The UK is home to many amazing food and drinks brands, creating your product is one thing, making it a success is the tricky bit,
This blog will guide you through the points you need to consider to keep your business on track, especially as you grow, and build your resilience to market pressures, environmental impacts and all the other things that are out of your control.
Standing out from the crowd is difficult, especially in food and drink. There are low barriers to entry to the food and drink market, and almost anyone with passion and a little bit of skill can get in on the act, but not everyone can stay there.
Consumers are becoming more savvy to what they’re buying and what they’re eating these days, and many will support smaller artisan producers, thinking they are better quality, better for them, and they get the feel good factor of supporting local. But they can only do that if their favourite chutney producer or chocolate maker are still in business, and in the places they need them to be. Therefore, follow these steps to build a successful and resilient business.
1. Keep an eye on the costs
In the early days, it is easy to lose sight of the pennies, or even the pounds, but as your business grows and volume increases, any small cost implications or improvements can all add up. Having a handle on your costs (and YES, even that 1g of salt!) from the beginning will give you the foundation on which to build your business. There is very little opportunity to make more profit as you grow, other than more volume, but plenty of opportunity to spend it!
2. Try to remain objective
Running your own business is like having a baby, and you think it is the best thing ever! It may well be but remember others may have a different view. Something you think is important may not actually be important to the end consumer and potentially something they are not prepared to pay extra for. Keep asking yourself who your target market is, what are they like, where do they hang out, what is important to them?
3. Know your numbers
Understanding what ‘good’ looks like isn’t just about the amount of money you’ve made that week. Knowing patterns to sales, comparing year on year will help you do this, and what you thought was a bad week could turn out to be a good one by comparison, basically don’t compare apples with oranges. Try to forecast so you have something to measure success by, and if you’re not hitting your planned numbers, what were the reasons, and what could you do differently. Remember, it’s not just about value sales through the till; volume sales, profit (both percentage and actual £), stock holding are just as valuable to a business owner.
4. Plan ahead
Understand what’s coming up, how could it impact production, can you keep up with demand? Plan for slow periods also, making sure you don’t have excess stock and generate waste, depending on the shelf life of your product. Can you order more of the same ingredient by looking further ahead, and potentially reduce costs through bulk buys?
5. What is next?
Many industries are very fast moving, no more so than the food industry and its easy to get left behind. What is your next in your development plan, and always ask the questions: ‘why am I doing this?’ ‘who am I doing this for?’ If you can answer these with clear, rational thinking, the chances are it’s a good idea!
Having worked for a large manufacturing company for 15 years, supplying the major retailers, getting any of these things wrong can result in a loss of time, money, relationships and sometimes business. There will always be someone else waiting to grab your customers when you get it wrong, so don’t give them the chance! Get it right from the start and be one of the success stories.
Of course, every business is different, and there are many other areas of a food and drink business to be explored to keep you resilient, especially as you grow. These include getting your range right, knowing your competition, scaling up, profit optimisation and exploring new markets. To find out more about what CJC can support you with, visit my website https://cj-consultancy.com/ and book a free 30 minute Discovery Call on the contact page.