Starting your own food business is both exciting and difficult. And that means it will take equal parts enthusiasm and strategic thinking.
We’ve been able to see and help so many people with the launch, growth, and movement of their food businesses. No matter the type of food business, there are so many different areas and stages to keep track of, from inventory management to legal paperwork. While each business’ needs are unique, there are definitely some overlapping procedures that just about every food business will have to plan for. So we’ve created a helpful “Prep List” to consider before you cut the red tape and launch your new food business.
For starters, having a highly detailed business plan will save you all sorts of time and money. And no, it doesn’t take an advanced college degree, experience, or any form of magic. Think of this as your map. Your business plan will keep you grounded and on the right course. As opportunities arise, you may wonder which way to go. Having this grounding mechanism will help you visualize which one is the most relevant/beneficial opportunity to take. Your plan should have a thorough consideration of the numbers. Expenses, desired revenue, sales averages for your industry and your area must be included so you have a better idea of what you’re getting into. Chance favors the prepared. The more specific you can get the better. Work with what you know and do your research and your future self will thank this business planning self.
Starting a food truck? Have a new “on-the-shelf” product for a grocery store? Running a plot of land to sell produce? You’re going to have needs for all sorts of supplies. A simple tip is to keep these to a minimum in terms of how much you need to run the business, but the pro tip tells you to get to know suppliers early and research who you’d like to purchase from. Doing this will essentially help you find the most effective resource for running your day to day. You may even find that by shopping around, you’ll be able to negotiate with the one you want in order to win their business.
Scale/Scope in Waves
This typically requires the above two steps before you can answer: Do you need to unroll your business at 100%, firing on all cylinders and at maximum capacity right now? Or can you roll out your food business as a sort of “test” or soft-opening at a smaller scale? This largely depends on what your vision is for the business but also what you’re currently resourced with. If you’re thinking to roll out as big as possible, but don’t have the ability or resources to do that right away, consider leveling your business up gradually as you hit performance benchmarks (25%, 50%, 75%, and 100%). This will allow you time to tighten up other areas that may be unforeseen currently and get a stronger handle on success before you go forward with massive purchase orders and logistics.
We might be a bit biased here, but we can’t ignore this part. Like any business, there are plenty of risks when you launch a food business. Having a savvy and experienced legal partner to help you through every stage can make all the difference. We’ve had the pleasure of saving our clients’ money in certain areas, gain sleep with peace of mind, and even grow their business creatively because they didn’t have to occupy their minds with legal ramifications – we did it for them because we’re good at it. Adding ‘legal’ to your budget and working within our subscription based service puts their lawyer in thier pocket without having to worry about the ticking clock. We provide legal assistance by joining their team and being there for every important decision affecting their business’ success.
There are plenty more preparations you can make before you start your food business but checking these boxes off your list will be a great first step. Having a food law expert on your speed dial can help give you peace of mind.
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