If there is one thing that isolation and social distancing have positively brought about, it is the baked goodies that suddenly erupted from hitherto dormant ovens and unused kitchens at home. The avalanche of photos of banana cakes and chocolate chip cookies on various social media platforms shows for it.
While many simply had more time to look up YouTube how-to videos while working from home, some have taken to the kitchen as a momentary respite from anxieties about the future. Would there still be a job waiting for them the following month? Do they have enough to get through this critical time?
If you are among the latter group, then maybe it is time for you to look at your kitchen differently—that it could be a possible source of income.
You might think it would be difficult to compete, considering so many have taken up cooking and baking. But if you find your niche, you don’t need to worry about competition. Start in a reflection phase—think about your product, market, and identity as a producer. From this, you will learn more about the context of your brand and decide clearly which business tips could or could not work for you.
Here are a few things that could start you off with a home-based business:
Know your strength.
As in every endeavor, it is always good to know what you are capable of. In this case, know what dish or baked product you could specialize in. It is easy to identify this—it’s the dish your family and friends always ask you to bring in potlucks or gatherings.
It could be a casserole you learned to cook from your grandmother. It could have ordinary ingredients, but your way of putting it together made a spice more distinguishable. It could be a simple cookie with the perfect tenderness and sweetness. Whatever it is, focus on it.
Know your market.
There are two important things you already know about your market. You know you are not the only one hit by the current crisis—your target market is also affected, albeit at varying levels. Second, you know your market still has to budget for food. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics lists food as the third major household expenditure—following housing and transportation. In many countries, businesses in the food industry have been kept open despite the lockdown restrictions in the past months. So at least you know that the demand for food is constant.
Ride on the trend.
This might sound opportunistic, but instead of associating it with being unscrupulous, think of yourself as merely adaptable. Cooking or baking might be a passion for you, or you treasure the recipe of your cake because it’s a family heirloom, but you have to look at it as something you could capitalize and build on. To fare better in the market, grandma’s cake has to evolve with the trend.
For example, right now, it is safe to say that most, if not everyone, is determined to keep healthy. The most basic and necessary protection of an individual against any disease is proper nutrition. In fact, the World Health Organization identifies bad diet as a leading global risk to health. So think about it when you develop your dish.
There are several ways to make your offering healthy and hit the current demand in the market. You could make your own flour to ensure healthy ingredients. You could even substitute meat with tofu—at least in dishes where the meat is not the highlight.
Create your identity.
Once you have developed your product, the next step would be to create an image for yourself. What sets you apart from the rest? This is what you need brand experts for. Your simple recipe could be your identity. Think Kentucky Fried Chicken and Col. Sanders’ secret recipe. This would also address your worries of surviving competition. If you can market yourself uniquely from the others, there wouldn’t be competition as you wouldn’t be compared to the others.
For sure, there are several step-by-step guides out there in starting up a business. But a guide or a checklist would not assure you of success. There are different ways of working out the best arrangements for us, depending on our contexts. What presented here are simply some points you can think about before going through the actual process of establishing a business.
Doing something you love—cooking, baking, experimenting in the culinary arts—is gratifying on its own. You might even be guarding it jealously from the outside world, it being your sanctuary. But taking pleasure in something does not mean you could not profit from it.