Do you want to start a maple syrup company? If YES, here is a 21-step guide on how to start a maple syrup manufacturing business with no money or experience. Maple syrup is a syrup that is prepared from the sugary sap of the maple tree. Starting a maple syrup manufacturing business is indeed profitable because maple syrup contains higher levels of beneficial nutrients, antioxidants and phytochemicals amongst others.

It is always more expensive and to a larger extent, demanding to launch a manufacturing company. The fact that you want your product to compete with similar products in the market place means that you should follow due process before pushing your product to the market.

If you have a formula that would help you manufacture maple syrup that would pass muster and meet the requirements for such a product, then you should consider launching your own generic maple syrup manufacturing company. This business is still open for investors to come in and compete for the available market.

21 Steps to Starting a Maple Syrup Manufacturing Business in the US

1. Understand the Industry

Maple syrup manufacturing is classified under the syrup and flavoring production industry and operators in this industry manufacture flavoring syrup, drink concentrates and related products for soda fountains or beverage manufacturers. Please note that manufacturers, bottlers, distributors and retailers of finished beverage products, such as soda or juice are not part of this industry.

The Syrup and Flavoring Production industry manufactures beverage bases (e.g. concentrates and fountain syrups) and other flavoring syrups. A large percentage of the products produced by players in this industry are used in the downstream manufacturing of finished beverages.

So also, soda producers are major buyers of industry products. While the majority of revenue is generated from finished beverage manufacturers, the trend towards vertical integration is shifting industry-relevant revenue into the Soda Production industry.

In addition, increasing health-consciousness will be a negative factor for the industry as consumers move away from consuming products high in sugar and calories. If you are a close observe of happenings in this industry, you will notice that the demand for soda has dampened in recent time due to increasing health awareness among consumers.

Interesting Statistics About the Industry

The Syrup & Flavoring Production industry is indeed a major sector of the economy of United States of America, Canada, Italy, France, United Kingdom, Nigeria, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Brazil, China and India et al. Statistics has it that in the United States of America alone, the Syrup & Flavoring Production industry generated over $11 billion annually from more than 364 registered and licensed syrup & flavoring production businesses scattered all around the United States of America. T

he industry is responsible for the employment of over 7,144 people. Experts project the syrup & flavoring production industry to grow at a 2.9 percent annual rate. Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Inc., PepsiCo and The Coca-Cola Company are the companies with the lion shares of the available market in this industry.

A recent report published by IBISWorld shows that the barriers to entry in this industry are high, as the industry is dominated by the world’s most valuable and high-profile beverage brands: The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC), PepsiCo and Dr. Pepper Snapple (DPS).

Potential industry operators will have trouble entering the soda concentrate segment of this industry both due to the high degree of brand loyalty consumers feel toward these products as well as the well-established and legally binding distribution networks that these major players experience.

TCCC and PepsiCo are also often owners or major stakeholders in bottling operations, representing another possible barrier to entry for outside operators, as the established companies manage or can influence the operations of bottlers. All over the world, the syrup & flavor production industry is highly regulated because the devastating effect of fake syrups and flavors can’t be quantified.

As a matter of fact, there are several universal laws and regulations that govern the patenting, testing, safety, efficacy and marketing of these products. For example, in the United States, new syrups and flavor products must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as being both safe and effective before they can be allowed to go into the market.

If you are contemplating starting your own maple syrup manufacturing business in the United States, you should ensure that you carry out a thorough market survey and feasibility studies. If you get some key factors wrong before starting your business, then you are likely going to struggle to stay afloat.

But over and above, maple syrup manufacturing business is a thriving and profitable business especially if you are creative and ready to take on the available market within the location of your business.

2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies

  • Demographics and Psychographics

If you are thinking towards starting a maple syrup manufacturing business, you should be aware that there are no restrictions to the demographic and psychographics composition of the target market.

Adults and children all consume beverages and sodas that are made from maple syrup; the demography is all encompassing which is why you can find beverages, soft drinks, and sodas been served in wedding receptions, birthday parties, children’s parties, school graduation parties, baby shower, and a whole lot of events and parties.

This goes to show that the target market for maple syrup is wide and far reaching, you can create your own make niche yourself to serve a specific purpose.

