How to Start a Chocolate Shop

Chocolate, an enduringly popular product, remains something in which many people indulge—and sometimes overindulge. As such, it provides multiple business opportunities if approached in the right way. You can sell homemade chocolate treats or open a retail store to showcase other chocolate company’s products if you want to build a career around this popular indulgence.

  • Create a business plan. List your shop’s goals and ideas. Calculate your budget regarding your time, effort and investment to ensure the shop will run successfully. Determine the shop’s name, location and financing needs to start the business.

  • If you do not have enough capital to start the business, present the business plan to private investors or your local government’s loan program to get a business loan. Ensure you provide the entity with a detailed and precise business plan. Investors want to invest in a product that will sell and shows you are capable of running the business.
  • Obtain the required licenses and permits. If you’re planning to start a business in California, you will also need to get California surety bonds. Secure all licenses, documents and inspections required for starting a chocolate shop. If you plan to sell homemade chocolate treats, you will have to comply with regulation regarding the interests of consumer safety. Ensure you follow all established rules and regulations when handling food. Consider hiring a legal professional lawyer similar to Robert K. Bratt to help you establish the legal aspects of the shop.
  • Determine your target audience, as this will help you decide your business marketing strategy. If you plan to sell high-end chocolate treats, ensure you have the finest quality of ingredients and can reach out to the kinds of people who will have the most interest in buying such products.
  • Select a location for your shop. You want to have a commercial spot with high foot traffic. Research your competition around the area and create a marketing plan that ensures people will prefer yours over others. Renovate the area to provide proper storage and handling of the chocolate. You may even order some pallets from shops that buy and sell used wooden pallets for the storage of your products. Set forth a friendly and welcoming tone inside the shop so customers will want to return.
  • Find a distributor and supplier of chocolate. If you decide to sell homemade chocolate treats, ensure you have all the necessary ingredients and equipment. Select a supplier that can provide you with high-quality items at an appropriate price. Ensure these suppliers can deliver on time and avoid delays. Seek suppliers that can provide you with the right packaging for your products as well. Further, you should ensure you use signature packaging to identify your shop.
  • Hire the right staff. Make sure your employees have enough knowledge to run a business smoothly. Get your staff involved when making the products. Expect customers to ask about your items, and thus make sure your staff can provide the right answers.
  • Promote the shop. Create promotional materials for advertising. Place your contact information and the services your shop offers on all marketing materials. Consider hosting an open house and offering free samples of your products. Run ads in local newspaper and magazines to promote the business.

Filed Under: General How To's


About the Author: Marie Mayle is a contributor to the MegaHowTo team, writer, and entrepreneur based in California USA. She holds a degree in Business Administration. She loves to write about business and finance issues and how to tackle them.

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