The moment you decide that you want to turn your catering passion into a business, fear tends to follow on soon after. Will the process spoil the love you have for your hobby when it becomes work instead? After all, when our pastimes turn into fulltime work that brings in much-needed money, that spark of enthusiasm can quickly fade.
Additionally, it was suggested a few years ago that half of the UK’s startups fail, so this is another cause for concern too. Still, there are ways to successfully turn your catering passion into a fully-fledged business – and ways to make that process fun too. Here’s a few ways you can do that if you’ve got that hunger for success!
You shouldn’t commit to any ambitious idea until you can fully realise how you’ll fund it. First, you need to tally all the costs you can expect to be incurred; the purchase of catering equipment, whether you’ll have a work premise, how many staff you can take on, all the insurance policies you’ll need to cover, etc. If you don’t consider these things, they’ll quickly overwhelm you later down the line and possibly bankrupt you if the problem gets big.
Make sure you’ve mapped out every move you’re going to make for the foreseeable future, and never lose that momentum. Remember, the difference between hobbies and businesses is that the former can be done on a whim, and the latter cannot. For example, hunt for the best deals from companies such as Nisbets to save as much money as possible on equipment, instead of making panicky purchases last minute. Plan with your money, and you’ll be able to run a sustainable business that won’t flop within a few weeks.
As nice as it would be to believe, businesses don’t just pop out of thin air and hit the ground running. They need to be qualified, certified and licensed to trade with all the necessary permits; and all these things go double when working in the catering industry. If your business doesn’t have these things, it faces fines, bad press, closure and you as the culprit could even face jail time if people get hurt. It’s that simple.
There are many formalities to go through when setting up your business, and insurance is one of them. If you’re going to work around food commercially, you need insurance and food business registration. If you’re going to take on staff, you need employer’s liability insurance too; and you can be fined £2,500 for every day you operate your firm without it. It’s all in the interests of running your business legally and keeping staff and consumers safe, so make sure you read up on everything you need.
While you may have got a kick out of offering your friends and families your catering goodies, when you run a business, things obviously need to be different. Your little creations are now bona fide products, and you need to sell them to more than your close friends and loved ones if you’re going to make your venture work. Therefore, you need to occasionally plonk on your marketing hat.
Advertisements in the paper, online ads, Twitter hashtags, SEO blogs, leaflets, posters in shop windows; all of it will make your business reach public consciousness. Try to streamline your services to a single field when you start out; for example, catering services for weddings, etc. As a catering company, fill all your promotional materials with images of your work; it’ll be far more effective for your business than walls of never-ending text. In the end, it’s better to be more marketable to a specific audience, instead of being a vague and unknown entity to all.