A former professional pastry chef, Jennifer worked for luxury hotels before enrolling at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. While completing her MBA, Jennifer started her own food business out of her graduate school apartment and signed Neiman Marcus on as her first client. While running her business, she realized that food entrepreneurs lacked the type of resources and information that other industries had. Given the regulatory and permitting issues specific to food businesses, she wrote her first food business book in 2009 and has since gone on to publish several others. She also founded the popular food business website Small Food Business (www.smallfoodbiz.com) which is focused on providing food entrepreneurs with all of the business resources and tools they need to start and grow their businesses.
Since successfully selling her food business in 2012, Jennifer now focuses full-time on running Small Food Business and consulting with food businesses ranging in size from start-up to $70M in revenue. When not writing or talking about food business entrepreneurship, she can usually be found in the kitchen playing with one of her three favorite ingredients – butter, sugar, or chocolate.
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Until recently, if you wanted to turn your passion for cooking or baking into a business you had to operate out of a commercial kitchen which could be a timely and expensive proposition. Thanks to more and more states in the US adopting Cottage Food Laws in the past few years, it's now possible for food entrepreneurs to start and run food businesses from their homes.
This course is broken up into 23 easy-to-digest lectures that cover everything from Cottage Food Law specifics to other aspects of business licensing you may need. From there the course moves on to helping you create a business plan and business strategy that will make sure your business is moving forward in the right direction.
In this section we cover some of the basics behind the various Cottage Food Laws in the US that enable home-based food entrepreneurs to start their businesses from their kitchens. This section includes an overview of which states currently allow and which do not allow for food artisans to work out of their home kitchens.
Since Cottage Food Laws differ from state to state, this section will talk about the various aspects you need to be aware of when looking at your state's specific laws. Downloadable documents contain state-by-state information and website addresses.
Cottage food permits aren't the only potential business licenses that home-based food entrepreneurs need. In this section we'll take a look at some of the other licenses and permits that may be required before you can start operating your food company. The downloadable PDF in this section contains website information for city and state licenses as well as commercial kitchen health permitting information for when your business outgrows your kitchen.
Getting and staying organized from Day 1 is key for an entrepreneur so this short session looks at the three main areas to focus on.
Before you can start creating a business plan you need to fully understand where you want the business to go in the next 3,5,7 years and what role you want it to play in your life. That's where Visioning comes in!
Your business plan must be created with you and your target market in mind. We explore both of these aspects in this section along with information about how to find out who your target market is.
An overview of what aspects you need to consider when creating your home-based food business plan. We'll talk about each of these more in-depth in later sessions.
Even for home-based food businesses, understanding your marketplace is an important step towards success.
In this session we'll take a look at what you need to consider when evaluating your competitors and how that plays into determining what your company's marketing message will be.
How and where you sell your products is an important part of a successful business. This session will help you identify and evaluate different sales channels to determine which might be the best option for you.
Your packaging plays multiple roles including attracting customers and meeting regulatory requirements. In this session we'll cover all the things you need to keep in mind when it comes to packaging your products.
Having a great product isn't enough. How are people going to know about your company? In this first Marketing section we'll look at the different non-social media tools available to small business owners.
Social Media tends to be the marketing tool of choice for food artisans so in this lecture we look at what goes into devising a solid social marketing strategy that will help you grow your business.
An introduction to the financial aspects associated with small food business ownership.
Know how to price your products is the first step in building this business of yours but you can't simply price it based on what you think someone would pay. In this lecture we take a look at all the components that go into developing a profitable pricing strategy for your business.
Let's take a look at the different types of expenses your business will incur before we move onto developing cash forecasts and budgets.
Cash forecasts help you determine when your business will have excess cash and when the business will need to be running lean. In this lecture we'll look at how to develop and read a cash forecast for your small business.
What are your options when it comes to finding money to help you get your business started or grow it? That's what we'll look at in this lecture.
Keeping your accounting books in order is important both from a tax standpoint but also so you know how your business is faring. We'll talk about a few of the options available to you as a small entrepreneur.
How you pay yourself is important from an IRS and tax standpoint so this overview presents you with some of the issues you need to be aware of.
What happens when your business grows too big for your kitchen to handle? We'll talk briefly in this lecture about what your next steps should be so that you can keep business cooking.
I'm starting a Home-Based lollipop business and this course answered quite a few questions AND presented great follow up info concerning regulations state to state. Thanks again, looking forward to more from you and your website www.smallfoodbiz.com. Ron Vail
I chose this course at the beginning because I wanted to know more about Home-Based Food Business. At the end of this 3 hours course, I was so happy about all the new informations I learned. It's not only on Home-Based Food Business it's all about how to create a business. From business foundation to the financial aspects of food business ownership. It's very well explain - step by step with concrete examples. Thank you so much Jennifer for this course. I learn in 3 hours what It would have taken me several months before gathering and understanding all those informations.