3. Decide What Niche to Concentrate On

Maple syrup production is a niche market in the syrup & flavor production industry hence it is difficult to come up with different niche ideas within the maple syrup manufacturing line of business. However, those in the maple syrup manufacturing line of business are known to be extremely creative which is why they can come up with different flavors and of course different packaging just to appeal to their target market.

Having said that, here are some areas that maple syrup manufacturing companies may specialize in even if they are not considered to be a niche idea in the industry;

  • Liquid beverage bases for soft drinks
  • Other liquid beverage bases
  • Flavoring syrup for fountain drinks and desert toppings
  • Fruit flavoring (crushed or whole) for toppings
  • Juice concentrate for fountain beverages
  • Other flavoring agents
The Level of Competition in the Industry

The fact that anybody with the requirements can decide to start maple syrup manufacturing business means that the business is open to all and sundry hence it is expected that there will be high-level competition in the syrup and flavor industry.

As a maple syrup manufacturer, it is important to note that gaining a competitive edge requires a detailed analysis of the demographics of the surrounding area and the nature of existing competitors. And even if you are successful at first, new competitors could enter your market at any time to steal your regular customers or distributors.

Don’t hesitate to adopt successful strategies from your competitors, but understand that directly competing with an entrenched rival is a bad idea for a new maple syrup manufacturer. In order to stay competitive in this industry, you should never neglect market research and understanding the competitive landscape. You should also study control of distribution arrangements and economies of scale in your market location if indeed you want to compete fairly.

4. Know the Major Competitors in the Industry

When it comes to any industry, there are always brands that perform better or are better regarded by customers and general public than others. Some of these brands have been in the industry for a long time, while others are best known for how they conduct their businesses, the quality of their products and the results they have achieved over the years.

Here are some of the well – known maple syrup manufacturing companies in the Syrup & Flavor industry in the United States;

  • Pepper Snapple Group Inc.
  • PepsiCo
  • The Coca-Cola Company
  • The Cary Maple Sugar Company
  • Holbert’s Mille Lacs Maple Corp.
  • Maple Grove, Inc.
  • American Maple Products Corp.
  • The Smokey Kettle Maple Company of Grimsby, Ontario
  • Reynolds Sugar Bush
  • The North Woods Maple Syrup label
Economic Analysis

Just like any other business, when starting a maple syrup manufacturing business, you just have to get your economic and cost analysis right if your intention of building the business is to generate profits, grow the business, sell franchise and perhaps expand the business and distribute your products all across the United States of America and other countries of the world.

When conducting economic analysis for your maple syrup manufacturing business, you just have to critically examine these key factors; place, product, pricing, and promotion. As a matter of fact, you would have to continue to review these key factors at regular intervals while running your maple syrup manufacturing business.

It is important to note that payment of utility bills, rent, packaging and promotion and of course the purchase of maple syrup making supplies are some of the most important factors contributing to the overall cost of the business and should be considered as a major factor when carrying out your economic and cost analysis.

5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch

You can actually find some of the leading maple syrup manufacturing brands in the United States. This was achieved because some of the leading maple syrup manufacturing companies decided to venture into selling their franchise and at the same time operating chains of distribution outlets. No doubt, the franchise model has indeed help maple syrup manufacturing companies to successfully expand both locally and globally at a very fast pace.

If you are considering starting a maple syrup manufacturing business, then you have the options of either buying a maple syrup manufacturing franchise from an existing maple syrup manufacturing brand or starting your own business from the scratch. There are advantages for buying a maple syrup manufacturing franchise and there are disadvantages as well.

All you need to do is to look at what is available before you and then you will be able to make a good business decision as regards choosing whether to start your own maple syrup manufacturing business from the scratch or buy an existing franchise.

Part of the factors that can influence your decision when it comes to choosing between starting your own maple syrup manufacturing business from the scratch or buy a franchise are the type of business model that you want to build, your business goal and vision, your finance, the competition available within the location you intend starting your maple syrup manufacturing business, and the available market et al.

6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face

The challenges that are likely going to confront a startup maple syrup manufacturing business is the fact that they will be competing with already established brands in the same location. We are not ruling out the fact that you will be competing with manufacturers of other forms of syrups and flavorings.

Other threats and challenges that you will face when you launch your maple syrup manufacturing company are economic downturn and also unfavorable government economic policies. We are not ignoring the fact that the fact that acquisitions shifted some of the concentrate revenue out of the syrup and flavoring production industry and as a result of that, operators’ main growth opportunity lies in marketing flavors for fast-growing niche segments.

