Maybe the thought crossed your mind after the tenth compliment of your home-baked cupcakes, or that breyani you whipped up for a colleague’s birthday lunch: You spend so much time in the kitchen anyway, you could start up a home industry business of your own – making sweet and savoury delights, and getting paid for it. These days who doesn’t need an extra bit of income? Bonus points for earning it while doing what you enjoy.
Whether you just want to take the occasional order from your immediate social circle, start peddling your creations on the market circuit, or have grander aspirations of setting up a franchise or releasing a full-colour cookbook, an entrepreneurial mindset will help you match your dreams to reality.
Here are the biggest considerations when starting your own home baking or cooking business.
1. You need to plan
You may love to bake and cook, but a business can’t get by on passion alone. When turning your hobby into a professional enterprise, you need to create a business plan. A biggie here is working out pricing so that you never operate at a loss. Along with food supplies, remember to factor in things like electricity and water use.
Also include a marketing section in your business plan so that you have a strategy about how to make people aware of your business. It’s a good idea to sell at markets, fetes and other local events to build your reputation and lay the groundwork for relationships with cafés and home industry stores. And don’t forget the Internet – at the very least set up an Instagram account and Facebook page to profile your creations.
Related: Making Money From Your Baking Hobby
2. Differentiate yourself
Home baking and cooking is a very competitive business. There are lots of people doing it. So, how do you stand out from the crowd? By specialising – in terms of what you’re selling and who you’re selling to.
It’s a good idea to start with your “bestseller” product before expanding. Do people go gaga for your icing skills? Maybe you want to position yourself as an expert in fancy birthday cakes. Have you mastered gluten-free baking? You could market yourself as making health-conscious treats for people with special diets. At the same time, consider your ideal customer. Perhaps you’re only going to sell to corporates. Once you’ve decided on your target market, check out the competition to see what they’re doing.
3. Never compromise on quality products
Once you start baking and cooking professionally, the margin for error decreases drastically. If you have a big order and are working to a deadline, you can’t afford flops. Always use trusted brands with a reputation for reliability and quality – like Snowflake.
Profit margins are small with home industries but if you want to grow your business you can’t afford to cut corners with your materials. To get that all-important word of mouth from happy customers, everything that comes out of your kitchen must be consistently irresistible.
Related: How To Start A Bakery Guide
4. Recognise your capabilities
You must be organised if you’re turning your pastime into a profession, but you need to be prepared for its personal demands as well. Expect long hours and very early mornings in the kitchen, especially if you’re working around a day job. Also, if you need help for any aspect of running your business, get it. For example, if you’re struggling to find customers and sell your goodies, enlist the help of people – even if it’s just family and friends – who have a convincing sales manner.
5. Don’t forget the legal side
While starting out small is a given, soon your budding business will start to take off. In that case, you’ll need to register a SMME to make sure you’re compliant with legislation around food safety and business operations. At this point you should probably take a course in environmental health and get appropriate insurances. It may seem like a headache but it’s a great opportunity to extend your knowledge.
Starting a home baking or cooking business comes with a lot of benefits, like low start-up costs and the opportunity to show off your creativity. Another area of personal reward is that you’re making customers happy. Everyone loves home-baked and home-cooked goods, which come with a strong sense of nostalgia and quality – and people are always willing to pay for them.
Top Sectors For SMEs In 2019
“As such, SMEs in the construction, communications and electrical fields are all likely to benefit from supply and sub-contracting agreements over the coming years.”
While the South African economy has been underperforming for a number of years, the first positive signs of turnaround started to become visible by the second quarter of 2018, and by the end of the third quarter, data supplied by Statistics South Africa showed that the economy had indeed grown by 2.2 percent, compared to the previous quarter. This uptick is expected to have a positive effect on business confidence in 2019.
This is according to Jeremy Lang, regional general manager at Business Partners Limited (BUSINESS/PARTNERS), who says that certain business sectors have already seen an increase in opportunities for small businesses and start-ups.
“While these sectors will not be without challenges, the following four industries are likely to offer the best opportunities for small and medium enterprise (SME) owners to grow their enterprises in the coming year.”
The World Travel and Tourism report 2018, revealed that the direct contribution of the travel and tourism sector to South Africa’s GDP has been projected to rise from R136bn in 2016 to R197.9bn by 2028 – set to make up a total of 3.3 percent of the country’s total GDP, says Lang.
“Although this sector experienced some setbacks in 2018, such as the drought in the Western Cape and stricter visa regulations for children entering the country, both the water restrictions and visa regulations have been relaxed and the sector is once again poised for growth,” he says.
