Thinking about starting a business that sells gourmet popcorn? With so many people that enjoy these tasty treats, it’s a promising idea. Plus, you can start this company from home and ship your products straight from your door.

Still, starting a business is a lot of work. If you’re not sure we’re to start, we can help. 

This guide covers how to start a gourmet popcorn business from home, including:

  • Planning your business
  • Setting up
  • Organising your operations
  • Marketing to find customers

How to plan your gourmet popcorn business from home

A huge part of knowing how to start a gourmet popcorn business from home is establishing a clear idea of what you want your company to look like. To do this, you’ll need to develop a plan. Let’s go over the key steps to consider. 

Conduct market research 

It’s easier to succeed in the gourmet popcorn business if you understand the market and the food industry. Market research can help you measure the demand, competition, and customer base you can expect

Here are a few sources you might look to for valuable information: 

This knowledge will arm you with the tools to set your business up in a way that attracts customers and overcomes competition.  

Organise your home operations

Since you’ll start your gourmet popcorn business from home, you’ll need to find a designated space to get your work done and store your popcorn

It can be more challenging to balance your work life with your personal one when you conduct both in the same setting. So, try sectioning off your business operations in an office and using specific folders and notebooks to organise your operations.  

As you stock up on your product, it’ll need to go somewhere safe before you can sell it. A dry closet might work well for storing your goods. Otherwise, you may want to rent a storage unit.

Determine your niche and target audience

Though gourmet popcorn may seem like a unique business already, try narrowing your operations further to determine the target audience

For example, do you wish to sell a sweet treat for kids? Or do you want to produce a more adult snack? Ask yourself where you imagine people eating your popcorn and their main reasons for purchasing it. 

It could be for special occasions or casual eating. Plus, you may aim to stock your popcorn in cafes and boutiques in your area

Also, think about what flavours you might make and sell. Create a list of products so you can source them or find the right ingredients. 

Find a supplier for your ingredients or product 

As you begin to stock up on your product, think about whether you plan to create the popcorn yourself or purchase it directly from a supplier

You could find a larger gourmet popcorn business that you can purchase from wholesale. But if you wish to create your own gourmet popcorn to offer a unique product, you’ll need to source the ingredients and recipe.  

If you’re not familiar with the cooking process, seek a relevant cookbook or course (check out the Popcorn Academy). 

Write a business plan and create a budget 

As you prepare to start a gourmet popcorn business, write your ideas into a business plan. This document will steer you in the right direction as you put things together. Plus, a business plan can help you secure funding if you need it. 

Your business plan will include: 

How to start a gourmet popcorn business from home

Once you have a plan for how to start a gourmet popcorn business from home, let’s go over the steps to creating a legal business. 

Register your business

Register your new business with the UK government to inform them of your operations. You can register as either a sole trader or a limited company. Let’s break down the difference: 

  • Sole trader – you’re more in control of your operations and pay fewer taxes, but you’re also legally responsible. 
  • Limited company –  the operations are a separate legal entity from you, but you have more regulations and taxes. 

Since your home-based gourmet popcorn business may start small, consider registering as a sole trader at first. As your investment grows, you can always switch to a limited company for greater protection. 

Set up your food business from home

If you plan to create your own gourmet popcorn rather than finding a supplier, your home kitchen will need to meet food safety requirements. Here are a few steps to establishing your food business:

See also: Food business from home key regulations.

Plan your tax process

As a self-employed person, you’ll need to manage your finances and report them to the HMRC to determine your taxes. To do this, you’ll submit a Self Assessment tax return each year

What taxes will you need to pay? Here are a few to keep in mind: 

  • Income or dividend tax
  • National Insurance 
  • Corporation tax – limited companies only 
  • VAT – VAT registered businesses only 

If you expect to turnover more than £85,000 annually, you’ll need to register your business for VAT. These businesses must also comply with Making Tax Digital (MTD), a government initiative to simplify tax reporting. 

MTD will eventually expand to many businesses, so it’s essential to be aware of this regardless of your VAT status. 

Find the right insurance

With the right insurance, you can protect your business from unexpected events. 

For a gourmet popcorn business, you might need public liability insurance. This coverage can defend you from injury, illness, or damage your business is found responsible for.  

On top of this, look into speciality insurance options that could protect your unique operations, such as food liability insurance. 

Find great insurance options for small businesses at Superscript

How to organise your home-based gourmet popcorn business

When you start a gourmet popcorn business, it’s essential to organise your operations well. Strong organisation can set you up for long term efficiency and success. 

