Proven Marketing Plan for a Home Based Food Producing Business
Most folks who start a business in the food production niche are passionate about what
they are doing. They either love to cook certain items, or have found a unique set of items
that they believe will fill a void in the marketplace. Unfortunately, the best chefs often
lack the necessary marketing skills to make the business work. This is why over 90 percent
of entrepreneurs in the home based food industry fail, so I have written this second article
for my cooking friends. This article will lay out a sales plan that will help you build a
market for your tasty merchandise.
Marketing Your Products Successfully in Three Areas
It is important that you strive to build a market in different marketing arenas. Too
many small businesses go under because they did not diversify their client base. By building
a comprehensive marketing strategy you are selling through several different venues. Often
business owners have told me they were surprised because what they were most excited about
failed, but what they figured would be a few sales were many in another area of the market.
Establish Yourself in the Marketplace
There are traditional ways to establish your business in the general market place. Use
business cards, fliers, pamphlets, direct mailings, door hangings, newspaper ads, signs, radio
ads, and word of mouth to spread the news of your new business. There are also associations
you can join. The National Association for the Specialty Food Trade is a great way to network
and connect with customers and vendors.
Market to Local Stores and Restaurants (Five Basic Steps)
1. Build a list of local independent food retail stores and independent restaurants in
your area. Try to find ones within a reasonable distance that might be interested in your
products; especially ones that state that they sometimes use or carry local products. Find
out who owns that business and if possible who does the purchasing for them.
2. Write up a bulk wholesale price list for your products. Consider giving way free or
reduced priced samples. In general you want this bulk wholesale price to be as low as you can
possible make it. Of course, you don't want to lose money or end up working for free, but getting
some of your products at local venues will likely mean the success or failure of your business.
Make a profession brochure, or catalog with your wholesale pricing on it. This will be something
you can give out to potential buyers.
3. Make contact by phone or if possible in person. Ask to speak with someone who handles
the purchases. If appropriate the owner is usually best. Tell them that you have reason to
believe that your products would be a good fit for them. If possible offer to use their name
on some of your advertising. This will help brand both of you and add value to the relationship.
Ask if you can set up an appointment to discuss your product list and drop off some samples.
If they are willing to set some time aside you now have your foot in the door.
4. When you go to the appointment go over all your marketing materials and pricing. You
will need to convince the person making the decision that your product is good fit for their
restaurant or store. You must present yourself as an expert in the niche you are marketing
in. Let them know how you are going to brand your products and the success you expect to see.
When you go to the appointment bring lots of samples. Also lots of business cards and pamphlets-
even if you don't make the sale you will likely get some referrals if you ask for them.
5. Depending on the size of the client they will usually take some time to make a decision.
Be confident, but not pushy. Most established businesses will have a contract for you, or you
can make one to present to them. For many small businesses it only takes a few ongoing contracts
to keep the business up and running.