Showing posts with label Launching a Startup. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Launching a Startup. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Tips for Starting a Food Business From Home

Do you dream about owning your own food business? You don't need to set up an entire company or hire several team members. The best way to begin is from your kitchen. A home business has several advantages. For example, you can prepare, package, and sell food items from the comfort of your home. You also work for yourself and set your business hours.
However, there are some things to consider before you begin. First, you have to decide what food products you want to sell. You then have to focus on food packaging and food safety. And finally, you have to promote your brand to help run a successful business. Here’s more information on the best practices for starting a food business from home.

Consider all of your options.


Will you cook the food items from scratch, or source them? You don’t have to be a kitchen expert to start a food business from home. If you love food, have a knack for business, and don’t want to use your kitchen, consider food curation. You can partner with local chefs or home-cooks who can make artisanal food products.
If you do plan to cook your food items, source ingredients wisely. Instead of visiting local grocery stores, go to the source. Partnering with a supplier or a local farmer are some of the best ways to do this. If you don’t have the brand name for this yet, visit wholesale stores.

Make sure it’s legal.

Did you know that states have different laws when it comes to home or small-scale food businesses? In some parts of the United States, local artisan food laws help small businesses flourish. However, check that what you plan to sell is legally allowed in your location. There are different laws regarding home-based and commercial kitchens as well. You can get around some of these laws with a co-op commercial kitchen space.
Once you’ve made sure you can sell your food items, don’t forget to register your business. Check the FDA regulations around home-based businesses, food safety, and food packaging laws. Get all your licenses and permits before you begin, so there’s no legal trouble in your future.

Save on the little things.


Do you have a favorite store for your cupcake boxes? Do you want to put handmade, personalized labels on each container? Most of your ingredient and packaging decisions will depend on demand. 
However, saving on packaging and delivery will help you focus on quality ingredients. However, you will have to package food items in a material that is free of any adverse health effects. Remember that saving doesn’t mean buying poor packaging, as this can compromise the food safety of your products.
While cute packaging can help sell your food products, it can also bankrupt you. So, make wise food packaging decisions. Branding is also important — your food packaging should appeal to customers. 
After all, how you present your food matters almost as much as the food items. To buy in bulk, search for companies that supply food contact materials to fast food restaurants. If you’re starting small, search for independent companies. Buy everything from grease-resistant food packaging to food contact materials from one place.

Focus on your business plan.


So, you’re a good cook, and everyone loves your food. And, you enjoy cooking for a crowd. While that’s important, it’s not enough for a successful food business. Goal setting is the best way to ensure success. A solid business plan and ambitious goals will help keep your business afloat — even if it is out of your kitchen.
Also, you should conduct market research before you begin. Will the food products you like to cook sell well? How much can you price the food items? How long before you break even? Some food spaces are over-saturated and will be hard to break into as a newcomer. Unless you are rich or have proper funding, it’s best to tap into a specific niche. Think of how you will promote the business. Can you do all the cooking yourself? If you have a small kitchen, consider how much it will cost to rent out a commercial kitchen space.
Continue to focus on your company strategy even after you set up your business. Track your key results and have team members (if any) take part in future goal setting. If you need help, invest in OKRs
An OKR system will allow you to work with a sales team to set ambitious goals and focus on measurable results. You can track your progress, and find different ways to improve profit margins. Invest in business planning tools now so that you can plan for success rather than simply hoping for it.

Sell your brand.


You will sell more food products if more people know about and are inspired by your brand. Focus on everything from your logo to your name. And make sure you spread the word. Don’t just depend on referrals and word of mouth. 
The internet plays an important role in home-business marketing. List your food products online and offer giveaways and discounts. Set up a website, social media pages, and reach out to local publications.
You don’t need a PR team to promote your business. Local newspapers and magazines often profile home business owners. Contact them to help spread the word. Connect with customers online, post regularly, and comment on reviews. An excellent online presence will translate well into sales for your food products.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

7 Key Challenges of Launching a Startup

It may seem daunting to know that 8 out of 10 startups will fail in the first 18 months, but it doesn't have to be. To begin with, many successful startups took a few tries to actually get right. 

