In today's tough business climate, many people have been forced into becoming career changers. Perhaps now is the time to open that candy store you've always dreamed of owning! The fact is, even in hard economic times, people are not willing to give up basic comfort foods; statistics show that chocolate and other candy sales are way up. But just having a vision in your head is never enough.
All new businesses require clear and concise strategies for success that will convince a lender that you are serious and that the institution should take a chance on you. You must take the time to sit down, preferably with an experienced business owner in a similar field, to chart out a course for yourself and your candy store.
Here is a skeletal business plan to help you on your way. You can use it as a guideline, then add or take away additional items as you see fit.
1. Where are you planning on putting your business? Location is everything: you'll want to select a site that is affordable, has steady traffic, and that is in a good position to attract repeat business.
2. Who is your target clientele? Is it families with small children? Is it senior citizens? Is it both? Will you be catering mainly to business clients who want to gift sweet gifts? You really need to have a firm grasp on who your customers will be.
3. Make a list of basic products you plan on selling: will you be carrying bulk items? How about homemade candy such as fudge or dipped chocolates? Do you want to carry greeting cards and small toys on the side too?
4. How much staff do you think you will need to carry out day to day operations?
5. What will your production costs be? How much will it cost you to buy or rent the kind of equipment and furnishings you will need to make your product if you plan on creating confections in-house?
6. You will want to provide your lender with a marketing strategy for getting the word out about your great new place and for attracting customers. Will you be maintaining a website? If so, will you also be using an internet marketing company to increase traffic?
7. How much basic capital do you predict you'll need in order to get off to a good start?
Once you get your business plan formulated and revised and your funding is assured, you'll need to obtain a food handler card, business permit, obtain the equipment, basic stock, and then you'll be on your way! Make sure to affiliate yourself with tried and true candy vendors and manufacturers who can assist in making your dream sweet indeed.
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