cooking techniques and recipes might not be a good idea when you are in a homemade business. Try to figure out a recipe and then practice it over and over again so that you achieve perfection in it. Make use of the trial and error method to see which recipe suits best and can be done easily for the business.
Once you have achieved perfection in the chocolate recipe, it is time for you to put your mind to other service logistical aspects of setting up your chocolate business. The price-setting of each variant of the homemade chocolate will depend on the kind of ingredients and the quantity of it you are using and the quality of the ingredients too.
Decide on the Kind of Business You Plan to Setup
Before jumping into the opportunity, you need to understand what kind of business you are looking ahead at. You can start your business in two forms. They are:
- Home-based: In this method, you have the whole setup at your home. For this, you would not require any additional space for your business and you can take up the delivery of online orders or maybe promote your business by the traditional ‘word-of-mouth’ method. The risk for this kind of business is comparatively less as there is no additional investment cost associated. You only need to spend on the raw materials and equipment.
- Open a Shop: In this process, you can rent out a place where you can prepare the chocolates and serve them to your customers. It could be a small place with a counter for service. The plus point of this is that you can cater to more number of customers by this model.
Steps for Starting a Homemade Chocolate Business
Step 1. Choosing a Location
Location is a very important aspect of any business. If you are unable to choose the right location for your business your hard work behind the marketing and branding needs to be extensive to get the same amount of customers to your shop.
You need to ensure that your shop is located in an acceptable place. If you are starting your chocolate business from a shop ensure that the legal papers of the place you rent out for it are correct and there is no dispute with the property.
See that the locality is acceptable and that the demand for homemade chocolate in the locality is enough. Also be observant for the other sweet or chocolate shops nearby, they are your closest competitors.
Step 2. Get the Licenses Done
Most of the states in the US have curtails laws and regulations on setting up any kind of business. Be vigilant about it and ensure that all the paperwork is complete for your business to be lawfully registered in the country. This will make sure that you do not face any legal issues from anyone at any point in your business.
Read more: Legal form of business entities in the USA
Step 3. Find the Appropriate Equipment
The main cost of a homemade chocolate business is related to the many types of equipment that are used in the making of chocolates. Some of the basic equipment and their uses are as follows:
- Hand blending tool: For blending of the chocolate in liquid form. This is important equipment as too much blending or too less of it decides the texture of the chocolate to a large extent.
- Melting and Panning: Melting the chocolate right and panning it for cooling the right container is necessary.
- Moulds: Mould of different shapes is very important to get the chocolates a shape presentable enough to be sold to the customers.
- Refrigerator: Cooling the chocolate molds to give it the shape is necessary. Refrigerator with the best-suited temperature control needs to be used.
- Thermometer: The temperature of the chocolate needs to be maintained for proper chocolate consistency.
- Grinder: A grinder can be used for grinding of the beans and other coarse ingredients which are used for making the chocolate.
While purchasing the equipment check each one for its use and ensure that they are good and made of durable material. This will ensure that you do not invest a hefty amount every couple of months for the same equipment.
Step 4. Think About Investments
Ideally, the thought about the investment should be done before you set up the business, however, you can decide the investment you want to add to your business. The investment need not be too high but it will vary depending on the kind of specifications you set up for the business.
The equipment might cost you a lot but ensure to curtail down other expenses keeping the quality of the end product intact. This will help you decide to bring down your overall expenses and in turn, increase your profits.
If you are not very confident about your investment plans, you could talk to someone who has experience in the field or even approaches investors for that matter.
Step 5. Get the Raw Materials
You would need raw materials daily, some will have less shelf life while others will have more. Make your shopping list very cautiously so that you do not miss out on anything. You would not want to buy anything and keep it for long so much so that it gets spoilt before it is in use. To make quality chocolates you would need quality products.
Go into the markets, talk to people, and find out the best rates and the best quality products. Select a couple of reliable vendors and stick to them for consistent quality for a prolonged period. Food colours and flavours are a place where you can be cheated easily; make sure that you procure them from a reliable source and not just any random one.
Step 6. How Would You Want to Sell?
Once all the setup for your business is ready, you can decide on how you want to sell it. Part of it gets decided when you decide if you want to execute your business from your home or a rented shop location.
But the bigger question is, do you want to sell in small quantities to individuals or wholesalers or retailers. Each one of these selling processes will have their protocols and you would have to decide on the go as to how you want to move ahead in your business.
Selling to wholesalers, retailers, and individuals would require a different approach, different benefits, and challenges. Try to understand them and move ahead accordingly.
Step 7: Packaging
Packaging a product, especially something like chocolate which is known to be associated with several emotions and occasions, is very essential. While packaging your homemade chocolates you need to keep in mind the aesthetic as well as the practical side of it.
You need to ensure that the chocolates do not melt off easily in the packaging you prepare. Furthermore, even if it melts it should not cause inconvenience to the customer.
Step 8. Branding and Marketing
Marketing for your homemade chocolate and branding it right is important. The traditional method of marketing by word-of-mouth is a thing of the past now. It works, but there are better ways of marketing too. For branding, you can take up the following steps.
- Offer free samples in locations such as supermarkets, parties, malls, and other such places.
- Use social media such as Facebook and Instagram to promote your products
- Go to events and sell your homemade chocolates there.
Steps For Making Chocolates at Home
The steps involved in the chocolate making are as follows:
- Cleaning the cocoa beans
- Roasting them
- Removing the shell once the beans are roasted
- Grounding of beans
- Separating the cocoa butter
- Blending the other special ingredients
- Cool and reheat
Benefits of Homemade Chocolate Business
There are several benefits of this business and the reason why it is a viable business opportunity to invest in. The benefits are as follows:
- You do not require a large space. Renting a space might not even be necessary.
- The end products are always in demand.
- Large investments are not necessary.
- It does not demand a huge workforce.
Watch out for:
- If your product quality is not up to the mark your customers might choose your competitors over you.
- Your pricing should be suitable for customers.
All this set and done, a homemade chocolate making business can be very profitable if you plan it right. You can start with the simplest ingredients from your kitchen and scale up your business to become a leading player. The whole process might not take very long for you if you can produce variety and quality.
If you choose the right options you might be able to generate large revenues in no time and many investors might be willing to take part in your business. Enjoy the chocolates your make and sell them too to make profits.