Luscious chocolate brownies topped with fudge frosting and laced with raspberry jam may be the basis of a business selling brownies. Perhaps your forte includes triple chocolate brownies or frosted brownies that spell out a message. In any case, these brownies can increase your bank account. If you have a head for business and a nose for chocolate, this is the business for you.
Obtain a business license. Even if the business is in your home you will need a state license. Check with your city of residence for any necessary city licenses. Some places only require a license if that's where the business is located, others require a license if you plan on selling the brownies to customers in their city, even if the place of business is elsewhere.
Contact the county to set up an inspection of your kitchen. You will also need a food handler's license or certificate. If you plan on having assistants help bake, frost or pack the brownies, they must have a certificate as well.
Check your homeowner's policy and contact your insurance agent. Since you're providing a food product you may have to have additional coverage for potential lawsuits. Using your vehicle to deliver the brownies may increase the premiums as well, since now you’re using it for business.
Differentiate your brownies from the others currently available. Perhaps you'll offer a gluten-free or low-fat brownie. Unusual flavors such as a chipolte brownie or caramel salt-topped brownie are other examples. Price the brownies so they bring you a profit but are within an acceptable range for your customers. Check on your competition to see what they're charging.
Determine your market niche. Nearly everybody loves brownies but not everybody is going to buy your brownies. Check with gourmet food stores and shops that sell gourmet cookware to see if they'll buy the brownies wholesale from you for their customers. Craft shows are another market, so are farmer's markets. You may decide that you'll mail your brownies as a gift for birthday's, college students or anniversaries. Contact wedding planners if there are a lot of weddings in your area. The brownies frosted with the wedding couple's initials and festively wrapped make yummy wedding favors.
Find vendors. In the beginning you can probably get your ingredients at the local grocery store; a time will come, however, when you may need 50 lb. bags of flour and sugar, perhaps imported cocoa and unusual ingredients like spicy chipolte peppers. You'll also need packaging materials. Select the vendors based on their price, quality of ingredients and delivery times. Keep in mind delivery charges and whether you'll have to make a minimum purchase to qualify.
Inventory your baking supplies, equipment and appliances. Making 20 dozen brownies may overtax your hand-held mixer. You may also require an additional double oven installed and sanitizing dishwasher. Storage space is necessary for the ingredients as well as the baked brownies.
Customer word-of-mouth is critical to getting your brownie business off to a good start. Perfect two or three different recipes and stick with those in the beginning then branch out into other flavors.
Separate your business expenses and brownie sales from your household accounts. A separate business checking account makes that process simple.
Getting the proper licenses avoids penalties later.