Written by CMG News Contributor, Barb Upchurch
It’s time to seek opportunities! If you have been thinking about starting a specialty food business, now is the time. My clients have weathered the COVID-19 storm well and here are some of strategies we have used:
Online sales - it’s now essential to sell direct to consumer. Those who were poised and ready with shipping capabilities had a huge spike in online sales. Positioning food products as gift items, care packages, or a party in a box created the demand. Messaging is key!
Specialty food stores - Comfort foods are moving like hot cakes, and smaller neighborhood stores have been selling well as people attempt to avoid the larger grocery stores. Shop owners are still investing in new product lines!
Photography and marketing upgrades - Many have used this time to create new photography to increase sales online and have upgraded their websites to meet demand.
Difficulties - There have been supply chain issues. Ordering your raw ingredients and packing supplies in advance is a MUST.
Do you have an amazing recipe or product you want to develop? It only takes one great recipe to start a food business. But, where to begin?
The first few steps:
1. Test your product with friends and family, but also with those who will give you an honest opinion (Sign me up! I love to taste new products).
2. Determine the cost of your product, and start thinking about the retail price on the shelf. It is important to seek out your competitors and look at their pricing in the marketplace.
3. Find a commercial kitchen, you can not legally make food in your home (with a few exceptions). Your commercial kitchen serves as your business address when you set-up legally to sell. Referrals are available.
4. Pick a business name, it’s harder than you think. These days, businesses are OFTEN sued because they have infringed upon the rights of another business. Beware of any business in the US with your chosen business name and do your search diligence.
5. Create your business entity, which includes a legal business structure (such as an LLC), a business checking account, and your TAX ID number (which can be issued at the bank when opening your account). Don’t ever commingle your business and personal funds!
6. Get your recipe approved from the Department of Agriculture, here is the information that you need to know to apply for your inspection.
7. Hire your design team! CreativeMktGroup has packages for new businesses that provide everything you need to get started - logo, website, business cards, marketing materials and more.
8. The Apple Cart can help! We offer one-time sessions to guide you through this process, providing knowledge while saving you time and money by sending you down the right path.
If you are currently unemployed, now would be the ideal time to make this happen. If you are looking for a secondary revenue stream, you only need one fantastic idea.