Statistics South Africa has credited this industry with being the biggest driver of growth in the country’s GDP, having expanded by 7.5 percent in September 2018, says Lang. “To bolster this, Government has made a concerted effort to stimulate small business growth in this area with initiatives such as the Black Industrialist Programme and the SA Automotive Masterplan.”
He adds that businesses in the manufacturing sphere could therefore likely see significant opportunities in the form of outsourcing contracts and new partnerships with large corporates.
“The debate around land expropriation has occupied most of the discussions surrounding the agricultural sector in 2018, with some questioning growth prospects of this sector. However, this industry has a lot of growth ahead of it, as demonstrated by its 6.5 percent growth over the last three months of 2018,” explains Lang.
“Further to this, the industry is also already taking significant advantage of seven climatic regions in South Africa, with the export of a wide variety of high quality fruit and vegetables increasing substantially,” he points out. The recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease that has resulted in the suspension of the country’s FMD-free status will however significantly impact meat exporters.
In terms of opportunities for SMEs, he says that these may most likely be found in the rural and underdeveloped regions, where the need for resources like efficient transport, state-of-the-art cold storage, better irrigation and private power generation will be key to making agriculture projects more productive and competitive in the export market.
Data and information technology
Connectivity and information technology infrastructure are both crucial to business and employment growth in South Africa, says Lang.
“With many municipalities and the Western Cape government committing to providing all of its residents with free data as part of a plan to expand public Wi-Fi network access, it is clear that this is also becoming a high priority on a state level.”
It has also been reported that South Africa is awaiting the arrival of three international data centres, and large players in the communications sphere, including Vodacom, Telkom and Vumatel, are making huge strides in drastically growing the country’s fibre optic backbone, he adds. “As such, SMEs in the construction, communications and electrical fields are all likely to benefit from supply and sub-contracting agreements over the coming years.”
In conclusion, Lang says that as South Africa’s economic growth has started to turn around, business owners should keep their ears to the ground as 2019 is highly likely to be a year of opportunity.
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Herman Mashaba to talk on City of Jo’burg job creation initiative at 2019 Business Day TV SME Summit.
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SME Insurance Checklist For New Year
Malesela Maupa, Head of Product and Insurer Relationships at FNB Insurance Brokers, advises SMEs to consider the following factors when reviewing their policies.
Business owners who are planning for the year ahead should not overlook the importance of reviewing their insurance policies to ensure they are adequately covered against insurable risks.
Malesela Maupa, Head of Product and Insurer Relationships at FNB Insurance Brokers says, every year businesses face unique challenges ranging from credit and market risks, technological disruptions, compliance, operational and regulatory risks, amongst others. As a matter of precaution, insurance policies should at least be reviewed or updated once a year.
He advises SMEs to consider the following factors when reviewing their policies:
- Employee movements – if there are any employees who have left or joined the company, ensure that your policy is updated accordingly.
This type of cover normally depends on the role and contribution of the employee to the business. For instance, directors may be covered for Key Person Insurance and Directors & Officers Liability insurance.
- Protest Actions – this year is the national election year and leading up to elections we can expect to see an increase in the frequency and severity of protest actions, riots and strikes. Thus, it is essential to ensure that adequate special risks cover is in place from the South African Special Risks Insurance Association (SASRIA).
SASRIA provides cover to both individuals and businesses against special risks like civil commotion, public disorder, strikes, riots and terrorism at affordable premiums.
- Cyber risks – it is essential to communicate with your insurer or broker and find out if there are any new risks that your business should be protected against. Cyber incidents continue to be a major risk for businesses especially in the SME sector. Over the last couple of years there has been a major increase in the number of reported cyber incidences.
More businesses are now facing increased cyber threats due to their increased dependency on technology, relating to their internal and customer data being compromised by fraudsters. It is therefore essential to have some form of cyber risk insurance cover and/or enhancement of data security protocols.
- Regulatory changes – every year there are a number of regulatory changes that impact businesses directly or indirectly, which may result in fines and penalties for non-compliance.
- Natural catastrophes – the increase in the frequency and severity of extreme weather conditions, coupled with intensifying natural catastrophes will continue to have a significant impact on businesses.
Businesses should ensure they are adequately protected against these risks to avoid incurring sever financial losses.
- Business changes – should a business consider moving to a new location, purchasing new premises or venture into new business activities, these types of changes could have a major impact on its risks profile. As a result, the policy needs to be updated accordingly.
- New and Enhanced products – An innovative culture has taken over the insurance industry and ever so often we see the introduction of new products or the enhancement of existing products. Get in touch with you broker to advise you on any new products that might add value to your existing insurance portfolio.
“Reviewing your policy regularly gives you peace of mind knowing that you can focus on running your business effectively, without worrying about unforeseen risks,” concludes Maupa.
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