High-quality salsas have become a popular specialty grocery item. If you're looking to start a business making and selling salsa, then you'll need to make sure you've considered every aspect of the salsa business as well as your legal obligations. There's more to the salsa business than meets the eye. Start planning for your success today.
Fine-tune your salsa recipe in large quantities. Some ingredients in a recipe, like hot peppers or garlic, don't double when the recipe doubles. Practice making larger batches of your salsa, and share them with friends and family.
Secure the use of a health-department-inspected kitchen for preparation of your salsa. You may be able to use a restaurant on its off-day or before business hours. Some larger churches also have approved kitchens. Finding a kitchen may take time, so start asking around fairly soon.
Write a business plan for your salsa business. A business plan is a complete documentation of the company's goals and objectives, with measurable guideposts for progress. It's important if you plan to get a business loan or ask someone to invest.
Learn about your state's requirements for distributing food commercially. You may be required to take a food safety course or pass a test of sanitation and hygiene.
Consult with an accountant and an attorney to file your business licenses, and select an entity. It's generally not advisable to run a salsa business, or any food business, as a sole proprietor. They will likely advise you to work as a corporation or in another form that limits your personal liability. Each state has different filing and reporting requirements, so it's important to get a personalized and professional recommendation for your circumstances.
Consult with an insurance agent about business insurance. Farmers insurance, Progressive Financial and State Farm are the top three small business insurers in the nation. Get several quotes before you choose one to be sure you're getting the best rate.
Work with a graphic designer or create your own label. Nationwide printers can sometimes provide lower prices than local printers. Be sure your labels meet nutritional disclosure requirements and are moisture resistant.
Consider getting a booth at your local farmer's market, setting up a website or publishing a cookbook of recipes that use your salsa, to spread the word. Invite each customer to sign up for a free email list so you can contact them for custom salsa gift baskets over the holidays.
See if you can have your salsa distributed through a local restaurant or gourmet grocer. If you can get into the grocer, visit on a Saturday and give out free samples, and hear customer feedback.