Heartwarming soups. Melt-in-your-mouth Southern biscuits. Organic tortilla chips. Scottish oatcakes. Meet five enterprising women who've taken beloved home cooking and built it into a thriving career.
From half-baked to business—here's the dish on free online resources to help you get cooking!
• Learn the ropes. Download articles on business basics from the U.S. Small Business Administration (sba.gov); its Office of Women's Business Ownership also oversees a nationwide chain of Women's Business Centers, which provide training. Or visit google.com/entrepreneurs for links to online resources and events.
• Find a mentor. Score.org pairs burgeoning entrepreneurs with volunteer business experts. Post a sales or marketing question on meetadvisors.com. For more resources, search online for the name of your town plus "small business association" or "SBDC" (small business development center).
• Write a business plan. Bplans.com provides sample plans, many in the food category.
• Learn about financing. Startupnation.com offers soup-to-nuts advice on raising capital. Microventures.com connects investors with start-ups. Accountingcoach.com provides a free online career center. Crowdfunding sites for small businesses include crowdfunder.com, indiegogo.com, somolend.com and upstart.com.
Able to invest?
In addition to offering classes and workshops at its twice-yearly Fancy Food shows, held in New York City and San Francisco, the Specialty Food Association maintains a knowledge center on its website, specialtyfood.org, where you can buy downloadable reports (most about $50) and webinars (most about $90) on a range of topics including trends in the industry as well as databases of food brokers and distributors.