Chocolates are amazing, right? The bitterness, sweetness, and overall taste is enough to transport us to our favorite childhood memories. Almost everyone loves chocolates and the love is for all the right reasons. Apart from being just tasty, chocolates are one of the most sold and purchased food items in the world. 200 years ago, chocolate was a delicacy in most parts of the world, and it still is considered a delicacy in specific places. You can start your chocolate business and earn huge profits, plus, you’ll get to be around something you love to eat. You can learn how to start a chocolate business from home with the right set of tools and equipment.
According to a market report by Technavio, the global chocolate market size was worth more than US$845 billion in 2019. The industry is expected to grow at a steady CAGR of almost 5% by 2024. So, it’s time to hop onto the bandwagon and build a successful chocolate bar business. Here’s our guide on how to start a chocolate business from home.
Pros and Cons of Starting a Chocolate Business
There’s no point in learning how to start a chocolate business from home if you don’t know the ups and downs of the industry. Any business regardless of the industry type requires some kind of investment, it’s generally a bad idea to jump into the industry without knowing everything about it. Here is a list of the pros and cons of chocolate business.
Pros of Starting a Chocolate Business:
- Flexible working hours are always a perk while starting your business. You can work as much and as little based on your preferences.
- The cost of starting a chocolate-making business is lesser than other businesses.
- The work is really rewarding as you get to do what you love, plus you get to make beautiful, yummy chocolate.
- Scaling is incredibly easy. Customer demand, market demand, and other factors keep changing in the chocolate industry. With the ideal strategy and marketing, you can scale your business.
- Another advantage of starting a chocolate bar business is that the profit margins are incredibly high. The average profit margin is around 40%.
- Almost unlimited income potential. There is no cap on how much money you can earn. The only cap is when you stop selling.
- A very simple business model which means launching your business is easier compared to other businesses.
Cons of Starting a Chocolate Business:
- The competition level is high in the chocolate-making business. Analyzing the market and keeping an eye out for your competitors is important.
- If you decide to go to the manufacturer side of this business, finding the right supplier can be a tough thing.
- The taxes in the chocolate-making business are quite high. As you’ll be self-employed, you’ll have to bear the burden of taxes and other expenses by yourself.
- Income is not stable. There’s always a fluctuation in the market so there may be a time when you may go without a paycheck.
Tools Needed to Start a Chocolate Making Business
It’s impossible to learn how to start a chocolate business from home if you don’t know which tools to utilize. The smart choice is to buy commercial-chocolate making equipment. This way you’ll be able to boost the production and the mixing process also becomes easier. If you have monetary restrictions, then you can buy the bare minimum tools and invest more money later on. Some common pieces of equipment are:
- Hand tools
- Chocolate melters
- Chocolate tempering tools
- Bean bar equipment
- Chocolate cooling/refrigeration tools
- Chocolate molds
- Packaging tools for chocolate
Everyone who’s planning to start a chocolate bar business needs to have the right set of tools. Perfect tools improve efficiency and make the process more secure and easy for you.
Average Set up Costs of Starting a Chocolate Business
While learning how to start a chocolate business from home, it is vital to have an understanding of the finances. You’ll need to have enough money to set up the business and enough working capital to keep the business going till you start generating profits. As you’ll be working from home, major expenses like employee salaries and office space rent don’t apply. On average, the setup cost for a chocolate business is around $17,000. Here’s a breakdown of the expenses that you should expect while starting your business.
- Tools and Equipment cost: $1,000 – $5,000
- Software expenses for automation: $150 – $2,000
- Inventory expenses: $300 – $5,000
- Website costs: $200 – $500
- Marketing cost: $0 – $750
Starting a chocolate bar business requires less capital as opposed to other business ideas. Plus you get to do something you love so investing your money won’t seem like a bad idea. Understanding how much money you need initially is crucial while learning how to start a chocolate business from home.
How to Prepare for Launching Chocolate Making Business?
