Behind the scenes : Starting a food business

The decision to leave a comfortable job and begin an adventure in the food industry, as we have found, is a difficult one – the risk involved, the anti-social hours worked and the issues in working with fresh produce make it difficult to justify and actually do. There are endless articles offering help and advice on how to begin your food product journey.

 

In short there is no real formula to building a successful business. It’s important to remember that no-one can dictate how you should run your business, but you can listen and take on advice when needed.  That said, we have compiled a list of simple tips that might help you now or further on in your journey.

 

We’ve found there’s a real community and positivity existing in the food industry – so if you are thinking about beginning a food adventure of your own, please don’t hesitate to contact us for any advice. We hope we can inspire you to take the leap and start your own.

 

1.    Taste is paramount

Take the time to test your product on family, friends and your target audience at times they would like to eat or drink it. We took our granolas all over the UK from our makeshift breakfast cereal bar, which was invaluable in the development stage of our business. Make sure you listen to what they have to say and tweak your recipe and packaging until you have the utmost confidence in your product’s taste profile, ensuring it tastes so good that consumers will want to come back for more!

 

2.    Follow your gut

“Follow the textbooks, write a business plan, test it, and on the flip side, follow your gut” – Annie.

No matter how many years of experience you have in other industries, nothing prepares you for going it alone. Spoon has found that a whole load of important decisions have been made on instinct alone. There is no real formula to a successful business and your gut plays a huge role decision-making.

 

3.   Know your numbers

“The finances of your business will tell you at any time how things are going and will help you plan for the future – understanding them is fundamental to your success.” - Jonny

Knowing your numbers is key: you need to understand how margins work, be able to reel off a host of numbers to any potential investor, and manage your own finances well. The Sunday Times Start Up List 2015 suggests opening a business account to ease this process: “as much as it’s easier to use your personal account in the early days, it will complicate things when you sit down to file accounts”. If you aren’t good with numbers, make sure you know somebody who is.

 

3.    Optimism + passion

Spoon Cereals was the brainchild of co-founder Annie, a self-confessed cereal addict who was on the constant search for a healthy, quality bowl of cereal on her way to work in the mornings.

 

It is integral to have an idea that is important to you – something you really believe in. As the rollercoaster of the start-up journey goes from packaging woes to nationwide roll-outs, it will be this passion and optimism that will keep you fuelled.

 

4.    Buyers

From food market and deli shop owners to large retail buyers, treat these guys as you would treat your customers face-to-face at a market stall. These are the ones that have the power to give you the opportunity that your business needs. Updates on company progress, new product development and any trends in your category should be sent to prospective and current buyers to keep them in the loop and engaged in your story.

 

5.    Digital marketing

Digital media as a great way to promote your products and brand story. It’s an incredible way to connect with everyone and it’s free. You can’t really argue with that.  We always come back to social and digital media as a tool. That said, food is there to be enjoyed on a tangible level and when it comes to making sales no amount of instagram ‘food porn’ will beat getting your product into your customers mouths. 


Spoon {behind the scenes}: about

The behind the scenes series is a documentary of our business’ journey, a transparent snapshot into what we do and how we make it work. We hope that the honest reflections will show the rewards and challenges of our business, perhaps even inspiring others to begin their own start-up journey.