7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)

If you are considering starting a standard maple syrup manufacturing business, a business that hope to sell franchise and sell your maple syrup in the different cities in the United States and other parts of the world, then you should take the selection of the legal entity for the business seriously.

When it comes to choosing a legal entity for a business, the nature of the business, the industry the business falls into and your business goals should inform your decision. When it comes to choosing a legal entity for a maple syrup manufacturing business, you have the option of choosing from a sole proprietorship, general partnership, a limited partnership, an LLC, a “C” corporation, or even an “S” corporation.

It is important to clearly state that these legal structures have their own advantages and disadvantages; which is why you must weigh your options properly before making a choice. These are some of the factors you should consider before choosing a legal entity for your maple syrup manufacturing business; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners and investors’ expectation and of course taxes.

If you take your time to critically study the various legal entities to use for your maple syrup manufacturing business especially if you want to build a standard maple syrup manufacturing business, you will agree that limited liability company is most suitable.

One good thing about LLC is that you can start your business as limited liability company (LLC) and in future convert it to a ‘C’ corporation or even an ‘S’ corporation especially when you have the plans of going public or selling franchise.

Upgrading to a ‘C’ corporation or ‘S’ corporation will give you the opportunity to grow your maple syrup manufacturing business so as to compete with major players in the industry; you will be able to generate capital from venture capital firms, you will enjoy separate tax structure, and you can easily transfer ownership of the company.

8. Choose a Catchy Business Name from the ideas Below

When it comes to choosing a name for your business, you should be innovative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents in the heart of your target market.

If you are considering starting your own maple syrup manufacturing business, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;

  • Jonah Cola® Maple Syrup Production Company
  • Top Taste™ Maple Syrup Production Company
  • Fresh Drink® Syrup & Flavoring, Inc.
  • Bruno® Maple Syrup Manufacturing Company
  • Casmir Liquids® Syrup & Flavoring Production, Inc.
  • Golden Can® Syrup & Flavoring Production, Inc.
  • Shawn Stephens® Maple Syrup Manufacturing Company, LLC
  • Green Label® Maple Syrup Manufacturing Company, Inc.
  • Lucy Moore® Syrup & Flavoring Manufacturing Company, Inc.
  • Nick Bottles® Syrup & Flavoring Manufacturing Company, Inc.

9. Discuss With an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You

When it comes to starting a standard maple syrup manufacturing business, there are key insurance policies that you must have in place. It is important to note that you can’t be permitted to run a standard maple syrup manufacturing business in the United States if you don’t have the basic insurance covers for your business.

These are some of the basic insurance covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own maple syrup manufacturing business in the United States of America;

10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents

If you are running a maple syrup manufacturing business that is into the sale of franchise, it is compulsory that you file for intellectual property protection. It will become handy and very useful as your maple syrup brand begins to expand far beyond your reach.

The truth is that even if you are starting your own maple syrup manufacturing company from the scratch, you would still need to secure your brand name from an intellectual property clearinghouse.

It is difficult to build your maple syrup manufacturing business from the scratch, and watch the brand name slip off your hands. Even if you intend buying a maple syrup franchise, you would still need to contract the trademarks and service marks from the franchising company.

11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification

You might not have need for professional certification before you can be allowed to operate your own maple syrup manufacturing business in the United States of America, but you would need to get clearance from local health authority and foods and drugs agencies before you can be allowed to open and operate a maple syrup manufacturing factory.

You will also need a lab clearance certificate, food handler certificate and perhaps other relevant certification as it applies to your country or even your state.

12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate

The legal requirements for running a maple syrup manufacturing business varies slightly from country to country, states to states and even city to city. So it is important to contact your local authority to know the legal requirements that you would need in order to open your own maple syrup manufacturing company in your country.

Here are some of the basic legal requirements needed before you can successfully start your maple syrup manufacturing company in the United States;

  • Business and liability insurance
  • Food handler certificate
  • Health inspection Certificate
  • Copy of license for the service support facility and/or a recent inspection report
  • Tax Payer’s ID
  • Fire certificate
  • Lab insurance
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Business License
  • Business Plan
  • Non – disclosure Agreement
  • Employment Agreement (offer letters)
  • Employee’s Handbook
  • Operating Agreement for LLCs
  • Building License
  • Franchise or Trademark License

13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital

It is often said that money is the lifeline of any business. No doubt raising startup capital is perhaps one of the major concerns for entrepreneurs as it can be challenging raising capital to launch a business idea. Your idea must be workable and promising for you to secure finance from financial institutions or from investors.

