The last thing you want to learn if you’re trying to figure out how to start a popsicle business is the “basics” that have nothing to do with selling products and making real world money.
This means you shouldn’t worry about setting up an LLC, getting business cards, or do any of that kind of stuff. Instead, the best thing to look into is the actual action steps to lead to the actual exchange of product for money.
Because no matter what, sales cures all.
So let’s talk about this…
How Much Profit Can A Popsicle Business Make?
Not many people talk about the popsicle business.
However, the past few years have seen more new DTC brands trying to reinvent the industry. And whenever you have an “old guard” of big brands and a “new guard” of upcoming DTC brands going at it, there’s opportunity.
Mostly because the popsicle business can be profitable.
Ultimately, how profitable it can be will depend on how much you focus on unit economics and customer acquisition costs. But in an industry typically built for the masses and with little innovation, there is an opportunity in selling premium popsicles for people willing to pay more.
So if you’re thinking of starting a vegan popsicle, now’s the time to do it. Also, if you do that, make sure to learn some vegan marketing strategies.
What Are The Costs Involved In Opening A Popsicle Business?
For the purpose of this business plan, we’re going to focus on the costs for starting a popsicle business on Shopify.
Typically, this is pretty cheap.
Shopify is just $30/month and it costs less than $10/year to grab a domain name.
The rest of your costs are pretty much going to come down to your actual product and marketing fees. The product costs will be a result of how you handle your cost per unit and your minimums. Your marketing costs will be a result of the marketing channels you choose and how much you have to pay to use those channels.
With that said, I generally recommend you start with at least $10,000.
It’s possible to start with less, especially if you can find a manufacturer who is willing to start with low minimums. At the same time, it’s also more than possible to need more, especially if you’re trying to make a popsicle with lots of hard-to-get ingredients.
What Are Some Skills And Experiences That Will Help You Build A Successful Popsicle Business?
In a perfect world, you would already have frozen food experience or at least some type of marketing or product experience in any retail sector.
However, that’s not mandatory.
If you want to really learn how to start a popsicle business, you have to learn how to sell.
This can be a big topic, but this primarily means knowing how to sell a product through different modes of communication. This includes everything from knowing how to write an email that sells your product to knowing how to sell to a physical store owner to stock your products.
Selling is the only skill you really need.
Because if you can make sales, then your business will always survive. And in the early days, selling is the only thing that will both keep the lights on and will allow you to grow.
Popsicle Business Plan: Build
At the beginning, the easiest way to learn how to start a popsicle business is to build an audience.
The reason is that the unit economics of any business, including the popsicle business, is very fragile. This is the time you have the worst margins, but the biggest need for profit. And the only way to fix that is by eliminating customer acquisition costs.
So the best thing to do is to start a blog, Youtube, or TikTok around your topic and produce content to that channel for at least 6 months before you launch. This is long enough to get the organic wheels going and short enough for you to still feel good about the business.
One example of what you could do is a TikTok where you create cool popsicles. Another is a Youtube channel for people with a specific diet restriction, which you also happen to be solving with your popsicles.
The great thing about learning how to start a popsicle business by building an audience first is that these people will convert higher than if you did paid ads due to the fact they just simply know, like, and trust you more after consuming your content.
Popsicle Business Plan: Launch
One month before you officially launch your popsicle brand, you’ll want to start a “pre-launch list”. This is when you set up an opt-in page that promises notifications of when you launch in exchange for their email address.
Build this pre-launch list by sending your social audience to that opt-in page. This will be your highest converting marketing channel during your launch, so don’t get lazy here.
Then once it’s launch time, it’s all hands on deck.
This is when you start selling anywhere and everywhere, but especially your email list and wherever you decided to build an audience.
In all cases though, you want to launch in 3 rounds.
This means launching, selling out your first batch of popsicles, getting customer feedback, improving your product (if necessary), and then order a second batch. Repeat the process and launch a 3rd batch.
This method makes life a lot easier and simpler, especially if you’re a 1st time ecommerce store owner.
It will prevent you from making hasty mistakes and make sure you have a product people like.
Popsicle Business Plan: Scale
Once you’re ready to scale, you’re playing a different game.
The first obvious thing you want to do is play with paid advertising. This is the lowest hanging fruit for almost any DTC brand, so it’s important you do well here. It will likely never be a primary form of marketing, but it will be a decent chunk.
The real key to scaling a popsicle business though is physical retail.
Most food and beverage products aren’t a great fit for ecommerce. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t sell them online. It just means the economics are better offline. So the best possible thing you can do is to use online marketing as a launchpad to get you into retail.
From there, since CAC is stable, you just need to get into as many stores as you can.
This is not a sexy answer for someone who wants to stay purely digital, but it is the right answer. It’s also an exciting one because there’s nothing like having your popsicles in a real, physical store. It’s also a proven path to growing any frozen food brand, especially popsicles.