Looking to grow your Food & Drink business? Dreaming of global domination? We asked the FDReviews team to come up with a few tips for scaling up...
Scaling a food and drink business is an ambitious feat that requires careful planning and execution. As you embark on this journey, it's important to keep in mind several key factors, including product development, production, marketing, sales, financial management, and customer service. With the right approach, you can achieve long-term growth and success.
Be under no illusion, you are going to need time and budget to get your product onto retailers’ shelves. Here are some basic ideas & knowledge sharing from the team at FDReviews.com for scaling your food and drink business…
1. To start, focus on product development. Take time to conduct thorough market research to identify trends and gaps in the market. Consider collaborating with other businesses, such as food bloggers or chefs, to create new product ideas. But remember, seeing a market opportunity doesn't guarantee success. Seek out experienced advice along this journey and visit delis, farm shops, and trade shows to see what competitors are doing.
2. Next, improve your production process. As your business grows, you may need to invest in new equipment or production facilities to keep up with demand. Look for ways to streamline your production process, such as implementing automation or outsourcing certain tasks. But remember, it's not always wise to build your own facility until you are financially sound, and your idea is proven, and you have customers. Equally, ensure your packaging design and ingredients declaration is legally compliant and easy to understand for consumers.
3. A strong marketing strategy is also crucial for scaling a food and drink business. Identify your target audience and create a marketing plan that includes social media, email marketing, ecommerce, and direct sales to reach them. Collaborating with influencers or food bloggers can also promote your products and gain exposure.
4. To expand your sales channels, consider selling your products through e-commerce platforms, such as Amazon or Etsy (?), or partnering with retailers to get your products into stores. Attend trade shows or events to network with potential customers and partners. But before visiting retailers, understand their margins, costs, and upfront fees they will expect. And ensure you have the necessary certifications like BRC and others.
5. As you scale, managing your finances is crucial. Have a solid financial plan in place to ensure that you have the resources you need to grow. Consider seeking funding from investors or applying for small business loans to help with capital expenditures. Also, look at crowdfunding opportunities and local grants that exist for farm-to-fork brands.
6. Maintaining a focus on customer service is also vital. Ensure that your products meet customer expectations and be responsive to customer feedback and complaints. Consider implementing a loyalty program to reward your most loyal customers and encourage repeat business. Remember, just because you gain a listing does not mean you will stay. 90% of new brands fail within the first 2 years.
7. Last but not least, hire the right team. Scaling a food and drink business requires a team with diverse skills and expertise. Look for individuals who are passionate about your product and have experience in areas such as sales, marketing, production, and finance. You may need to bring in experts to lead and steer your objectives. Consider NEDs at the very beginning to help you. You can also outsource certain tasks, such as accounting or social media management, to free up time for other aspects of your business. Sadly, in so many startups you have to recognise weaknesses early on and say goodbye to friends and family if their skills do not match your growth plans or skill sets required.
In conclusion, scaling a food and drink business requires a combination of product development, production, marketing, sales, financial management, and customer service. By focusing on these key areas, you can create a successful and sustainable business that meets the needs of your target customers and achieves long-term growth.
This article by FDReviews and was published in Virgin Start-Up magazine in April 2023.
Want to know how FDReviews can support your product development?
Email us at email@example.com or call our founders Stephen Minall on 07734 454252 or Austen Bushrod on 07714 837314.