Starting an Italian ice business is an excellent option for many business investors because of its low startup and overhead costs. Italian ice is a part of the frozen dessert industry, which brings in more than $21 billion in revenue each year as of 2009. An Italian ice business has several options in terms of how the business is structured. While some people opt for a brick-and-mortar business, others choose the lower-cost cart option, in which you invest in a number of portable carts that can be moved around to a variety of locations.
Assess the market for Italian ice in your area and determine where there appears to be a market need. Keep in mind that in cold-weather locations, you will likely have to close several months out of the year because of low demand. Pick your business model and choose whether you want to run a business consisting of Italian ice carts, a brick-and-mortar store or a commercial product that is sold in stores. Research potential competitors in the market and look at the supply and demand for each type of Italian ice business in your desired area.
Create a business plan detailing your Italian ice business. Include an executive summary that describes your overall business idea, a market analysis that details Italian ice competitors, a company description of your business and how you differentiate yourself from competitors, organization and management considerations, marketing and sales strategy for how you will promote your Italian ice business, types of Italian ice products you will be selling and financial considerations.
Determine how you will finance your Italian ice business. Consider funding from small business loans, venture capital, bonds, or family and friends. Keep in mind that an Italian ice cart business will require much less starting and operating costs than owning a business that requires a retail location or factory.
Decide on the legal structure of your Italian ice business. There are certain advantages and disadvantages associated with each type of business (sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation, nonprofit or cooperative). Sole proprietorships and LLCs are good options when first starting an Italian ice business, but you will eventually want to build a reputable corporate identity, so incorporating your Italian ice business may be a good option down the road once you establish your business.
File all necessary tax information and business registration. Register your Italian ice business name with your state government, then file for a tax identification number from the IRS. Register your Italian ice business with your state and local government as well.
Inquire about what permits are required in your state and city for your Italian ice business. There are different permits and licenses that are required in each state for the Italian ice business, so check with your state tax office to determine what you need.