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Creamy fudge requires a confectioner with knowledge of the chemistry involved in making this old-fashioned favorite. Starting a business making fudge requires business knowledge, some capital and a product that stands out but making a living with fudge requires the development of a good product, continued exposure and the execution of an excellent marketing plan. The fudge should speak for itself, whether made for diabetic children or lower in calories, the product plays a major role -- and everything else plays a supporting part.
Planning and Preparation
Develop a business plan for guidance and a starting foundation. Include a description of the business, marketing details, product line and financial information. How you plan to manufacture, package, market and distribute your fudge is also essential. Decide if you will hire a distributor and manufacturer to deliver and produce your fudge and if you plan to sell fudge from your home or over the Internet. These details affect your business because zoning laws in your area may prohibit some of your activity.
Contact your local government and ask about zoning laws. You must meet your local ordinances if you plan to sell fudge from your home. For example, in Maryland, home-based businesses that generate more than five visits per week must register with local authorities. Contact your county or city government to find out who handles zoning laws.
Register your business name with the federal and state governments. Selling fudge generates a sales tax, which you must pay into a tax account. Contact your secretary of state to complete the business registration process. Typically, you must select a business name, complete a registration form and pay a fee, which varies from state to state.
Create several basic marketing tools such as a website, social media outlets and print collateral. Web and business card templates, simple site builders or a graphic design professional can assist you with a winning design. These tools spread the word and make contacting you for orders simple.
Join an association to expose your product and network with other professionals. The National Confectioners Association or the Fine Chocolate Industry Association (FCIA) provide benefits for their members. For example, the FCIA offers discounts on equipment, packaging and shipping. Networking may open additional revenue streams, such as selling your fudge in someone's store, and helps you learn from established business owners.
Test the Product
Develop three or four recipes or contact a wholesale distributor. You can buy bulk ingredients from a bulk dealer, like Sam's Club or Costco, to save money on staples. Identify a quality about your business and your fudge that makes you stand out from your competition. Make this quality your selling point.
Design the product packaging. You can sketch your own ideas or hire an artist to create your logo and other visual elements for the packaging. Contact a manufacturer that can produce your packaging in a timely fashion.
Go to fairs or local events and distribute fudge samples. Ask potential customers what they think of your samples, asking if the product is too sweet or too hard. Record their answers and if you find a common like or dislike, return to the drawing board to perfect your product. Make sure you pass out a business card, flyer or other marketing collateral so they can place orders.
Identify products in your line that sell the most. Take those products and increase production. Scrap items that do not sell well from your product line. Continue to apply these steps as you develop new products.
Select a strategic time, if possible, to hire employees. Hire people only when the financial situation makes it feasible. For example, when you begin earning enough to meet your business and personal financial obligations, hire an employee. Increase production, develop new products or begin new promotions to sustain and increase income. Have your employee attend fairs, market samples, complete orders or design new products.
Continue marketing you products to new customers. For example, instead of just selling fudge to individuals, consider a wholesale plan to increase sales and reach more of your market. Contact small shops to inquire about selling in the stores. Open as many revenue streams as possible to sustain your income -- and earn more.
Peyton Brookes is a workforce development expert and has written professionally about technology, education and science since 2009. She spent several years developing technology and finance courses for social programs in the Washington, D.C. area. She studied computer and information science at the University of Maryland College Park.