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22 Tips to Open Online Catering Business in Nigeria

 Online Catering Business: If you’re ready to be in charge of your own destiny.

But don’t have the capital to buy a franchise or open up a storefront, consider starting an online business.

When your store is online, you can reach millions of customers instead of whoever happens to wander in – plus.

You don’t have to pay for retail space.

However, like with any business, you’ll need an excellent product and a solid marketing plan.

See Step 1 to learn what it takes to start your business online.

Online Catering Business

www.rtcscatering.com Online Catering Business

Online Catering Business

1. Define your product or service.

Starting an online business gives you the benefit of having access to millions of customers.
But you also have a lot more competition.
No matter what you’re trying to sell, you can bet that hundreds more online retailers have a similar idea.
 What differentiates your product from other similar products?
To help your product stand apart from the rest, you’ll need to find a niche.

Online Catering Business

  • Let’s say you make jewellery—but so do a few million other people.
  • What makes yours different? If one-of-a-kind jewellery (or another product) is your gig, make sure it’s truly original.
  • Offer expertise in an area. Even if the product itself isn’t very unique, your expertise might be a strong selling point. If you’re selling a line of skincare products, for example, it helps if you have a degree in a field related to skin health.
  • Check into the competition. Figure out what isn’t already being offered, and find a way to fill the hole with your product.

Online Catering Business

2.Register your business.

 Your business needs to be registered according to your state’s laws.
Choose an official business name and fill out the appropriate paperwork to make your business official.

  • Before you register your business, it can help to have a business plan laid out. Consider your production costs, shipping costs, taxes, and web hosting fees.
  • Know the business regulations in your state, and be sure to comply when you get things up and running.

Online Catering Business

3. Register a domain name.

Like the name of any other business, go for something short and catchy that will be easy for people to remember.
Visit the website of a domain registration company.
And test out some of the names you’re interested in to determine whether they’re available.
Once you land on a good name, go ahead and register it.

Online Catering Business

4. Get applicable permits and licenses.

 Research the laws in your area regarding distribution of food or alcohol at catering sites.

Make sure you have the permits and licenses you need before you get started.

Online Catering Business

5. Think about what food you love to make.

 Catering, like any other business, should be rooted in a genuine interest and passion.

Consider the following types of food you could focus on as you develop your catering business:

  • Lunch or brunch-style food. If you enjoy making sandwiches, quiches, tarts, salads, and other food that is generally served during the day, you might want to model your business around lunchtime service. You could cater business luncheons, daytime awards ceremonies, school functions, and so on.
  • Wedding reception or special event meals. Wedding caterers typically offer a variety of appetizers and finger foods along with several hearty entrees and a few desserts.
  • Desserts only. If you love baking and have a flair for making cookies and cakes, consider desserts-only catering. This may limit the types of clients who hire you, but you’ll also have less equipment to buy.
  • Appetizers and cocktails. Clients are increasingly hiring caterers to create a trendy, festive atmosphere by serving only appetizers, sometimes accompanied by caterer-prepared specialty cocktails.

Online Catering Business

6. Create a menu.

By doing this first, you can figure out how much kitchen space you’ll need, what appliances you should install and how much you can expect to bring in financially.

  • Try to have a variety of items to suit different tastes. Even if you specialize in one cuisine or type of meal, make sure your menu appeals to a lot of tastes. For example, if you want to offer a lot of spicy food, have non-spicy options as well.
  • Consider offering vegetarian and vegan options for clients who don’t eat meat and other animal products.
  • Keep your menu to a manageable size, with food you’re comfortable cooking made with ingredients you know you can source.

Online Catering Business

7. Get a web hosting service.

There are free hosting services to be found.

But if you’re serious about running an online business long term.

Consider paying for one that offers all the services you need.

 You’ll be less likely to run into problems when your business starts to take off.

Choose a hosting service that allows for growth.

