I started a business 4 months ago and it's already selling around $40k a month with about 60% profit margins. Here's how I did it

Saad Benryane

Starting a business from scratch is no small feat, but scaling it to $40,000 a month in just four months with a 60% profit margin is an achievement worth sharing. My wife and I recently moved from Florida to Colorado and launched a wholesale bakery and grab-and-go breakfast company, repeating the success we had in Florida. Here's an in-depth look at how we did it and how you can too.

Our Journey: From Florida to Colorado

When we moved to Colorado in March, we decided to replicate the business model that worked for us in Florida. We started a wholesale bakery and grab-and-go breakfast company, catering to a health-conscious crowd in Boulder and Denver. Our product line includes over 100 variations of cookies, brownies, pies, breakfast sandwiches, RTE chia puddings, overnight oats, and cold-pressed juices. We offer gluten-free, keto, vegetarian, vegan, and low-fat options, appealing to diverse dietary preferences.

Building the Foundation: Product Catalog and Prospecting

Creating a Product Catalog

One of the first steps was creating a comprehensive product catalog. Using a decent DSLR camera (though a smartphone camera would suffice), we took high-quality photos of our products. We then used Canva to design a catalog that showcased our unit prices, suggested retail prices, and minimum order quantities.

By presenting a visually appealing and detailed catalog, we ensured potential clients could easily understand what we offered and the value of our products. This catalog became a crucial tool in our sales process, helping us to present our offerings professionally and persuasively.

Compiling a Prospect List

Next, we used Google Maps to compile a list of independently owned coffee shops and cafés within a 40-mile radius. The internet made it easy to gather email addresses and phone numbers, giving us a solid prospect list.

Our focus was on independently owned businesses because they often have more flexibility in their purchasing decisions compared to large chains. Additionally, we believed that our unique product offerings would stand out more in these settings.

Marketing and Initial Outreach

Introducing Ourselves

With our catalog ready, we started introducing ourselves to the shop owners, offering free samples along with a copy of our catalog. This approach quickly generated interest and helped us gauge the market potential.

Offering free samples was key. It allowed us to demonstrate the quality of our products firsthand. Shop owners could taste and see the difference, which made them more likely to consider adding our products to their menus.

Leasing a Commercial Kitchen

Once we knew our business had a chance to succeed, we signed a three-month lease at a commercial commissary kitchen. This cost us $300 per month for one six-hour shift per week, with the flexibility of a month-to-month agreement after the initial period. This setup provided access to high-capacity equipment like walk-in coolers, freezers, convection rack ovens, and 80qt mixers without a hefty upfront investment.

The advantage of using a commissary kitchen is that it allowed us to scale responsibly. We didn’t have to invest in expensive equipment right away. Instead, we could test our business model and scale up as needed. This reduced our financial risk and allowed us to focus on growing our customer base.

Scaling the Business: From Small Beginnings to Significant Growth

Managing Growth

We've been fortunate to experience rapid growth. We're currently serving 20-30 coffee shops out of a list of over 300 prospects. This success has allowed us to scale our operations to three days a week, costing $1,000 a month in rent. We've also hired a few people to help with cleaning, packing, and other tasks.

Scaling our operations involved more than just increasing production. We had to ensure that our quality remained high and that our delivery logistics could handle the increased volume. Hiring additional staff for specific tasks allowed us to maintain our standards without burning out.

Setting Goals

My goal is to reach around $3,000 in sales per day, which I believe is achievable with our existing customer base by introducing new products. This would translate to just over $1 million in annual sales, with a net profit of $500,000 to $600,000.

Introducing new products is a strategic move to increase sales without necessarily increasing the number of clients. By understanding our customers’ needs and preferences, we can develop new items that complement our existing offerings and encourage higher order volumes.

Expanding Revenue Streams: Corporate Gifting and Holiday Sales

Corporate Gifting

Our bakery also has a strong corporate gifting component, generating an additional $150,000 per year. During the holiday season in December, we make around $350,000 in sales from holiday gifting alone, adding another $250,000 in net profit annually. This additional revenue stream has been crucial in saving and reinvesting in new business ideas.

Corporate gifting is a lucrative niche. Businesses are always looking for unique and high-quality gifts for their clients and employees. By offering customizable and beautifully packaged products, we tapped into this market and created a significant revenue stream.

Holiday Sales

The holiday season is a prime time for sales, especially in the food industry. People are more likely to spend money on special treats and gifts. By planning ahead and creating holiday-specific products and promotions, we were able to capitalize on this seasonal demand.

We also used the holiday season to build stronger relationships with our customers. By offering special deals and personalized service, we ensured that they would remember us throughout the year and return for more orders.

The Business Model: Why It Works

Win-Win Situation

Our business model is a win-win for everyone involved. Coffee shops, which typically lack licensed kitchens, have a demand for food, pastries, and non-coffee beverages. By offering a diverse product line at competitive prices, we fulfill this demand. Our well-received products become highlights in the coffee shops, attracting more customers and boosting their sales.

Meeting Market Needs

The opportunity is massive because there's always a demand for specific food categories that may not have a great local supplier. Whether it's croissants, juices, sandwiches, ready-to-eat lunch options, or salads, there's always room to fill a gap or offer a better price point or smaller minimum order.