The first thing to put in place before sourcing for startup capital for your business is to draft a detailed maple syrup production business plan. With a good business plan, you can easily convince investors to invest in your business. The truth is that no bank can give you a loan if you don’t have a good and workable business plan. Besides, investors will not take you seriously if you don’t have a business plan on ground before launching out to source for startup capital.

There are several options when it comes to raising money to finance a startup business. Some of the options are;

14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business

Before choosing a location for your maple syrup manufacturing business, ensure that you conduct a thorough feasibility studies. The possibility of you coming across a maple syrup manufacturing shop that just closed shop in the location you want to start yours can’t be ruled out.

This is why it is very important to gather as much facts and figures before choosing a location to set up your maple syrup manufacturing business. These are some of the factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your maple syrup manufacturing business;

  • The demography of the location
  • Accessibility of the location (closeness to major road)
  • The number of maple syrup manufacturing companies, beverages and sodas production companies and importers in the location
  • The local laws and regulations in the community
  • Traffic, parking and security

15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs

If you want to start a maple syrup manufacturing business, then one of the major equipment that you would need to purchase is the evaporator. The evaporator is an enormous stainless steel vat in which the maple sap undergoes a condensation process, resulting in a series of reactions that partially determines the color and flavor of the future syrup.

You will also purchase the osmosis units, the electronic thermometer and of course the filter press amongst others. As regards a facility, if you have the required finance, it is to your advantage to acquire a property or lease a facility to be used for your maple syrup manufacturing factory especially if you choose not start with the production of your own branded beverage and soda drinks; it usually gives you the freedom to design the facility the way you want to it to be.

But if you are low on cash, then you don’t have any option other than to rent a facility for your maple syrup manufacturing factory. As regards manpower, if you are running a small scale maple syrup manufacturing business, you may not need full time employees if you have family members that are willing to lend helping hands.

But a standard maple syrup manufacturing company would usually hire a production manager, lab scientist, factory workers, accountant, sales rep, delivery drivers, cleaners, and security men. On the average, you would need between 10 and 20 employees.

The Service Delivery Process of the Business

Maple syrup is made by boiling between 20 and 50 volumes of sap (depending on its concentration) over an open fire until 1 volume of syrup is obtained, usually at a temperature 4.1 °C (7.4 °F) over the boiling point of water. As the boiling point of water varies with changes in air pressure, the correct value for pure water is determined at the place where the syrup is being produced.

Syrup can be boiled entirely over one heat source or can be drawn off into smaller batches and boiled at a more controlled temperature. Please note that boiling the syrup is a tightly controlled process which ensures appropriate sugar content. Syrup boiled too long will eventually crystallize, whereas under-boiled syrup will be watery, and will quickly spoil.

The finished syrup has a density of 66° on the Brix scale (a hydrometric scale used to measure sugar solutions). The syrup is then filtered to remove sugar sand, crystals made up largely of sugar and calcium malate. These crystals are not toxic, but create a “gritty” texture in the syrup if not filtered out.

The higher the sugar content of the sap, the smaller the volume of sap needed to obtain the same amount of syrup. 57 units of sap with 1.5 percent sugar content will yield 1 unit of syrup, but only 25 units of sap with a 3.5 percent sugar content are needed to obtain one unit of syrup.

The sap’s sugar content is highly variable and will fluctuate even within the same tree. The filtered syrup is graded and packaged while still hot, usually at a temperature of 82 °C (180 °F) or greater. The containers are turned over after being sealed to sterilize the cap with the hot syrup.

Packages can be made of metal, glass, or coated plastic, depending on volume and target market. The syrup can also be heated longer and further processed to create a variety of other maple products, including maple sugar, maple butter or cream, and maple candy or taffy.

16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies

If you choose to launch a maple syrup manufacturing business, then you must go all out to employ strategies that will help you attract customers or else you will likely struggle with the business because there are well – known brands that determine the market direction for the Syrup & Flavoring Production industry.