Setting up a business may sound good and easy in theory, but there are a lot of steps that can cause you trouble. However, there are a lot of elements that can go unnoticed. Learning how to start a chocolate business from home includes learning about all the intricacies. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how you can prepare for starting your business.
- Choosing a Business Name and Logo
Chocolate usually contains a lot of emotions for a lot of people. That’s why the names for chocolate business should focus on invoking those memories. The name should be sweet and interesting just like chocolates are. Your business name is like identity and a logo is like a face for your business.
Finding the right name and face for your business may require some brainstorming but, in the end, it’s all worth the effort. While choosing a name, make sure the name isn’t similar to any other business. Also, make sure that your name is easy to remember for customers. If you want to give the logo a personal touch, design the logo by yourself using several tools available online.
- Market & Competitor Analysis
One of the biggest parts of learning how to start a chocolate business from home or any kind of business is market research. There’s no disadvantage of spending your time and burying yourself under research, learning how the industry works. You can build strong marketing strategies, you can figure out local competitors, you can even build a potential customer list with the right marketing research.
Competitor analysis can help you avoid common mistakes that they made. You can make your business operation more successful in less time.
- Choosing The Ideal Niche
Choosing a niche for your business sounds easy but it definitely isn’t. It is one of the hardest things to do while learninghow to start a chocolate business from home. The truth is that you can’t sell everything in the chocolate business. You need to figure out what people like and what kind of demand is in your area. Obviously, you can’t compete with chocolate giants, so pick a niche and stick to it till you find success.
Some of the common niches in the chocolate business are:
- Exotic chocolate
- 100% chocolate
- Milk chocolate
- Dark chocolate
- Organic chocolate
- Novelty chocolates
There may be some other untapped or less competitive niches that you can focus on. You can learn about them once you finally start your business, as there is no better way to learn than hands-on.
- Finding the Right Target Market
Once you’ve successfully completed all the steps, you need to learn about target markets and how they affect your business. Targeting the right group of people can be the difference between success and failure. Most entrepreneurs make the mistake of focusing on the wrong market.
Chocolate is versatile and there are tons of uses of chocolates, you must find the target market that fits your business goals. Some of the common target markets for the chocolate business are:
- Retail selling
- Wholesale selling
- Special chocolates for events
- A chocolate business for online customers
- The local market for birthdays, special events anniversary, etc
- Chocolates for special days (mother’s day, father’s day, valentines, etc)
- Fairs and exhibitions
Needless to say, there are tons of other target markets that you can specialize in. Start building your business slowly and find a target market that you can grow your business.
- Building a Skillset
If you’re planning to learn how to start a chocolate business from home, then you obviously need the skills to make beautiful chocolates. However, that’s not the end, as you’ll be running the business on your own, you’ll need to acquire skills that can improve efficiency.
If you don’t know how to make chocolates, then that should be your first priority instead of learning anything else. There are tutorials online that can help you learn whatever you need. Apart from obvious skills like chocolate making, here is a list of skills you need to run the business smoothly:
- Taxes: The chocolate business is a tax-heavy industry so you’ll need to learn how to do the taxes to avoid future problems.
- Packaging: You need to learn how to do the best packaging for the product you’re planning to sell.
- HR management: If you plan to scale your business in the future, knowing how to manage your human resource can come in handy.
- Sourcing Raw Materials & Tools
A chocolate business can be successful if you pour your heart and soul into it. You also need the best raw materials and tools for making the chocolate. Learning how to source raw materials and tools is a vital part of learning “how to start a chocolate business from home”.
There are 2 main raw materials you need:
- Chocolate Flavours: To make the most delicious chocolate, you’ll need cocoa beans and chocolate flavors. You need to have a diverse product range that can be accomplished with different flavors.
- Chocolate Colors: One of the reasons why people love chocolates so much is because they look as good as they taste. Buy several chocolate colors for the best possible designs and shapes.
