Are you planning to start a food or beverage business? Maybe you hope to sell to restaurants or through specialty food markets. Perhaps you’re eying internet sales. Possibly you plan to sell directly to the public from a food truck or small cafe. Whatever your plans, a food startup consulting service can help you through the inevitable stages of growing your business.
Here are five stages you’ll need to work through to make your venture a success.
1. Choosing and Validating a Product
You may already have an idea of what you want to sell, but it’s not enough that you like the concept and your friends think it tastes good. You need to understand what similar products are available from competitors and where there’s a gap you can fill. How are you going to differentiate yours so that customers will want it? Will you be selling more than one product or type of food? What does it cost to produce and how will you price it for profitability?
2. Choosing Your Distribution Channel
Preparing your food or beverage is important, but it’s equally important to get it into the hands of customers. If you’re not going to be selling live to people, that means selling over the internet or through food shops and restaurants. If you plan to be a supplier, you need to identify who will buy. If you’ll do business online, will it be through Facebook, Amazon or your own website?
Also, now’s the time to start developing your business plan if you haven’t already.
3. Product and Market Testing
This is where you refine your product. Get some people to taste, garner their feedback and make adjustments necessary to hit the culinary nail on the head. Don’t forget about packaging; that can make or break your chances.
This is also the time to more thoroughly define your distribution. Whether your product is on Amazon, Facebook or a retailer’s shelf, how will you make it stand out? Why should people buy yours rather than a competitor’s?
4. Preparation and Launch
In an ideal world, you would merely announce what you have to offer and people would queue up to buy it. Of course that’s not going to happen. If you sell from a physical location, consider a popup or soft launch. If yours is a packaged product, try to set up some sampling sites. Consider coupons, discounts and giveaways to get folks to check it out.
Also, be sure you can produce enough to meet demand if your product takes off.
5. Post-Launch Evaluation
Even products that launch successfully seldom have steadily increased sales. Revenues often level out or sometimes drop off. Even if you’re doing well, maybe you can do better.
It’s good to revisit the previous growth stages. Be constantly attuned to feedback on your product and marketing strategy. There may be an opportunity to improve your product, develop new offerings, improve your distribution through current channels or even explore new ways to sell.
Manage the Growth Stages with a Food Startup Consulting Service
Starting a food business can be a satisfying endeavour but also a difficult and stressful one. Your chances of success improve when you work with a partner who has been through the process and understands what makes a winner. A startup food consulting service can help you navigate the challenging path to getting your food and beverage business off the ground.