Your marketing strategy should center on quality, pricing, and above all excellent customer service. The truth is that if you are able to put the above stated in place, you won’t struggle to retain your old customers and at the same time win over new customers.

Businesses these days are aware of the power of the internet and which is why they will do all they can to maximize the internet to market their services or products. These are some of the marketing ideas and strategies that you can adopt for your maple syrup manufacturing business;

  • Introduce your maple syrup manufacturing business and brand by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to companies that are into the production of beverages, toppings, sodas and soft drinks et al in and around the location where you have your maple syrup production company
  • Advertise on the internet on blogs and forums, and also on social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn to get your message across
  • Create a basic website for your business so as to give your business an online presence
  • Directly market your products
  • Join local chambers of commerce and industries for business networking and industry trends and tips
  • Advertise our business in community based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
  • List your business on yellow pages ads (local directories)
  • Encourage the use of word of mouth marketing (referrals)

17. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products

One key factor that will help you sell your maple syrup at rock bottom prices is to purchase your ingredients and packing items directly from the manufacturers in pretty large quantities. The truth is the higher the quantity of items you purchase directly from manufacturers, the cheaper you tend to get them.

Another strategy that will help you retail your maple syrup at the right price is to ensure that you cut operational cost to the barest minimum and channel your efforts towards marketing and promoting your brand name. Aside from the fact that this strategy will help you save cost, it will also help you get the right pricing for your products.

You can also try as much as possible to work with independent contractors and marketers; it will help you save cost for paying sales and marketing executives and also purchase.

18. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win

The availability of a wide range of flavors of maple syrup under your brand, your business process and of course your pricing model  are part of what you need to stay competitive in the industry.

Another possible competitive strategy for winning your competitors in this particular industry is to build a robust clientele base and distribution network. Over and above, ensure that your organization is well positioned, key members of your team are highly qualified and your product can favorably compete with the some of the leading maple syrup manufacturing brands.

19. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers

When it comes to business, no matter the industry that you choose to pitch your tent in, one of the easiest ways to increase customer retention and perhaps attract new customers is to produce results and satisfy your customers always. If your customers are satisfied with your products and services delivery, they can hardly source for alternative service provider or products.

If you can continue to make available different flavors of maple syrup, and your customer service delivery is top notch, then you won’t struggle to maintain loyal customers.

Part of what you need to do to achieve this is to track progress, results or outputs with the aim of improving on them quickly as the case demands. When it comes to managing your customers, and building loyal clientele base, you should purchase a customized CRM software.

With a customized CRM system, you can easily stay in touch with your clients (you can carry out quick surveys, you can introduce new products and prices to them without any hitch, you can felicitate with them on their birthdays and other anniversaries, you can keep track of their progress, you can send bulk sms and customized e – mails and above all, you can easily receive compliant and feedback from them).

20. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity

If you are in business and you are not conscious about boosting you brand awareness and communicating your corporate identity, then you should be ready to take on whatever the society portrays your business to be. One of the secrets of larger corporations is that they are willing to spend fortunes to boost their brand and to continue to communicate their corporate identity the way they want people to perceive them to be.

If your intention of starting a maple syrup manufacturing business is to grow the business beyond the city where you are going to be operating from to become a national and international brand by opening chains of distribution channels, then you must be ready to spend money on promotion and advertisement of your brand.

Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand awareness and create corporate identity for your maple syrup manufacturing business;

  • Place adverts on both print (newspapers and related magazines) and electronic media platforms
  • Sponsor relevant community based events
  • Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your products
  • Install your billboards in strategic locations all around your city or state
  • Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
  • List your maple syrup manufacturing business in local directories / yellow pages
  • Advertise your maple syrup in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site.
  • Position our Flexi Banners at strategic positions in the location where your maple syrup manufacturing factory is located.
  • Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles and trucks are well branded with your company logo.

21. Create a Suppliers/Distribution Network

If you are running a maple syrup manufacturing business, it is very important that you create channels for vendors to supply you with maple sap. In order not to be disappointed, it will be wise to have more than one supplier on ground.

So also, you have to map out good distribution network for your maple syrup. Of course you would not want to produce loads of maple syrup and wait for people to come and buy them; you have to source for the market.

The truth is that the more distribution points that you have the more profitable and successful the business will grow. It is the practice for maple syrup manufacturing companies to source for beverages, soft drinks and toppings production companies since they are the major buyers of maple syrup.

Ejike Cynthia