By identifying these gaps and positioning ourselves as a reliable supplier, we created a steady stream of business. Our ability to adapt to market needs and offer high-quality products at competitive prices has been a key driver of our success.

Recipe for Success: Cinnamon Rolls Example

To address some skepticism, here's a detailed breakdown of one of our top-selling products, cinnamon rolls:

Ingredients and Costs

  • 2 cups (240g) AP flour (Sam's Price) - $2.32 for 240g
  • 1/2 cup whole milk - (Sam's Price) - $0.11 for 1/2 cup
  • 1 1/4 ounce packet active dry yeast (Sam's Price) - $0.24 for 1.25oz
  • 1/4 cup (50g) sugar (Sam's Price) - $0.87 for 50g
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter - (Sam's Price) - $0.38 for 4 tbsps
  • 1 large egg yolk - (Sam's Price) - $0.16 for 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cups (125g) confectioners' sugar - (Sam's Price) - $0.27 for 125g
  • 2 cups (360g) brown sugar (Sam's Price) - $0.79 for 360g
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon - (Sam's Price) $0.25 for cinnamon

Cost Analysis

The total cost for a batch of 16 cinnamon rolls comes out to $5.39, meaning each roll costs $0.33 to make. By applying a 4x rule, these rolls would retail for $1.32, but they sell for around $5.99 in coffee shops. Offering a 40% wholesale discount on a case of 12, we sell each roll for $3.60, and the case for $43.20.

Factoring in kitchen rent, which adds about $1.38 per batch, our overall cost for one case of 12 is $5.34, resulting in an impressive 87.64% profit margin on cinnamon rolls. On average, our product margins range between 58-60%.

Regular Orders and Sales

Most shops order two dozen cinnamon rolls every two days, along with 6-7 cases of sandwiches, juices, overnight oats, or pudding jars. This consistent demand helps maintain our sales momentum.

Overcoming Challenges

Managing Supply Chain

One of the challenges we faced was managing our supply chain. Ensuring a steady supply of ingredients and packaging materials is crucial for any food business. We built strong relationships with our suppliers and always kept a buffer stock to avoid disruptions.

Maintaining Quality

Maintaining the quality of our products as we scaled up was another challenge. We implemented strict quality control measures and trained our staff thoroughly. Consistency is key in the food business, and we made sure every product met our high standards.

Adapting to Market Changes

The food industry is dynamic, and consumer preferences can change quickly. We stayed ahead by continuously researching market trends and adapting our product line accordingly. This proactive approach allowed us to stay relevant and meet our customers' evolving needs.

Marketing Strategies

Social Media Presence

Building a strong social media presence was crucial for our marketing efforts. We used platforms like Instagram and Facebook to showcase our products, share customer testimonials, and engage with our audience. High-quality photos and engaging content helped us build a loyal following.

Email Marketing

We also leveraged email marketing to keep our customers informed about new products, special offers, and events. Regular newsletters helped us stay top-of-mind and encouraged repeat business.

Word of Mouth

Word of mouth was one of our most powerful marketing tools. Satisfied customers often recommended us to their friends and family. We encouraged this by offering referral discounts and ensuring that every interaction with our customers was positive.

Future Plans

Expanding Product Line

We plan to continue expanding our product line based on customer feedback and market trends. By introducing new items regularly, we keep our offerings fresh and exciting, encouraging customers to try something new.

Increasing Distribution

As we grow, we aim to increase our distribution network. Expanding our delivery radius and partnering with more coffee shops and cafés will help us reach a wider audience and increase sales.

Exploring New Markets

We are also exploring the possibility of entering new markets outside Colorado. By replicating our successful business model in other states, we can tap into new customer bases and diversify our revenue streams.

Conclusion: The Secret Sauce to Our Success

The secret to our success lies in identifying a market need, offering high-quality products at competitive prices, and building strong relationships with our customers. By leveraging a flexible and scalable business model, we've been able to grow rapidly while maintaining high profit margins. This approach not only benefits us but also the coffee shops and their customers, creating a thriving ecosystem.

If you're considering starting a similar business, remember that the key is to find a niche, offer quality products, and build strong relationships with your customers. The opportunities are endless, and with dedication and smart planning, you can achieve remarkable success.


1. How did you manage to scale your business so quickly? We focused on building a strong product catalog, identifying potential customers, and offering free samples to generate interest. Leasing a commercial kitchen allowed us to scale without a significant upfront investment.

2. What advice do you have for someone starting a similar business? Identify a market need, offer high-quality products, and build strong relationships with your customers. Use flexible and scalable business models to grow responsibly.

3. How do you maintain high profit margins? By carefully managing costs, leveraging high-capacity equipment, and offering a diverse product line with high-demand items, we maintain profit margins between 58-60%.

4. What role does corporate gifting play in your business? Corporate gifting is a significant revenue stream, especially during the holiday season. It adds an additional $250,000 in net profit annually, helping us save and reinvest in new business ideas.

5. How do you handle competition from other local suppliers? We differentiate ourselves by offering a diverse product line, competitive prices, and exceptional quality. Building strong relationships with our customers ensures loyalty and repeat business.

By following these steps and focusing on quality and customer relationships, you too can build a successful business. Remember, the opportunities are out there; you just need to seize them.

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