Structure your day 

When you run your own business, you don’t have a supervisor telling you what to do. It can be great acting as your boss, but it’s up to you to organise your day and get your work done. 

Try creating a calendar for yourself and establishing a to-do list each day. A business management tool like Google Workspace can help with this. Plus, you can manage your work email, documents, and calendar in one place

To increase your productivity or time management, you might also want to find a project management tool like monday. These platforms help you organise your work and juggle different tasks effectively. 

See also: How to improve time management.

Manage your sales and prices 

Also, create a system for how you’ll manage your sales. Establish a price list for your products based on the average rates and your profit margin. Consider using a pricing strategy. 

You’ll also need a way to accept payment for your products. If you sell your popcorn online through your website, Amazon, or an Etsy shop, you’ll need to be able to accept card payments

But if you plan to offer home pickup or sell at events, you could accept cash or find a suitable credit card machine. Look for options at SumUp.

See also: How to improve your shipping process

Organise your finances 

The HMRC expects you to track everything you spend and earn on your business, and keep these records for about six years. So it’s crucial to keep your finances organised with financial accounting. 

Business current account

The best way to account for your finances properly is by separating them from your personal spending. Opening a business current account is the best way to do this. It keeps your business transactions in one place to reduce confusion.

Accounting software

It’s also important to understand your financial performance and habits, with which modern accounting software can help. 

Countingup is the business current account and accounting software in one app. It automates time-consuming bookkeeping admin for thousands of self-employed people across the UK. 

This app can simplify your financial management with features like: 

  • Automatic expense categorisation 
  • Receipt capture with reminders after each purchase
  • Ongoing cash flow insights 
  • Year-round tax estimates 
  • Unlimited invoicing on the go 

Save yourself hours of accounting admin so you can focus on growing your business. 

Start your three-month free trial today

How to market your gourmet popcorn business from home

Knowing how to market your gourmet popcorn business from home is essential to making it profitable. Let’s go over the best ways to market your new business to earn customers.

Create a brand identity 

Before starting your marketing efforts, think about how you want your business to look to the public. Your public appearance is also known as your brand identity

If you can establish an interesting and consistent identity, you’ll reach more people and grow brand awareness. Shape it around your target audience and what they respond to for the most impact. 

As you develop your business brand, consider the following:

  • The colour scheme that will appear on your logo, product packaging, website, and marketing materials 
  • The tone of voice that you’ll use across all marketing communications, such as formal or informal, funny or knowledgable
  • The mood that surrounds your business, such as fun and exciting or calming and comfortable 
  • The Values that you’ll focus on, such as sustainability, healthy eating, or indulgence

Market your business online

Digital marketing is a great way to grow your audience and find customers. 

This approach is especially useful since you run your business from home. You could ship it just about anywhere. The more people you reach around the UK or globally, the more sales you’ll make.  

Business website 

Your business website is an integral part of digital marketing. It acts as the digital home for your business. You can design your own business website using a tool like WordPress or Squarespace and customise it to fit your brand needs. 

Your website can include the following information: 

  • Business name and purpose
  • Products and prices (potentially with an online shop)
  • Contact information 
  • Customer reviews 

You might also want to include a blog, which can help you increase traffic to your site. 

Social media marketing

You can also grow your audience by building a presence on social media platforms. Consider creating accounts, posting regularly, and connecting with people who might be interested in your business. 

Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram may be great for marketing gourmet popcorn. Try posting pictures of your products, polls about people’s favourite flavours, and food tips. 

Advertising 

If you wish to spread your business to people more swiftly, you could invest in advertising

Digital advertising, especially when it targets relevant people, can boost your visibility and help you earn sales quickly. Still, advertising costs you money, so it’s crucial to ensure your earnings are worth it. 


See also: What is a good advertising budget for a small business?

Attend local events to earn customers

Attending local events is another great way to market your business and earn sales. Consider seeking local farmers’ markets or food festivals where you can set up a booth for your gourmet popcorn

These events can help you get your products in front of an audience. Plus, passing out business cards will help people find you later.

How to prepare your gourmet popcorn business for the future 

Now that you know how to start a gourmet popcorn business from home, you can use this guide to set things up for the long run. You’ll be selling gourmet popcorn that people can’t get enough of in no time. Just remember to: 

  • Create a plan beforehand
  • Set things up legally to get things popping
  • Organise your operations to avoid getting burnt
  • Market your popcorn to find hungry customers 

You may still face challenges along the way, but if you prepare ahead of time, it’ll be easier to overcome them. Next, consider checking out four challenges small businesses face.