Starting a cupcake business entails choosing a niche, getting licensed, buying equipment, advertising and, of course, baking. Here's how to start your own cupcake business.
- Learn to bake -- and decorate -- cupcakes. Your cupcakes need to look and taste great.
- Check out the competition and figure out how your cupcakes will be different or better than theirs. Will they be cheaper? Moister? Tastier? You may want to choose a niche, like gluten free, organic or vegan cupcakes, or kids' birthday cupcakes for your business.
- Decide whether to sell your cupcakes from your own store, deliver them to customers or sell them to middlemen like restaurants [source: Crawford].
- Contact your local health department to find out if you need to be licensed and what regulations apply to a food-service business. Your state may require you to bake in a commercial kitchen, which means you'll have to rent one. The kitchen will have to be inspected before you can get a license. You may have to provide a standard recipe for your product labels. You may want to do this anyway, clearly stating what allergens your recipe contains or your equipment comes in contact with [sources: Hogan, Home Business Center].
- Buy equipment. You'll need a mixer, bake ware, ingredients, muffin cups, and packaging materials (e.g. boxes and bags with your logo and contact information on them).
- Decide on your prices. Be sure to factor in the cost of supplies as well as rent (if you're renting a kitchen), utilities, salaries (if you're paying employees) and your own time and effort.
- Get a website. This is especially important if you're exclusively taking orders.
- Promote your business. Advertise and hand out business cards and other printed materials. Make use of social networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter. Offer special promotions, like a free cupcake for every dozen ordered. Hand out free samples outside your shop. (This may require a permit [source: Funcareers].) Donate cupcake baskets or gift certificates as prizes for charity events [source: Hogan].