  • Some hosting services are highly structured, allowing you to choose from among different templates to create a website quite easily. Others allow you to do your own programming, giving you greater flexibility.

Online Catering Business

8.Create a stylish and functional website.

Elegant or funky, classical or hipster, your online store should reflect what you’re selling.

No matter what your style is, it’s important to give off a professional air.

 Since you won’t be able to earn people’s trust in person, your website will have to do the selling for you.

 Your site should be engaging, and most importantly, easy for customers to use when they’re ready to make a purchase.

Online Catering Business

  • Make sure your site design matches your product. For example, if you make traditionally styled diamond jewelry, having a website that looks like shredded cardboard with edgy fonts and images taped to the cardboard would tend to drive away your potential customers.
  • Consider setting up an online portfolio. Whether you are a programmer who specializes in Javascript, a graphic designer who works on commissions, a plumber who is on call 24/7, or a copywriter who will write about anything at all, having an exemplary website where potential clients can evaluate your work is crucial to your online business success.

    Online Catering Business

  • You don’t have to design the website yourself—there are professional designers who are more than up to the task, plus ecommerce websites will offer dozens of appropriate templates for you. If you know in advance what you want, you’ll make selecting a designer or a template that much easier.
  • When designing your site you need to remember to focus on what is important. Your ultimate goal is to make your site simple and easy to use.
  • Your customers should have to make no more than 2 clicks in order to land on the page where they can make a purchase.

    Online Catering Business

  • The top of every page should have a link to your shopping cart if its an ecommerce store
  • Buttons should be large and clear to read and input boxes should be large and easy to enter your information
  • Less is more. Don’t be wordy when you don’t need to on payment pages
  • Make sure your logo at the top of the page always links to the homepage
  • If you have dark backgrounds use light text and vice versa.

Online Catering Business

9. Get ecommerce software.

You’ll need this so your customers can view your products, enter their information and make a secure purchase.

The software safely stores customer information.

 Don’t skimp in this area, since the ecommerce software you choose will make a big difference in how easy it is for customers to feel secure buying something from your store.

Online Catering Business

  • You can also use an all-inclusive ecommerce web service.
  •  Sites such as Shopify and Volusion offer competitive packages, with free templates, custom packages, credit card processing, and more.
  • Ecommerce web services makes it easy to sell your products on the web, without a lot of overhead.
  • There are no custom interfaces or templates to work with; you simply create an online store within the framework of the service.

Online Catering Business

11. Set up a merchant account.

Service businesses in the past had to generally rely on cash or check—setting up an entire credit card processing system was a thankless, expensive task at best. Using a service such as PayPal makes it possible to accept virtually any form of credit or debit card for your services, and includes dispute resolution should the need arise (and it will arise).

Online Catering Business

12.Add catchy content to your site.

Focus on your key areas of expertise, and display them professionally.

 Much like you would do when having potential employers contact references, put your best foot forward for potential clients. Include descriptions, where appropriate or necessary.

Online Catering Business

  • Don’t use jargon. If you are offering technical expertise, include descriptions that appeal to your client base, not your peers. For example, if you are showing that you can code with PHP and AJAX, don’t say “in this case, if the input field is empty (str.length==0), the function clears the content of the txtHint placeholder and exits the function.” The person who needs you to work on their site will just scratch their head and say “huh?” Say, instead, “Start entering text into this field, and it will auto-complete.”

Online Catering Business

12.Be social.

Whatever your business, whatever your venue, keeping your name in the air is key to internet success. Have a business account on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. If your business is graphically oriented, have accounts on Flickr and Tumblr as well. Whenever there is news of any kind—a new contract, a new page, a new entry, a new photo—cross-post it to all your social media sites. Also make sure those sites link back to your main website, and that your website has links to all of them.

Online Catering Business

13. Become an affiliate marketer.

 There are many companies and webmasters who use affiliate programs to boost their online sales.

And most of these affiliate programs are free to join.

