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HOW TO START A FROZEN YOGURT BUSINESS

The frozen yogurt trend has swooped across the USA which has led many people to consider starting their own business. As healthier options are now on everyone's minds day to day, frozen yoghurt is an alternative to ice cream. With an industry already generating revenues of over 10 billion.

Business Plan

Before you set figures on your business plan you need to decide if you are going use a franchise or set out on your own and design your own brand of frozen yoghurt. The costs vary considerably. Do some research on how much a franchise would cost and how much it would cost to go it alone. After you have mulled this over for a little while now consider if you are going to offer self service machines where the customers dispense their own yoghurt and toppings or of you are going to be a full service store where you create frozen desserts for customers.

A self service machine has limitations vs full service so plot out your ideas and strategies and summarise the costs involved for each idea.

Research your local market and even carry out some on street market research so you can determine what your customers are looking for.

Selecting A Location

Now you have carried out some research on your immediate audience, you need to start looking for a building/shop you can lease. An ideal place to start would be a shopping mall where there is a lot of foot traffic, if you cannot get a shop inside the mall then look for affordable locations in the surrounding area, such as near a movie theatre, or the local park. If you find this is proving difficult then you could contract a real estate agent who may be able to secure a better deal for you.

Equipment

You now need to start shopping around for equipment suppliers and checking your numbers. Compare the machines which are in the market, contact large suppliers who may be upgrading their machines which could mean you bag yourself a bargain and gain a high quality machine for a quarter of the price. Ask as many questions to as many people as you can and don't be shy. Checking your local papers and websites for upcoming events like trade fairs is also helpful as you can see the machines working in person and learn the ropes and tricks of the trade.

Architect, Attorney, Accountant
Business license, Lease
Hand basin, Two door refrigerator, Two door freezer, Topping display with sneeze guard
Chairs, Tables, TV, Wifi
Inventory
POS System
Mop sink, Sink
Menu board, Promotion, Signage


Ingredients

Choosing which mix to buy for your store is a huge decision as this taste is what people will relate you to. You can source your mix from many companies so get to work and get as many test packages as you can and if you really want to go the distance take this out when you do your market research and offer people a taste. You can buy dry or liquid mix, the dry is usually shipped in a bag and you will mix with milk or water, depending on the recipe. The liquid version is shipped frozen and is thawed before going into a machine. Check which mix is your preference.

Financing

How are you going to fund the major start up of this business, you must by now have some idea of what finances you need. If you need a small business loan then speak with your local bank and take all your documentation with you, the more in-depth your plan, the more serious they will take you.

Business Permits

You will need a license and if you are working with a real estate agent to find your location they may be able to offer you advice for this license or the owner of the building itself may also offer assistance. You will also need to apply for a tax identification number, retail and food license.

Branding & Marketing

During this whole process I am sure you have been hashing out company names, you also need to consider your styles and colours. Find yourself a local graphic designer to create a professional logo in vector so you can print this on mugs, t-shirts, business cards and store displays. Get a good brand and people will remember you and get you off to a good start.

Will you be a purely walk in business or will you be having a website to promote your local business, have a chat with your graphic designer as he may be able to assist you here. Consider running some social media pages like Facebook, it is free and easy to use and able to assist you in reaching your audience. Check out your local newspapers and magazines and get costs of feature ads. There are also other tools you could use to promote your business like Groupon where you can offer coupons with discounts or family days etc. Is there a local high school where you could do a theme day or sorority nights with giveaways and specials.

Store Layout

You may have your location but is the layout right, contract a good builder who can successfully make the necessary changes to your store. You need to consider how to re-fill your machines without disturbing your customers so you may need to have some openings created inside fake walls so the machines can be easily rolled out of the way and serviced/cleaned. Try and build an inviting space which is clean and inviting, after all you want your customers to hang out and enjoy the space you have built and come back time and again to enjoy your products. Will you be serving to large parties as well as individuals, couples and children? How about adding some nice chill out areas with sofas for the larger groups and cute tables and chairs for the couples and perhaps a fun area for the families with small children.

Insurance

Insurance differs from state to state so ask competitors who they use, go online and use some price comparison websites. What type of insurance do you need and what amount of public liability should you consider.

Inventory

Your final step before the launch party is to buy your additional inventory, you will need cups, spoons, toppings, digital scales, warmers for fudge and caramel sauce, fax machine, telephone, credit card machine and register.