For people looking for a great business to start, catering business opportunities are better today than ever before. I’d like to share some pearls of wisdom to help you along, and consider your options. A catering business can give you a lot of flexibility, and is relatively simple to begin. All it takes is a decent amount of discipline, motivation, and strong work ethic. If you sow the seeds and lay a solid foundation, you can actually set in motion a business that will pay ongoing dividends.
Again, among all the businesses to start, catering business varieties eliminate the traditional ball and chain of a retail outlet where you stand by and wait for people to show up. Quite the contrary, you only work when you are making money. As if that’s not enough, you can also soon enough eclipse the tradition sales and advertising nightmare of a “normal” business. See, if you develop just a handful of happy clientele, they can begin to spread the word and bring aboard new customers for you! However, of course, if you have a blunder, you can also set in motion a whole host of negative opinions. So, let’s move on to talk about how to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Before you start, catering business entrepreneurs are popping up all over the country, so I like to evaluate the competition landscape first. It’s just a good idea to know who’s who in the zoo in your neck of the woods. Simply check out your phone book to see who’s listed. Keep in mind that advertising in print media like that is expensive, so if someone is in the “Yellow Book,” and especially if they have been for a while, this is a good sign that they are making good money in catering.
Keep in mind that it almost doesn’t matter what you find in the phone book. If someone is advertising, they’re likely making money, and that’s good. Yet, even if there is nobody advertising, that doesn’t necessarily mean there are no successful caterers in your town. Further, even if there are no people currently doing it, that doesn’t mean it’s not the perfect gig to start. Catering business opportunities exist anywhere people like to gather and have their food outsourced so they can focus on fun.
Okay, now that we know what the market looks like in your neighborhood, before you start, catering business business plans must be considered. Your business plan should consider how you want to set up your business. Will you be a sole proprietor or will you set up an LLC? How much money do you think you’ll need to invest? Who is your biggest competitor? How do you plan to edge them out? Will you need to have a business license? Do you need to think about getting liability insurance?
Once you have a business plan to help you focus on where to start, catering business evolution best occurs through brainstorming. For instance, what about equipment? Go ahead and get all the tools of the trade you’ll need, as that will make life a lot easier. You want to thoroughly think through any kitchen supplies you need to get, as well as utensils and things you’ll be supplying to the customers and their guests. Think about all of the gadgets, from warmers to ovens that will make your job possible, if not convenient. An often overlooked category is lining up some good help. If you have a big event, you really don’t want to burn out. Having some folks who can fill the gaps can make all the difference in the world.
Having covered a lot of background considerations, let’s talk about getting customers. As you know, a steady stream of clients will make or break your business. After you’ve paid your dues, as noted above, word of mouth advertising can step in and take over. But, initially anyway, you need to think about generating some business.
One of the easiest ways to begin is simply to tell people you know that you have started your own catering business. Even if they do not need catering services, they know people you do not. Further, sometimes these people can have influence at the next company event, and may be able to bring aboard your services for that. The good thing is that people who know you can speak highly from personal experience about your cooking ability.
The next range of business comes from the cold market. Advertising is always an option, but it can get pricey, especially if you are just beginning and do not have a huge bank account to fund a marketing budget. It’s almost a given that you should have your own website. These are cheap to host. These days, they are cheap to have built, although you can do it yourself with fairly easy computer programs, some of which are free.