Calling all food lovers! If you’re someone who wants to turn her culinary obsession into a thriving small business—whether it’s a neighborhood restaurant, hip food truck, or pop-up eatery—we’re here to tell you that it’s totally possible. And if you have a passion for a different small business, these tips can work for you too! It may seem daunting to make the leap from dream to reality, but it’s all about taking baby steps.
Wondering where to get started? We’ve put together a list of steps you should take when starting your own business. GoDaddy’s GoCentral product provides easy step-by-step guides on building beautiful websites to kickstart any business (and even personal wedding sites). Keep reading to see how Sophya, the owner of one of our favorite foodie businesses, The Donut Parlor, followed these steps to make it work. Let’s dive in!
1. Do research. You probably already have an idea for what you want your business to be. Now it’s time to scope out what is already in the market. Ask yourself: Is there a need for your product/service? Who is your audience? Who/what is your competition? What will you do to stand out? By asking yourself these questions, you’ll be able to figure out if your small business idea has potential for success.
2. Write a Business Plan. When you’re ready to go from idea to action, it’s time to write a business plan. A business plan will help guide your business from start-up to establishment to growth. Find a business plan template online and write out your responses. Putting things on paper helps bring clarity to what you hope to achieve and how you plan to do it. Don’t worry about making it perfect — business plans change over time. Just getting one written out is always better than not doing it at all.
3. Make a financial plan. Time to talk money! Starting your business will involve some investment upfront, as well as money to cover ongoing expenses before you make a profit. Make a spreadsheet to estimate start-up costs for your business (insurance, branding, inventory, licenses and permits, etc), in addition to what you think you’ll need to keep your business running for at least a year (rent, utilities, marketing, etc).
4. Choose and register your domain name. When you choose a name, check if it’s already trademarked or currently in use, and then register it on GoDaddy so it’s all yours. Make sure to keep your domain name aligned with your business name to help customers find you, and remember there are a lot of new domain TLDs for you to choose from, such as .restaurant, .cafe, .nyc, and .miami. If your perfect name is already taken, ask GoDaddy to broker a deal for it or see if it’s available via online auction (similar to eBay). Don’t forget to check that your business name is available on all social media platforms as well!
5. Build your website. Okay, so normally building a website is more like a big step rather than a baby step, but GoDaddy’s GoCentral product makes it easy! GoCentral is simple to use and affordable, which is why tons of food business owners use it to create beautiful, easy-to-navigate websites. Bonus: GoCentral automatically creates a Facebook page after your website is published. Could it get any easier?
6. Get licenses and permits. Whether your business is solely online or you’re also brick-and-mortar, you will need to do some paperwork. First determine which types of licenses and permits you’ll need. For a food business, you’ll need a business license, a health permit, and a state tax permit, but if you’re selling jewelry at a local fair, you’ll need a state seller’s permit. If you’re only selling online, check out this article to see what licenses you need.
7. Sell your product or service. If you’re at this point in the game, pat yourself on the back! It takes a lot to put something on the market and you did it! If you’re starting a restaurant, be sure your website integrates with online ordering and reservation sites. If you’re selling online, your website should help you keep track of which products are selling and which aren’t. This will help you determine how much inventory you should keep of each product, and it’ll also help determine what your audience likes so you can make more educated decisions as you move forward.
8. Promote your business. In addition to social media and SEO optimization (learn more about SEO here!), contact other organizations, businesses, or events to see if you can collaborate with them to promote your brand. Set up a stand at your local farmers’ market, a craft fair, or a trade show to sell and to network with other small business owners. Getting involved in the small business community will only help!
It’s definitely nerve-wracking to start a business, but it’s also very possible! Remember that you’re not in it alone. Many people have started successful small businesses, like Sophya Kheim. Her Arizona-based donut shop, Donut Parlor, was only open for a year before it was voted #1 Donut Shop in Arizona.
Opening Donut Parlor was truly a team effort. Sophya has a technical background and focuses on the backend of the business, like payroll, paperwork, and accounting, while her brother, Chhaya Tan, runs the business on-site and helps bake. Sophya also collaborates with many organizations, events, and restaurants to raise awareness for the shop.
When starting Donut Parlor, Sophya relied on GoDaddy’s GoCentral product as an easy way to get her beautiful website up and running. Everyone loves a good donut photo, and Sophya was sure to add a colorful photo gallery of her delicious donuts.
Sophya tells aspiring small business owners, “There will be rough days with long hours. There will be days where you want to give up. It was a huge sigh of relief when we opened our doors and made our first sale, knowing that it was all worth it. Just keep moving forward and never give up.”
Don’t call it a dream; call it a plan — amiright?
Start making your passion into a business! Share your photos on Instagram using #britstagram
Author: Irene Lee and Sophya Kheim
Photography: Donut Parlor
This post is a collaboration with GoDaddy.