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how do I start my baking business ?

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Michelle’s Answer

Hello, Jordan !

This is such a fun, fabulous question that I am pleased to give you advice on. I love to bake, also, but do not do it for a living.

There is so much to tell you. In Maine, there is what they call Cottage Food Laws which requires licensing and/or permits based on the type of food you want to sell. The type of food processing license you will need would be the home food processor license from Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Quality Assurance and Regulations License and Permits. Do not worry, I will leave some links below. I would go this formal route, however, I know people in my state (not Maine) that just do all their baking and just sell it by word of mouth and customer recommendations.

Let's assume you go the official route. One of the first things to do is make a list for yourself of all the specific baked goods you want to make. Think about flavors, ingredients, regular and/or plant based baking, gluten free, whatever you think there'll be a market for in your area. Keep a notebook. Next, think of a design for labels and create a label with your brand name and artwork that would attract. Next is the unfun part - financial budget. You may need to get financial help or to get a part time job (I don't know your age) because ingredients cost a lot and you'll be needing a ton of ingredients. I also don't know how much the license or permit will cost.

Spread the word about your business. Make flyers and let everyone you know everywhere become aware that you are baking and have your baked goods for sale. You may begin on a small scale but you may be surprised how eventually you could possibly open a shop, but for now, starting out will mean being on a lower budget and being independent baking from home. Research various holiday baking and make special flyers around the holidays, too. Sometimes people are so busy around those times and they would just like to buy fresh, homemade baked goods made to order instead of baking themselves.

I can also suggest spending a good deal of time on line reviewing recipes and baking tips and watching baking videos. You could learn things you've never done before. But do not hesitate to start out small - it'll be a work in progress and worth it in the long run.

Try to find out if any of your local newspapers/their websites have a Business Section where you can submit a listing for free. You just never know. In the beginning, word of mouth helps out greatly. If you make a website, you would have to be concerned about shipping orders and that's more of an expense. Continually ask for advice every step of the way. Talk to some local bakers who would have some vital information to tell you.

I hope this has been of some inspiration and I wish you all the best with your new venture.

Michelle recommends the following next steps:

https://www.maine.gov/dacf/qar/permits_and_licenses/index.shtml APPLICATION AND FORMS FOR LICENSES AND PERMITS
https://www.pickyourown.org/CottageFoodLaws-Maine.php HOW TO SELL YOUR FOOD PRODUCTS IN MAINE
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Rebecca’s Answer

Thank you for your question. I am glad to hear that you would like to be run.a bakery.
Below are my suggestions:
1. Learn the baking techniques online and practice
2. Attend a culinary school
3. Attend some management courses
4. Work for some famous bakery some time to understand the operating model and establish people network
5. Start an online bakery first
Hope this helps! Good Luck!
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Kedrick’s Answer

Hi Jordin,

I would say the best place to start would be making certain items you hope to sale and take them around to people and ask them to test taste them. This gives you an idea of what people like and also gets your name out there. Be sure to tell people you want to start a business.

Create social media accounts for marketing purposes.

Start by taking individual orders that you can deliver, once your name is out there it will be easier to open a store.
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James Constantine’s Answer

Hi there, Jordin!

Embarking on your baking business journey in Rumford, Maine, USA, is an exciting adventure! Here's a friendly guide to help you navigate through it:

Step 1 - Research and Planning: Kick things off by understanding the Rumford, Maine market. Get a feel for the demand for baked goodies and who your competitors might be. Figure out who your target customers are and find your sweet spot in the baking world. Sketch out a thorough business plan that includes your goals, target market, marketing approach, financial forecasts, and how you plan to operate.

Step 2 - Legal Requirements: Make sure your business is registered with the state of Maine and has all the necessary permits or licenses for food businesses. Check in with the Rumford town hall or city government to learn about any local rules or zoning laws that could affect your business.

Step 3 - Food Safety and Regulations: Get to know the food safety regulations and health codes for baking businesses in Maine. Make sure your kitchen is up to all health and safety standards. You might also want to get ServSafe certified to show your dedication to food safety.

Step 4 - Business Structure and Finances: Decide on your business's legal structure. It could be a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, or corporation. Open a business bank account and set up a system to keep track of expenses, income, and taxes. If you need funding for your business, consider personal savings, loans, or investors.

Step 5 - Create a Unique Selling Proposition: Stand out from the crowd by offering something unique. Maybe you could specialize in custom cakes, artisan bread, gluten-free options, or other niche products based on what people want.

Step 6 - Marketing and Branding: Build a strong brand for your business. This includes a catchy name, logo, and branding materials. Make sure you're online with a professional website and social media platforms to showcase your goodies and connect with potential customers.

Step 7 - Suppliers and Ingredients: Use top-notch ingredients from trustworthy suppliers for your baked goods. Try to build relationships with local farmers or producers for fresh ingredients when you can.

Step 8 - Equipment and Supplies: Get your hands on commercial-grade baking equipment and supplies that match your product offerings. This might include ovens, mixers, baking pans, packaging materials, and display cases if you plan to have a shopfront.

Step 9 - Hiring and Training: If you think you might need extra help as your business grows, consider hiring staff or training assistants to help with production and customer service.

Step 10 - Launch and Promotion: Celebrate your business's opening with a grand event or launch promotion. Give out samples of your products at local events or farmers' markets to create excitement and draw in customers.

By sticking to these steps and remaining committed to offering top-quality baked goods, excellent customer service, and effective marketing strategies, you're setting yourself up for a successful baking business in Rumford, Maine.

Here are the Top 3 Authoritative Reference Publications:

Maine.gov - The official website of the state of Maine with information on business registration and regulations.
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) - Provides resources and guidance for starting a small business in the United States.
SCORE - A nonprofit organization offering mentorship and educational resources for small businesses.

May the good Lord bless your endeavors abundantly!
Best wishes,
James.
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