How starting a small food business from home can help you avoid pitfalls.
If you are considering going into food business or have started and is experiencing challenges, this site is here to give some guidance to help you stay on track. It will also serve as a reminder for what you set out to do and be a reference guide on your journey.
My Small food business ideas – will it help you?
Hindsight is a great thing and I often wonder how different things would have been if I had a user manual to help me with starting a small food business from home. Having been in the food business for many years and experiencing both good and bad with the bad outweighing the good, I don’t wish anyone to go through my hell. My downfalls have taught me well and I am now better equipped to stay the journey and also help others stay on track.
Small food businesses are so ubiquitous and many new once are opening as you read this blog. Is one of them yours?
Everyone has a passion for food whether it’s eating, being a critic, being creative, keeping traditions, adapting dishes, combining art and some even cook.
The passion-evoking interests offered by food is unlike any other topic and it’s this that unites people the world over regardless of colour creed or race. Maybe it’s this sense of belonging that drives so many into growing their passion into a business proposition.
Those of you considering turning your food passion into a business, it will be wise to get a good understanding of all the parts that will turn the engine. Fortunately for you, there is an abundance of food business ideas online these days unlike when I started, and my mission is to get you to understand the moving parts to increase your chances of success.
Whether you are considering starting out or are already in business, I hope to bring you plenty of useful food industry related information which could help overcome possible challenges on your journey and keep you ahead.
The blog posts here are written to give you useful bite-size chunks of information on a regular basis to keep you alert and give you every chance to succeed.
May be you are already close to starting and need information faster. If this is so, please do reach out to me and I will do my best to assist you.
Steps to consider for your journey-(question your thoughts & ideas)
- Why. Ask yourself why you want to go into business and if the answer to this is anything other than money, drop the idea. I have asked this question to many people over the years and it’s surprising how many reply by saying they are fulfilling their passion. Once you are serious about business, It’s so important to understand the difference between a hobby and a business as the latter will always cost you more if you treat it with disrespect.
- Spark. Start by revisiting your light bulb moment and ask yourself whether your feelings are stronger now? It’s important to do this so that you isolate this from all the other bright ideas we all think of every day but then forget and never act on it. Take your time to think things through, research thoroughly and ask questions to help you decide whether you are ready to take this on. This type of business can be a successful lifetime project for some and a long-term pain for others.
- Usp. Identify the USP of your products & service. This will give your idea a better chance to succeed in an overcrowded market. The strategies used for marketing evolves continuously, so look for ways to reach out to your potential customers by doing things your competitors are not doing.
- Locality. Research the demography of the area you plan to operate from as this will help you with many things. It will help you to understand whether your products are suitable for the area and allow you to gauge whether you can get the percentages you need to sustain a positive cash-flow.
- Testing. Trial dishes with family and friends and tweak if necessary before trialling out to the public. Be selective and only pick your best products when trialling and begin to build your branding early on. Collect feedback and contact details which will come useful later on.
- Menu. If you are planning a big Menu, think again. When you are starting small, a manageable menu will ensure you stay consistent and will allow you to operate efficiently. If you want further proof of this, just look around and you will see that all the big food operators work smart by offering small Menu’s but run very profitably. Ask yourself whether you want to be a small operator with a big Menu or grow into a big business with a small Menu?.
- Operational Hub. Think about whether you need business premises or can start out the model from home. Lease costs can be crippling but many other building related costs are often neglected in the excitement of starting up. Some of these include service charges, business rates, insurance and full repairing lease costs.
- Business capital. Do you have some funding of your own which you intend to use towards setup?. The setup cost is often based on forecasts and this does’not always go to plan. Therefore, it’s important to keep a reserve amount or have a plan for unexpected events.
- Kitchen equipment. List what equipment are needed and ensure these meet food standards agencies and insurance standards. Avoid going crazy buying every piece of equipment and utensils which you may not need now.
- Operational Staff. Think about your staffing requirements and ask whether any of it could be automated. This should only be considered if the returns are quick to ensure your money is not tied up long term.
- The route to Market. Think about the marketing strategy you would use to draw your potential customers and make it an ongoing process. Be Always aware of competitors move to stay ahead and use disruptive marketing to be different and offer customers greater value.
- Supply Chain. Think of everything from establishing links with good suppliers, sourcing and selecting ingredients, producing, packaging, storage and distribution.
- Build your business plan. This is your road-map which will give you and third parties looking at your model clarity of your plan to make informed decisions.
- Naming your business. With all the ignition checks coming together for your small food business idea, you are now ready to name your business. Keep the name short and relevant for everyone to understand what you are about instantly. This could be your name, a dish name popular to the area, the town name or something connected to the town or a region. The only time the name is not so important is if you are only intending to offer an online service.
- Operating legally. Register your business with Companies House, register with the (FSA)-Food Standards Agency, apply for necessary Permits & Insurance. Obtain necessary Licenses, be health & hygiene trained and implement health & safety policy. Register with Tax Office and keep Bank records in order.
- Announce your arrival. Think about how to let everyone know of your big day and get your welcome message out there. This could be through the local newspaper, social media, website or local radio.
Green Light-(confirmation of your decision to proceed)
- Build your business plan. This is your roadmap which will give you and third parties looking at your model clarity of your plan to make informed decisions.
- Naming your business. Keep it short and relevant if possible. This could be your name, a dish name popular to the area, the town name or something connected to the town or a region. The only time the name is not so important is if you are only intending to offer an online service.
- Announce your arrival. Think about how to let everyone know of your big day and get your welcome message out there. This could be through the local newspaper, social media, website or local radio and those you know.
- Opening day. Make a day of it with local radio, kids events and sampling.
- Building relationships. Connect with locals and always carry an infectious smile. This is your opportunity to showcase and get to know the neighbourhood and your future customers.
- Disruptive Marketing. Think about providing services that are not on offer with competitors.
- Communication. Create your presence on the web quickly and put aside a budget to promote business online. Stay wise and leverage the power of social media in your favour.
- Manage Money. Keep a close grip on your cash-flow and look to stay on plan in your first year without compromise and avoid credit.
Food business ideas and resources for your success
This is your space to check-in for helpful hints and tips. Help develop this site and engage and share inspiring ideas with others. If ever you need a hand or have any questions or wish to leave comments, feel free to leave them below and I promise to reply back.
Look out for the next posts.