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Cottage industries across the board are booming. Facilitated by online platforms such as Etsy, more people than ever are now embracing the unique style of small-scale business central to the process. Allowing previously casual but highly talented culinary-minded individuals to embrace their passions in a more professional capacity, the so-called cottage cooking market has enjoyed particularly strong growth in recent years.
According to Pew Research Center, the wider local food economy of which cottage cooking is a part was projected for the first time ever to be worth over $20 billion last year.
This growth has led to a surge in interest in cottage cook software. Cottage cooks are increasingly using such software to manage ingredients, food costs, marketing, and more. Immensely useful for a variety of practical and financial purposes, these tools have quickly proved essential in helping cottage cooks manage and develop their businesses.
Cottage cooking businesses come in various forms, although they're all small operations by definition. Often exclusively family-run, many also enjoy a loyal customer base. As the market continues to flourish, cottage cooks remain among the most prominent and best-known types of operators in the cottage industry field.
Alongside them are those making candles, soap, and jewelry, as well as individuals focused on, for example, other fashion items, floristry, and pet products. Yet few of these benefit from access to such a broad array of technology-based tools. Whether that's professional recipe software or an application designed to serve as a recipe scanner and organizer, there's a wealth of programs at every cottage cook's disposal.
What's more, with it entirely feasible to pick up a piece of cookbook software free of charge, it's also generally inexpensive to get started. So long as an individual has the passion and necessary space and tools, a world of opportunity beckons for aspiring cottage cooks. Neatly aided by cottage cook software, built-in marketing functionality, where available, can be used to get things off the ground.
Helping to spread the word, by effectively marketing a new business in the cottage cooking space, it's possible to very quickly grow a loyal following. Both locally and further afield, by promoting what's on offer to the most appropriate audience and thus potential customers, success could be just a click away.
Once business is underway, the same tools and software can then serve to assist with any necessary financial processes. Having used one or more applications to log ingredients and costs, it should be a breeze to subsequently complete the required number-crunching and wrangling of figures.
Something that would almost certainly prove quickly challenging and frustrating in equal measure if left solely down to pen and paper, such number-crunching—or bookkeeping—functionality is just one of the many ways cottage cook software is helping to continually revolutionize this thriving form of small-scale industry.
Organization is essential for success in almost any line of work. Despite its uniquely focused nature, cottage cooking is no exception. Nowhere is this more true than in terms of recipe organization. Whether they're a seasoned expert or a newcomer to the space, a stand-out piece of recipe organizer software is crucial for any committed, forward-thinking cottage cook. A number of free and paid options exist, including Paprika, Big Oven, and Recipe Keeper.
Leading product review website Tom's Guide recently announced its best recipe organizer app 2020. Part of an expert overview of the 20 best recipe apps, the Big Oven recipe manager came out on top among those focused on recipe organization, closely followed by the popular Paprika recipe manager.
The former also took the accolade of best free recipe organizer app 2020, owing to its provision of both free and paid versions. A $2.49 monthly subscription allows users to remove advertisements from the free version of the application and introduces a range of premium, members-only features. Paprika, meanwhile, is available for a one-time $4.99 fee.
Those searching for a free online recipe organizer may wish to check out other highly rated options, including Basil Smart Recipe Manager and Cheftap. While the overwhelming majority of today's most popular pieces of recipe organizer software are web-based or dependent on mobile applications, plenty of people still prefer a recipe organizer for desktop computers. In this instance, Recipe Keeper comes highly recommended.
Recipe Keeper boasts both mobile and tablet applications, as well as PC and Mac versions. Users have a choice between free and paid tools. In terms of Recipe Keeper free vs pro, benefits of the latter include an import feature, allowing recipes from websites to be downloaded and saved.
There's also a variety of meal planning and shopping list options exclusive to the $4.99 paid version. Furthermore, Recipe Keeper's free offering limits users to 20 stored recipes, while individuals who've paid for the pro solution can save as many as they wish.
