As a business start-up, there is a long list of things you need to think about and do before your product can be launched onto a shelf. If you don’t know where to start, take a look at the following pointers.
Before you can consider starting a business, entrepreneurs will need to find a source of funding. One of the first steps is to create a comprehensive business plan; this includes working out the cost of developing the product and how much it will cost to trade in the first couple of years, amongst many other factors. The business plan may be seen by investors, the government and banks, so the document must well thought-out and researched. If you aren’t starting the business using money that has been saved or inherited, its likely to come in the form of a grant, loan, bank funding or crowdsourcing.
Conducting consumer research and profiling the group of individuals who are likely to purchase your product is a vital part of the development stage. By doing this, your product will be created and marketed to a specific target audience. This gives you a greater understanding of your market and provides the ability to tailor the product to suit. The more you understand the demographics of the target audience, the more likely it is that your product will appeal to them.
Likewise, the greater marketplace should be evaluated. Consider whether the market is growing. Is it already too saturated? Are there any barriers to entry? Does your product have enough differentiation? Are there patents or any licenses that you would need?
Conduct an external market analysis; a SWOT or PESTEL will be appropriate for this type of research.
For food and drink, there is an extensive amount of certification that is required. It is important to prove that the product you bring to the market is both safe for consumption and meets all the legal requirements.
Cost and Pricing
Having a firm handle on the cost involved to make the product is vital for breaking even or making a profit. The margins and costs need to be regularly evaluated throughout the process, to ensure you are staying on target and not overspending unnecessarily. The price you are going to be marketing your product at also needs to be at the forefront of your plan. By assessing the costs involved regularly throughout the process, you will avoid any nasty surprises at the end.
Brand differentiation comes in many forms, whether it’s the product itself, the packaging or the branding. Competition on a supermarket shelf is high, and your products need to stand out in some way.
Considering what packaging to use and the methods you will use to package your product is of utmost importance. Many food items are shrink wrapped to improve the shelf life, will you be purchasing your own shrink wrapping machinery? Or will you employ another company to package the items for you?
As previously mentioned, the legal requirements for a food and drink product are extensive. It is vital that your label provides the correct information about the product. For assistance with this, a food technologist or a Trading Standards Officer should be able to help you comply with the strict labelling regulations.
Having both a business and marketing plan will ensure you have carefully considered the future. It is worthwhile putting effort and time into the plans, as they will guide you in your future business decisions.
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