You can find both these raw materials from local markets. As for the cocoa beans, there are suppliers online that deal, especially in cocoa beans. You need the best possible quality. They can be expensive so you need to keep your budget in mind.
You’ll also need to source tools for making chocolate, this part is pretty simple. All you need to do is visit online stores like Alibaba.com for chocolate supplies. You’ll find an array of supplies instantaneously, make a list and shop away.
- Setting Up Your Pricing Structure
As we mentioned before, the chocolate industry is full of competitors. To find your place among the sea of competitors and sustain your business model, you’ll need to set competitive prices for your entire product range.
Based on the niche and the target market you’ve chosen, analyze the pricing strategy of your competitors. This is the best way to get an idea of how much you should price your products.
Another way to determine the perfect price structure is to add the cost of raw materials + complexity of a product + gross profit margin. Adding all that up will leave you with an average price for all the products. It is always a good idea to refer to your direct competitor’s prices afterward.
- Office Space: Yay or Nay?
One of the biggest plus points of starting a chocolate business is the low investment costs. If you decide to get an office space right away, it’ll just add to the list of your expenses. You can easily build a successful business model from your home and earn huge enough profits. But it’s not a good idea to convert your kitchen into your chocolate-making space. Find a separate space in your home that you can allot to your business.
If in the future, you want to scale the business and if you have the funds required, having an office space is a good idea.
Hypothetically speaking, if you decide to get an office space for your chocolate business, there are some things that you need to keep in mind. Your office should be in a good locality, it should be close to your home and shouldn’t put a burden on your overall budget.
- Arranging Funds
The step of arranging funds can even come right after you figure out the costs of setting up the chocolate-making business. Knowing what kind of tools you need and how much you want to invest in the initial phase is the first step in learning how you’ll arrange the funds.
There are 3 ways you can go about arranging the funds. You can either start saving up today and invest the amount in your business when you reach the desired amount. Another way is to reach out to your friends and family, especially those who have eaten your homemade chocolates in the past. You can ask them for help you arrange the money you need. The last step is to reach out to a bank for a small business loan. If you have the right documentation and you meet the criteria, you’ll easily get a loan.
- Is There a Need for Employees?
The simple and clear answer is “No”. As you’re starting a home-based business, you don’t need employees. You should aim to take up an amount of work that you can finish by yourself. Also, having employees help you with the tasks will only cause more financial burden.
No business earns profits during the initial stages of working. If you hire employees at this time, you’ll have to take up additional expenses like salaries, insurance, benefits, etc. If you’re learning how to start chocolate business, understanding your need for human resources is important.
Possible Challenges You May Face While Starting Chocolate Business
The chocolate business industry is vast and full of competition. It can be hard for a newbie to make their way into the industry and sustain the business till they gain several loyal customers.
The market giants have tons of resources to drown the smaller businesses, this is another concern while starting your business. There’s no limit to challenges that you’ll face while running your business, but in the end, it’s all worth it.
Find great raw materials, ask for referrals from your customers, set up a website, go digital and gain a new audience. Hard work combined with proper strategy is enough to ensure your business survives through all the thick and thin.
Conclusion: How to Start a Chocolate Business From Home?
This marks the end of our guide on how to start a chocolate business from home. Just make sure that you follow all the steps carefully, and you can build a business that you’ve always dreamt of.
If you want, you can work as an apprentice under any of your competitors to learn some trade in the industry. It’s a great idea to get valuable insights and even save up on money for investment in your business.
How many flavors should I keep in the initial stages?
A variety of products should be your priority as a business. Pick the flavors that you know most people love, make a list of possible options, and finalize the flavors you want to keep. The ideal number is 4-5 types of flavored chocolates.
Is it easier to gain an audience online if I have a strong offline business?
Digital businesses have different areas to focus on. While you’ll be able to sell your product to whosoever places their order using your website, some elements make or break the online shopping experience. You will need to learn about online business strategies.