Of course, it's not all about simply organizing recipes. As a cottage cook, dedicated cook software very often represents an invaluable piece of technology. Now widely used by cottage cooks to streamline their processes, among the most universally praised pieces of cook software are MasterCook recipe software and the Cook'n app.
The Cook’n recipe manager is among the best-established, with its roots in a traditional printed recipe organizer first launched almost 30 years ago, back in 1992. Predominantly free to use, several optional premium member benefits—including tech support and cloud storage for saved recipes—can be unlocked by those wishing to pay for a Cook'n subscription. The Cook'n software also includes the famous Ultimate Cook'n Cookbook.
MasterCook, on the other hand, puts the focus squarely on cookbook creation. MasterCook users can create as many cookbooks as they wish, carefully curating them by adding, editing, and deleting to and from recipes new and old alike.
With a subscription to the MasterCook website, users may also create group cookbooks, allowing them to collaborate with others. This group functionality, in particular, represents a stand-out feature for cottage cooks, especially where there's more than one person at the helm of operations.
Recipe and cook software is constantly evolving and advancing. Recipe software 2020-2021 advances, for example, include the growing prevalence of features dependent on cutting-edge technologies such as virtual reality and artificial intelligence.
Much like MasterCook's ability to allow users to curate and share collaborative group cookbooks, access to an online recipe database is often immensely useful for cottage cooks working as part of a small team. Cottage cooks might use one or more online recipe databases to test or find inspiration for their own recipes, as well as storing others' recipes for later exploration.
Unlike standalone software and applications, online recipe databases are more commonly fully web-based. Search for the best free recipe organizer website for you personally. Look for one that suits both you as an individual and your specific cottage cooking business goals. A wealth of database-focused recipe software open source and otherwise is freely available online.
If a specific requirement calls for how to organize recipes on computer for free, such as on a PC or Mac, cottage cooks should look for downloadable solutions instead. The aforementioned Recipe Keeper program is an excellent example with free and paid tiers. Being available for free, this is especially useful for those just starting out in the world of cottage cooking, allowing newcomers to the field to save a little money at the beginning of their journey.
By adopting, at the outset, a solution with free and paid versions available alongside each other, there's also the option to seamlessly upgrade at a later date without having to switch to a different tool.
As any cottage cooking venture begins to take off, bookkeeping software and accounting programs become increasingly important. Essential for everything from keeping on top of costs and calculating profits to filing taxes and taking care of other paperwork, it's vital not to overlook this area of doing business, regardless of the scale.
Some pieces of cottage cook software integrate a degree of bookkeeping and accounting functionality. Accounting for cottage food business ventures is much the same as accounting for any other at-home operation. With this in mind, whether running a home-based food product business or not, a standalone piece of bookkeeping software may represent the best option.
Depending on the level of functionality needed, consider exploring famous solutions like QuickBooks and Xero – both highly focused on the task at hand. Craftybase is another popular choice, tailored specifically toward handmade businesses. Most bookkeeping and accounting software options for cottage cooks and other small business owners alike are offered exclusively as part of a subscription model, including Craftybase.
QuickBooks offers a broad range of options with prices starting from $25 per month. Xero's prices start at less than half that amount – just $11 per month. Prices for both, of course, increase as a business and its requirements grow. Cottage industry-focused Craftybase's subscriptions range from $19-$49 per month, and there's a two-week free trial available for those interested in taking a closer look.
Thankfully, for those keen to keep costs to a minimum, there's also a small selection of free options out there, including the accounting software platform, Wave. Admittedly, lesser-known Wave does lack inventory management and other useful features of more established offerings from Xero and QuickBooks.
Yet, it's not entirely without benefits, such as receipt scanning, unlimited transactions, and the ability to run multiple businesses via a single account. There's a handy mobile app available, too, for those wishing to manage their cottage cook bookkeeping and accounting needs on the go.
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