An ice cream, gelato or a frozen yogurt shop is an amazingly feel-good business to start. No one is ever unhappy when eating ice cream, gelato or frozen yogurt. Plus, you will always (except in the off season) have a steady stream of happy kids coming through the doors, and what's better than that?
Of course, starting this kind of business isn't without its challenges. It isn't easy to raise money for this kind of business. Business can be dreadfully slow during cold weather, and the costs of rent, product inventory and employee salaries can be truly overwhelming. We'll tackle all these challenges in this article so that you can successfully plan, start and grow your ice cream, gelato or frozen yogurt shop.
In this article you will learn how to create a business plan, a marketing plan, a social media marketing strategy as well as an SEO and an offline marketing strategy for your business. You will also get 15 different ways to raise money for your business. And if that's not enough you will get many additional tips and outside resources to properly plan, start and grow this business.
There are a few very important things that you must address when you write a business plan for this kind of business. One of the most important things is your cash flow statement which is a breakdown of the ways that money will come in and out of your business. This will give you a glimpse in how much money you will need to raise in order to have enough funds until the business breaks even and turns a profit.
Other important parts of your business plan will be how you plan to promote this business, whether it will be a franchise or your own unique brand, and where you plan to open it.
Here is a full tutorial on how to write a business plan.
Marketing for a frozen yogurt, gelato or ice cream shop is similar to many other local businesses. There are a few core components to the marketing strategy for this kind of business. You will have to focus on SEO, get a space with lots of passer by foot traffic, and make sure that people like your business enough to bring their friends along, which will generate referrals. I will touch on all these topics later in this tutorial.
Here is a full tutorial on how to write a marketing plan:
Social media marketing for this kind of business can be great because you can consistently post new flavors, discounts, and other cool things to Twitter and Facebook that will get people to come back to your ice cream shop.
You want to keep and grow a list of local fans on social media. If you get people to follow you on Twitter or like your page on Facebook, you will be able to keep them updated with latest deals and promotions. Deals, promotions and discounts are a great way to get people to come back to your store.
Some of your fans will share your website or promotions on social media, which will help you reach potential new customers.
Here is a full social media marketing tutorial that goes over some advanced social media marketing strategies:
SEO is important for this business because your ice cream shop must appear in Google when people search for an ice cream shop nearby. Out of all the stores, your store must have the best online reviews, and look most fun and inviting. Plus, consider that local SEO goes beyond Google search. When people search for a frozen yogurt, gelato or ice cream shop, they might not use Google search. Some people use websites like Yelp or YellowPages to search so you must have your website listed there too, and you must rank highly there also.
Here is a full SEO tutorial.
You can create your own website, on your own and for nearly free. You can even get a free domain name if you don't already have a domain name for your business. Here is a tutorial on how to create your own WordPress website, and get a free domain name.
This isn't an easy business to start because it requires so much cash upfront. Before you open your frozen yogurt shop, you must have enough money in the bank to last you 9-12 months after it opens. Before you begin raising money, you must figure out how much money you will need to raise. To do that, try to list all the expenses you will have before opening this business and after opening this business. Add them up, and protract it over the 12 months that you will be open. Of course, after you will be open you will also have revenue coming in so subtract a reasonable amount for that, and you will begin to see how much money needs to be raised for this business. Once you know how much money you will need to raise, you can begin the fundraising process.
Here is a fundraising tutorial with 15 different strategies to raise money for your business including grants, loans, getting an investment, or donations, and fourteen other strategies.
Like many other kinds of brick & mortar businesses, you will have a huge advantage if your gelato or ice cream shop will be located in a place with a lot of foot traffic. If you can also be located near a school, it is even better. Additionally important is the part of the country your business is in. Since this is a seasonal business, the more hot days and months in a year there is in the area in which you plan to open your ice cream shop, the better.
If you don't have the money to open a frozen yogurt, gelato or ice cream shop, one very basic option is to have an ice cream truck or a cart. Having an ice cream cart would require minimal investment or commitment, and you can begin this business almost as soon as you want. An ice cream truck would require a bigger investment, and a bigger commitment. But they are both much easier to start than an actual ice cream shop because you have almost no employee salaries to pay nor rent nor remodeling fees. And you would not have to focus as much on the different marketing strategies like SEO or social media. You would just show up in places, make money, and go home.
Different countries, cities, and states have different requirements in the different licenses and permits they have to sell food. To find out the permits needed by your city, county and state you must call the city hall for your city, and the Secretary of State office for your State. There they will tell you the kinds of permits you need to have.
If you don't want to spend time figuring this out, you can also hire a business lawyer, and the lawyer will help you research the kinds of permits and licenses you need to have. The lawyer can also help you apply for those permits and licenses, and keep track of that for you.
Do you want professional one on one advice where you and I discuss every question you have about starting your business? I offer business coaching in person and via Skype where I can help and advise you as you plan, start and grow your business. Learn more about me, and my coaching program on this coach where I explain how you can hire me as a business coach.
Here is a link to my Amazon author page. Here are some books that may be helpful to you as you start and grow your business:
Here is a link to the page with a list of Udemy course discounts. The courses range in topics on how to write a business plan, start a business, and do effective promotion for your business.
Here is my tutorial for you on how to become a better entrepreneur with 10 of the top strategies that will help you make your business a success.