Chocolate Business Plan

Being their partner over the long term has been an incredibly rewarding and fun experience for us here at Santa Barbara Chocolate Company.Many of these first time novice chocolate makers have succeeded in building their own shops specializing in the best of all things chocolate.Growing up in a family of candy makers, bakers and chocolate makers has blessed me with one of the most fun and sweetest opportunities life can offer.

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heck an impulse buy of a wonderful chocolate dipped caramel or a scoop of dark chocolate gelato could hook someone forever.

Lastly I'd like to add just a few really sound pieces of advice. There are many things that will separate you from your competition (the big retail store that sells chocolates) and some of the most important factors will be the experience, the flavor and the value.

Who doesn't remember the fun experience of going into a beautifully decorated chocolate maker's shop and picking out the hand made chocolates one at a time?

It is all about offering your customers an experience that they will share with others.

I also recommend offering a few extras beyond chocolates.

Gift cards, coffee, tea, gelato and ice cream are all good ancillary options.You don't need your entire work space available for people to see but it is nice if you can have an area where you can dip chocolates or hand roll chocolate truffles and your customers can watch.This type of shop experience helps you build a closer relationship with your customers and it creates a memorable experience.Once you have chosen your shop location build it out so your customers can see what YOU do.Chocolate lovers will like to see your trade and what you do.An artisan chocolate shop start up does not need to be in a high traffic location but it does help in building your business more quickly.There are many successful truffle shops specializing in unique and tasty chocolates and they aren't in high traffic locations because they have achieved the necessary press locally to generate traffic (newspaper press release, Patch.com, television etc).From my experience in chocolate making, if you offer quality white chocolate, you'll have an intense and loyal niche audience.I think the fun experience you offer will build a loyal base of people that will help build your business and allow it to flourish.Jason Vishnefske is the co-founder and master chocolatier of Santa Barbara Chocolate Company and has a wealth of experience in the chocolate business.His letter below includes some great recommendations to starting your own chocolate shop...

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