If you’ve always dreamed of starting your own food business but lack the storefront, selling food online may just be the perfect solution. You’ll get to do what you love while setting your own hours and saving money on labor and overhead—what’s not to like?
Of course, starting an online food business isn’t as easy as just popping some baked goods out of the oven and placing an ad online. Here are a few things you’ll need to do if you want to get your business off the ground.
Decide what you want to sell—and where you’re going to store it. First things first, you’ve got to choose a product. If you have wide-ranging culinary skills, it will probably be best to narrow your focus to one particular food or food category, like pastries or jams. While choosing your product, you should also consider whether you have the space necessary to make and store it. Do you have a big enough freezer for storing large orders of perishable items? Or enough pantry space for your dried goods?
Get the proper permits. You can’t ship food out of your house without a permit, so before you start your food business, pay a visit to your regional Department of Health and register as a food supplier. Carefully read over the requirements and standards for running an online food business—you don’t want to get shut down because you weren’t in compliance.
Purchase packaging. Depending on your product, you may need wrappers, bags, jars, boxes, or even large gift baskets. Shop online for wholesale packaging products; you’ll always get a better deal when you buy your packaging in bulk.
Price your products. When setting a price for your products, you need to take into account the cost of your ingredients, packaging, shipping, and the time you spent making your food. Adjust your price so that you’ll actually make a profit, but don’t set it so high that you’ll scare away potential customers—you’re not likely to find anyone too interested in buying one homemade cookie for $15.
Take mouth-watering photographs. When you don’t have a physical storefront, customers can’t smell or sample your products, so you’ll be relying almost entirely on appearance to market your food. Put some time into your photographs, because they could mean the difference between a sale or a pass. If you’ve never photographed food before, check out these tips.
Once you’ve followed the above steps, all you have to do is choose a platform for selling food online. Sheepbuy lets you sell as many products as you want at one low monthly membership fee, so it’s a great option for beginning food entrepreneurs.