How to Start a Cheesecake Business

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It's one thing to be a great cook who knows how to make a delicious cheesecake; turning that skill into a business requires more than talent in the kitchen. Half of all small businesses fold before their fifth anniversary, "USA Today" estimates, whether because of financial reasons, personal problems or because the work involved is more than the owner expected. With planning and thought, however, you may be able to turn your home cheesecake business into one of the successes.

Draw up a business plan. Having a business plan, the Small Business Administration states, will help you by forcing you to think about and write down your goals. There are many choices to make, such as whether to open a bakery or cook in your home, and whether to market to local restaurants or to individuals. Use a business plan to clarify what you intend to do and how much it will cost, and you'll be in better shape to succeed.

Contact your local government. Your county or city government will have zoning rules that effect where you can open a bakery, whether you can operate out of your home, and how much to pay for a business license; you need to know the rules before you start. If you're going to have a business name, such as Toni's Cheesecakes, you'll need to register that when you take out your license.

Calculate how much money you're going to need. If you're working on a shoestring budget, "Inc." Magazine states--baking at home, with no employees--your initial expenses may be limited to advertising. You don't have to buy anything until you have customers. If your business takes off, however, you're going to have to spend more money on ingredients, equipment, packaging and deliveries.

Spend money wisely. Buy ingredients in bulk if you can, "Mother Earth News" states, and look for kitchen equipment on a discount. Keep receipts for everything and keep track of mileage for business errands and deliveries so that you can deduct them from your taxes at the end of the year.

Set a price that's competitive, but will still make you a profit, "Mother Earth News" states. Once you know your expenses per cheesecake, you can set your price a dollar or two above that, or you can ask your friends to try a cheesecake and tell you, honestly, how much they'd be willing to pay. Even if you're not planning to get rich, you don't want to lose money.


  • If you live in an area with a homeowners' association, check whether the rules allow you to run a business out of your home. If you're found breaking the rules, you could be fined, and refusing to pay could allow the association to foreclose.



About the Author

A graduate of Oberlin College, Fraser Sherman began writing in 1981. Since then he's researched and written newspaper and magazine stories on city government, court cases, business, real estate and finance, the uses of new technologies and film history. Sherman has worked for more than a decade as a newspaper reporter, and his magazine articles have been published in "Newsweek," "Air & Space," "Backpacker" and "Boys' Life." Sherman is also the author of three film reference books, with a fourth currently under way.

Photo Credits

  • Jacob Snavely/Photodisc/Getty Images