Every mid year, I spend time redefining the business's top 3 visions for the following year. In 2018, the focus targets were Collaboration, Creativity and Courage. This year 2019, the emphasis in on Focus, Growth and Empower.
I've had many queries from friends about this topic and part of my vision is to empower women into starting their own business, any business, and hence below are some information that I hope will be beneficial. For someone who hasn't setup any business before, the thought of it can be daunting but in reality, it's doable. Below is the summary of steps about setting up a small food business from home in England.
1. Prepare a business plan. High level business plan should consists an introduction, business aim and mission, product's unique selling point, market research, marketing and sales, production and execution, process, cost, best practices, legal and operational and financial cash flow. You may also consider attending a business course. However, it is not compulsory as many successful small business owners I know did not attend any courses. A lot of learning actually come from working experience along the way.
2. Branding. Sounds simple but don't underestimate this task as it took me at least 6 months to decide on the name GoRendang (I started thinking of the name even before I started documenting the business plan). Check that the name has not been taken by any other businesses and once you have a decision, purchase a domain. You do not need to create a website immediately but a domain is useful to secure your branding in the digital realm.
3. Get a food hygiene certification. This can be done online at your own convenience with a reasonable cost.
4. Contact your local council. Explain to them about your business and they will arrange an appointment with you to inspect your kitchen. Prior to that, ensure that your kitchen meets the hygiene standard. They will then issue you a hygiene rating certification. You would ideally be aiming at rating 5 (excellent).
5. Inform HMRC. If you are going to be self-employed or setting up a partnership, it is your duty to inform HMRC so that they can update your tax position.
6. Purchase a catering insurance. This is important as you will be selling products to the public.
7. Create an online presence. In this era, everyone searches for products and services online and hence, an online presence has a higher success rate of customer acquisition compared to the conventional leaflet drops and distribution. Create a FB page as this is the simplest and most effective marketing technique at zero cost.
8. Be bold and kick off! Don't be afraid of mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes and I made so many but it is through the adversities that I've learned what worked and what didn't. The challenges motivated me to devise improvements and to focus on the business mission and strengths because no one can do everything, so prioritization in business is prudent.
The 7 main steps above took me around 4 months end-to-end to launch my business. Those are the basic steps to start off and can be improvised along the way. I aimed for practicality, not perfection. I started off with just a FB page and 1 customer. The rest of the marketing strategies like newsletters and website only took place 6-18 months later.
Hope the information are somewhat helpful. Happy to answer questions if there are any. All the best!