A business plan will help you understand what you need to get started. Following are things to consider and food business assistance resources to assist with writing your business plan

Operating resources

Think about what it will take to run the business each day. Will you need employees? What will the hours of the business be? Will you close for weekends and holidays? 

Overall market plan

This section should answer questions like: Who are the target customers for the business? Are there any businesses providing the same service that might be in competition with your business? Would a particular location in the city be important for your business to succeed?

Cost and sales structure

Each product you sell costs something to make, and each service you provide takes staff time. Carefully calculate your costs so that you know how much you need to charge customers in order to make money.

Financial management and business growth

Using your estimates of what it will cost to open your business, operate, do marketing, and sell to customers, calculate how much money you need to start. Keep in mind that there may be a gap in time between when you start on the path to opening your business and when you receive the first profits. Have a plan to help finance your business and consider reaching out to a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), which will provide credit and financial services to entrepreneurs. A business plan is required if applying for funding through a bank.

Every business needs a way to get customers. Write about how you plan to advertise and sell your goods. Make sure to note what those marketing and sales activities will cost and how long they will take.

Understand start up costs

The key to a successful business is preparation. Before your business opens its doors, you’ll have bills to pay. Understanding your expenses will help you launch successfully.

You can access a guide for writing your business plan on SBA's website. 

Baltimore City food business assistance resources

Maryland Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is dedicated to providing one-stop assistance to Maryland’s entrepreneurial community. Their services include: 

Start-up assistance Business Plan Development
Networking opportunities Financial Analysis
8(a)/SDB/MBE Certification training Consulting (At no cost to you!)
Federal and State Contracting Assistance Specialized Retail and Restaurant Assistance
Strategic Planning Loan Packaging
Demographic/marketing assistance Executive Training Program
Import/Export Assistance Technology Commercialization
Business Valuation

          Contact the Maryland SBDC of Baltimore City for more food business information:

                           Ivie Baker, Consultant (Baltimore City), email: ibaker22@umd.edu

                  Aldo Barillas, Consultant (Baltimore City, Bilingual), email: abarill1@umd.edu

The Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC) of Baltimore City equips Latinos and other underserved communities with the skills and financial tools to create a better future for their families and communities. Program participants learn how to build their long-term financial security by buying and staying in their homes, taking control of decisions affecting their apartment buildings, and starting or expanding their small businesses. Following are services offered by LEDC:

  • Small business Coaching: The LEDC team of business experts can provide you with one-on one advice and training to help manage and grow your business. Experts can assist with writing a business plan, licensing and permitting, online marketing, credit building, and business financing. To request business coaching services, please complete a short intake form here.  

  • Business Loans:  The LEDC off loans ranging from $1,000 to $50,000 to qualified start-ups and existing businesses. This program strives to understand the full potential of each idea and each entrepreneur behind it. The LEDC doesn’t lend to credit scores, we finance the character of the individual and the reach of their dreams. Uses of capital include renovation or business expansions, working capital, bridge financing for government grants, and more. 

  • Learn more about LEDC related workshops and events here.  

The Baltimore Business Assistance & Support for Equity (BASE) Network is a collaboration of 15 Baltimore entrepreneurial support organizations led by the Baltimore Development Corporation that works together to engage and support BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) owned, women-owned, and other disadvantaged small businesses in accessing pandemic related assistance and other forms of capital and business support. The Network was formed at the onset of the covid pandemic in April 2020 and has helped over 4,000 Baltimore small businesses access more than $50 million in financial assistance and working capital. The Network is supported by the American Rescue Plan Act, the U.S. Small Business Administration, and The Rockefeller Foundation.

Made in Baltimore is a program of the Baltimore Development Corporation, a 501(c)(3) organization, where they continue to expand our support for small businesses. To date, Made In Baltimore has supported over 200 product-based businesses in Baltimore City through retail, business development programs, and media campaigns. Our annual retail concepts have generated over $200,000 in sales revenue for local makers.

Baltimore Small Business Resource Center offers many assistance programs including guidance on applying for micro-loans and other funds, information on business plans, cash flow projections, support with setting up LLCs, and addressing business regulations. The resource center is also a Kiva trustee for the region that prioritizes interest-free loans available to women-, minority-, and black-owned businesses. 

Maryland is Open for Business offers business resources from the State of Maryland. A one-stop resource with a wealth of information for those seeking to start or expand a business. It also contains resources on financing, networking, workforce, government contracting, and more. You can examine key industries and overall economic development performance indicators, explore key industry sections, and explore community economic data by county.

Greater Baltimore Urban League offers a wide range of resources. There are programs for youth education and employment, entrepreneurship classes and resources, seminars, and so much more. There are also microloans that are interest-free, as the Urban League is a Kiva trustee.