When you sign up for an affiliate program, an affiliate link with a unique affiliate ID will be assigned to you.

The affiliate link is used for marketing the products of your merchant.

 When a visitor buys an item through your affiliate link, you earn affiliate commission.

Online Catering Business

  • For example, if you are an affiliate marketer for Musician’s Friend, an online musical instrument retailer, you can advertise their products on your site.
  • If a person visits your site, and clicks on the link that takes them to the Musician’s Friend website.
  • And they purchase an instrument within a certain amount of time (24 hours or more, typically), you get a commission on the sale.

Online Catering Business

14.Add Google AdSense advertisements to your blog or website.

Google’s AdSense is a revenue-sharing opportunity for small, medium and large web sites.

That places ads for goods and services that are relevant to the content of your site.

Targeted to the people who frequent your pages.

In turn, you get paid a small amount when the ad is either displayed on your page, or clicked on.

Online Catering Business

15. Set up your kitchen.

Catering work requires industrial equipment.

That is usually more expensive than equipment you would use in your home kitchen.

Create a budget and figure out exactly what you’ll need to run your business efficiently.

  • Base your equipment purchases on your menu.
  •  For example, if many of your items are baked, install at least two ovens.
  •  If you have a lot of fried foods, opting for more than one fryer might be a good idea.
  • You may want to install multiple sinks to make your prep work more efficient, especially if you plan on hiring people.
  • Plan ahead for food storage, too. Multiple refrigerators and a walk-in freezer might be necessary to store dishes you prepare ahead of time. Heated and non-heated holding areas are important for holding temperature and storing prepared items.
  • Obtain all the pots, pans, and other kitchen equipment you need to make the items on your menu.

Online Catering Business

16. Purchase the catering equipment that you will use on-site.

The equipment you choose will depend on the type of service you want to provide.

But at minimum you will need serving platters and serving utensils.

Online Catering Business

17. Set your prices.

Make sure you have paperwork in order for when you do consultations, tastings, and cater events.

Either hire an accountant or do your own bookkeeping to keep track of your expenses, invoices and income.

Online Catering Business

18.Apply for an account with food suppliers.

When you’re just starting out you may be able to use a local wholesale club to buy your food.

But if you get busy enough, you will find it easier to do business with a larger supply company.

  • Produce can be acquired locally from farmers.
  • The makers of alcohol will sometimes give you a special deal on their brand if you display their logo at events.

Online Catering Business

19.Market your business.

Pass out fliers and menus, post on Facebook, and take out ads in local newspapers a few weeks before you plan to open.

You can start taking orders ahead of time and do mobile tasting events to get the word out.

  • Submit your business information to wedding sites and ask for banquet halls and popular local wedding venues to refer potential clients to you.
  • Word of mouth is one of the best ways to get new catering business. Do your best to make the first few events go smoothly, and soon you’ll have your hands full with new clients.

Online Catering Business

20.First catering order

First, you have to find your first customer.

Most likely this will be a friend or family member who knows about your catering business.

Discuss what kind of food they’d like you to make, including appetizers and desserts.

Then, you can begin shopping for and producing the order.

Online Catering Business

21. Prices in online catering business

A rule of thumb is to estimate the food cost and multiply it by 5.
 One fifth for the food cost, another for wages, another for other expenses such as power, etc.,
 one more for taxes and the last one as your profit.

Online Catering Business

22. More tips

  • Many caterers start by working at another catering company before jumping in and starting their own business. This will help you see if catering is truly the business for you.
  • Start small by opening a mobile food center (only if you have a van) or a small stall, tent, etc.
  • Plan ahead by contacting your staff in advance especially for an outside catering event. Time yourself adequately to meet the deadlines, consider transport time. For this you can take a trip to the area before hand.
 Conclusion

Operating a catering business from your kitchen or without the proper licensing can get you shut down.

Don’t skip this important step before launching your business.


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