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In a recent issue of Newsweek, Ben Whitford and Dan Berrett give beneficial and straightforward advice on starting your own food business. First, you must plan ahead. It is important to have a well thought-out, precise business plan to back up your new, creative idea or product. The article mentions that some community groups offer courses explaining how to be a successful entrepreneur. Also, check out the internet for other helpful resources. Know your market, and if something similar to your product is already on the market, don’t sweat it! This just means there is a market for your product, and you must successfully execute your idea.
Issues that a manufacturer or professional kitchen will require you to address include the type of packaging that will be used and the initial volume to be produced. Next, the manufacturer will make a sample of the product is made from your recipe, which may take roughly two to four weeks, using the exact ingredients that the finished product will have. This involves sourcing each ingredient for availability, cost and flavor. Shelf life and bacteria tests are conducted, which can take up to 30 days, and after that, a nutritional analysis is performed. Finally, all costs on the actual ingredients to be used and the cost to co-pack the product are quoted. Spend your money wisely. Usually, you can get into the business using a major credit card, however it may not be the smartest or most feasible idea to spend $20,000 or more on a new kitchen starting out, especially when some established kitchens rent by the hour. You may want to start out small and build relationships with local retailers before moving on to national trade fairs. Be realistic and keep your overhead, as well as your expectations, low. Although creating a great product is essential and will be the basis of your enduring success, it is critical that you recognize the value good advertising and marketing efforts. Regardless of the channels you choose to sell your product, branding and positioning can make the difference between success and failure. You must recognize that prospective customers will not know or respect a product they have not tried, so they need a compelling invitation and education in order to take that first step and make a purchase. The most powerful advertising you can do starts with the product itself. Your food needs to “look the part.” Basic packaging design costs anywhere from $5,000-$30,000, depending on the designer. Spending a great chunk of change on the perfect design can be completely worth it in the end. Other basic advertising can include simple point of sale materials. Even at food fairs and specialty food stores (where allowed) a small display panel can quickly communicate features and benefits that may otherwise be unknown to the prospective buyer. Making photos or artwork available to retailers can be useful to them for inclusion in the promotional materials.Online is an excellent way to sell shelf-stable food products. This is not without marketing costs however, because you much find ways to marketing and advertise your online presence.Bottom line, marketing-wise, it takes a combination of strategies and tactics to ensure the success of you new food product. This is not an area that should be ignored. It can make the difference and success and failure.It is important to focus on being the best before you are the biggest. Stay positive and believe in your product. Starting a new food business is very challenging, but often professional input can help tackle obstacles. For more information about starting your own food business, contact FoodWise Group at www.foodwisegroup.com
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