Just because an initial startup may fail doesn't mean it doesn't provide valuable experience to get the second or third try up and running. Ultimately, all startups fail because they run out of money. 

What causes them to run out of money is the question. Here are 7 key challenges to launching a startup.

1. Expanding Too Quickly

When people think of growth, they often think of expansion. In truth, those are two very different things. In reality you often have to grow before you expand. Getting an order for 1,000 units of your new product may seem like a windfall, but not if you don't have the production facilities in place to handle an order that size. 

Suddenly having more clients than you can handle sounds ideal, but in reality it can be the death of your business. When you plant a seed, it can be months before you actually see growth. 

That doesn't mean the seed hasn't been busy beneath the surface planting roots that will support the expansion when it happens. Make sure you understand the difference between growth and expansion.

2. Having the Wrong Partners

No one individual can singlehandedly build a successful startup. They need partners that bring something to the table in the form of wisdom, experience, contacts, money or some combination of all. 

What you don't need, however, are partners that bring little to nothing to the table. Your best friend since high school might be your most loyal friend, but that doesn't make them a good business partner. 

Similarly, be careful who you allow to invest in your startup. Most investments come with strings - make sure you have a very clear understanding of what they are before taking any money.

3. Failure to Adequately Judge the Market

No matter what product or service you have to offer, you need someone to buy that product or service. You may find an area you think would be perfect for an upscale coffee shop, but that doesn't mean the residents of that area are going to buy your upscale coffee. 

Before you offer a product or service, you need to ensure there is a market for your product or service. If there isn't one, that doesn't mean all is lost, it simply means you will have to build one.

4. Failure to Build a Market

While you may actually hit on a product idea or service people are genuinely hungry for, it is rare. More often than not, you actually have to convince people they need the product or service you are offering. 

When Starbucks first started selling coffee in the 1970's it was unheard of to spend more than about 50 cents on a cup of coffee. Starbucks actually had to convince the entire world that a cup of coffee was something worth spending upwards of $4 on. They didn't walk into a ready-made market, they built one.

5. Lack of Security

The minute you actually invest something into turning an idea into a reality, you have something to protect. Whether that is your proprietary blend of spices, your manuscript or customer information, you have something that can be stolen. 

Anything that can be stolen needs to be protected or it can signal the end of your business. These days it is important for all businesses - from the smallest startup to the largest corporation - to invest heavily in cybersecurity. 

Small businesses are often in the greatest danger of being hacked because they think they are too small and insignificant to be worth hacking. They are generally wrong.

6. Lack of Proper Insurance

There are any number of catastrophes and cataclysms that can prematurely derail a startup. From fires, floods and other disasters to the death of a partner or investor to costly lawsuits, startups can suddenly find themselves stopped. 

Making sure you have the proper insurance is critical to any startup. In addition, you should always work with a reputable agent from a reputable carrier. It is also important to do periodic reviews of your insurance with your agent to make sure that your coverage is keeping pace with the changing needs of your startup.

7. Burnout

Building a startup into a full-fledged business is a marathon, not a sprint. The tasks involved in building a startup are never-ending and they can easily become overwhelming. 

Generally, the people that actually successfully shepherd a startup into a fully operational business pace themselves and don't lose sight of what is truly important. They take care to maintain their relationships, their physical health and even their outside activities. 

While it may take longer to build a successful company by going at a slower pace, you also give yourself a far better chance of actually seeing the finish line.

Wrapping Up

People who successfully guide a startup to a full-fledged business often seem to anticipate what is going to happen long before it ever does. That's because in one sense they do. 

While this list doesn't cover every potential pitfall of building a startup, the full list of things that can derail them is not actually that long. Savvy entrepreneurs make it their business to know every single thing that can go wrong and generally have a plan in place for dealing with it.

Jasmine Williams covers the good and the bad of today's business and marketing. When she’s not being all serious and busy, she’s usually hunched over a book or dancing in the kitchen, trying hard to maintain rhythm, and delivering some fine cooking (her family says so). Tweet her @JazzyWilliams88

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