business I found a way to produce and sell my sauce. All I need to do is pull the trigger.

I've been making sauce in my kitchen for the past year and a half, giving bottles out as gifts, bringing them to work, parties, etc. I've got some fans, some people ordering bottles from me, people telling me I should sell it for a living. I'm sure other people know what this is like, and it's not a unique experience. So this has been a dream of mine for quite a while, but I haven't actually figured out how to sell my stuff until today. In the past week, I've started reading about Ohio food laws, and it's impossible to make hot sauce as a cottage food business in my state. So I have to use a co-pack, or a licensed cannery/bottler. I discovered a shared kitchen in downtown Cleveland. They offer courses to start-up businesses, and allow them to rent space and equipment, etc. So basically, the 7-week course, membership fee, and all the licenses and fees required from the state would basically amount to $1000 up front. Admittedly, the courses would probably be good for me, as I have no idea how to run a business, and I'm ignorant of laws that would be relevant to a food business, ignorant of how to market my sauce or my business, etc. So I'm not asking if it's a good idea or not to trust these people. I trust them, and they've launched other local brands that are in all the local grocery stores. In fact, Cleveland Kraut, who started at this place, is now international.

I just guess I'm freaking out a little. My wife and I visited this place today because the tour was free, and I was curious to know what they had to offer. Well, I want to think long and hard about it, but she was ready to buy me food liability insurance while we were out having brunch. She is behind me 1000%, practically pushing me into it. I guess my reservations are that we could spend a bunch of money to get these licenses and insurance and the food biz course ($400 for seven weeks), and if we do well, sure I'd make the money back. But isn't hot sauce already a saturated market? I mean, I could go through with this and fail, and I'd still make hot sauce at home. I'd just be kicking myself in the ass over the decision because the money we spent could have been put toward our mortgage or buying shit for our kids due in August. IDK. I'm really nervous and excited, and I'm not sure if it's the best idea, but my wife is all about it. The next classes start at the end of this month, so I have until then to decide and get all my shit in order. I guess this is kind of just me venting/blogging.

edit:
I'm pretty upset that:
1. I can't use peppers I've grown at home
2. I can't smoke my peppers at the facility, or at home, and would have to rely on someone else to do the smoking (a local bbq joint has a deal with the kitchen, I guess--they catered our wedding, too)
3. I would have to ferment on site (not so upset about this, kind of expected it).

edit 2:
I love variety, and I love experimenting, so I'd still experiment with recipes at home. I started keeping a log book to track the recipes I've made so I know exactly what's gone into them after they're done and I've tasted them and figured out whether they're good or not. I'd probably start off with my one bulletproof recipe that everyone is crazy about, and expand to other flavors later if that one's a success? IDK, I'll figure that out later. Business classes, and whatnot.
 

CaneDog

Extreme Member
A business plan is a good idea, but formulating one properly without the requisite experience would be difficult.
 
Have you considered talking to someone at your local SCORE?  SCORE is an NPO comprised of experienced mentors offering free support to startup businesses.  In particular, guidance with finance/budgeting projections and strategic market analysis may be helpful.  
 
https://cleveland.score.org/
 
CaneDog said:
A business plan is a good idea, but formulating one properly without the requisite experience would be difficult.
 
Have you considered talking to someone at your local SCORE?  SCORE is an NPO comprised of experienced mentors offering free support to startup businesses.  In particular, guidance with finance/budgeting projections and strategic market analysis may be helpful.  
 
https://cleveland.score.org/
 
Never having started a business I was just going on what I've seen or read (It was highly recommend.)(. Now there's a spot to get it! Thanks CD!
 

CaneDog

Extreme Member
The_NorthEast_ChileMan said:
Never having started a business I was just going on what I've seen or read (It was highly recommend.)(. Now there's a spot to get it! Thanks CD!
 
It's some of the absolute best advice you can give as it helps to develop, focus, and organize thoughts and ideas.  Even without experienced help, just following the format your link provides and doing one's best is a big step in the right direction. Plus it will help to get the most benefit possible from a mentor, versus being unprepared for the conversation.
 

The Hot Pepper

Founder
Admin
Nobody is making millions except Tabasco and a few other name brands.
Is this you passion? Are you ready for a hobby business? Are you ready to sweat and grind? It's all in how you frame it. If you go in with a pipe dream you will be disappointed. If you go in as a hobby that may take off, you could be pleasantly surprised. The trick is, have fun! Do you enjoy this? Alright cool! 
Patter Fam is in Ohio and I highly recommend them for co-packing and business advice.
https://www.patterfamsauces.com/pages/patter-fam-foods
 

The Hot Pepper

Founder
Admin
The_NorthEast_ChileMan said:
Have you formulated a business plan ? I'd spend some time putting one together to have a vision on how you want this endeavor to progress.
 
Just my 2¢
 
Dude wants to make sauce and sell a hell of a lot. That's the plan.
 
The link to the googled business plan term is pretty funny. lol.
 

The Hot Pepper

Founder
Admin
A business plan is good when seeking a loan other funds. It's like your resume when seeking a job. But if you are not seeking capital you really don't need one. Like, you don't need a proper resume if you work for yourself. However, formulating one is not a bad idea if you are all over the place/scatterbrained/unfocused or unsure, as, the process can help you be where you need to be. But if you have your eye on the prize and a plan to get there don't worry to much about the formalities and just do your thing.
 
If you're in it for it to be a hobby that maybe pays for itself, with the possibility of making a small profit, then go for it.
 
However, if you truly want it to be a business venture, then a good marketing starting point is determining who/where your market is. Your fam and friends are great sounding boards and fountains of encouragement, however they quickly become an echo chamber. 
Find out who/where you ideal customer is, see if your product fulfills their need, and what they're willing to pay for it. 
 
Good luck and enjoy the ride.
 
PepperFish said:
One question, why can't you use peppers you grow yourself?
 
OP haven't been around for awhile, see below.
 
I would assume its a state health thing?
 
04.06.20_teeth.jpg
 
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