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The Customer Is Always Right (Or, At Least They Are The Ones Who Pay You)

The Customer Is Always Right (Or, At Least They Are The Ones Who Pay You)

Food businesses should align their products and branding with their target consumers and should use market research to understand what the marketplace is asking for. Acquiring and keeping customers is what drives successful businesses and customers’ preferences must be met in order to have a financially viable business. Customers may not always seem to make the “right” choices from every food business owner’s perspective. However, at the end of the day, customers are how you get paid.

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Jonny Hunter Of Underground Food Collective On Thinking Bigger in the Food System

Jonny Hunter Of Underground Food Collective On Thinking Bigger in the Food System

Jonny Hunter, one of the founders of the Underground Food Collective, talks about the Collective’s growing as a series of horizontally integrated businesses. Their business model works because of infrastructure like a centralized production facility behind them to support their interrelated retail and manufacturing/processing businesses in an efficient manner across multiple product lines (meat, baking, pasta, fermented products) and multiple retail outlets (restaurants, events, butcher shops). He wishes that values around local and sustainable food could be used to create systems that have scalable efficiencies that are affordable to consumers and advocates for working together to build and sustain the infrastructure that would support processing and other means to scale up the local food system.

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Focus And Discipline Are Key To Food Business Success

Focus And Discipline Are Key To Food Business Success

Focus is hard to come by nowadays. In physical grocery stores, food consumers have so many choices in nearly every category, and food and beverage entrepreneurs trying to reach consumers have to consider that the general food consumer is overwhelmed by their choices and ultimately has very little time to interact with unfamiliar food and beverage brands. Focus is what gives food business owners clarity about their strategy and about the tactics needed to carry it out. When we work with food and beverage clients, we use tools like the business model canvas to provide focus and clarity to their business model and the strategic implications of choosing a particular business model path or going after a particular target customer.

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Edible-Alpha™ Podcast Episode #21 – A Steady, Slow Growth Path For Quince and Apple’s Niche Domination

Edible-Alpha™ Podcast Episode #21 – A Steady, Slow Growth Path For Quince and Apple’s Niche Domination

Matt and Clare Stoner Fehsenfeld are the married duo behind Quince and Apple, a national brand of small-batch, well-balanced preserves that are often paired with cheese and charcuterie. When they started their business, they realized that because they have a labor-intensive, artisanal product, their best strategy was not to compete on quantity or price. Instead, they chose to compete by dominating an emerging niche (pairing their products with specialty cheeses) while telling the defensibly unique story of their brand’s artisanal processes.

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Taking Investment in Your Food Business Changes Your Business (And You)

Taking Investment in Your Food Business Changes Your Business (And You)

Food entrepreneurs themselves often feel changed when taking outside investor capital. They feel the weight of the responsibility of paying back those investors with a return. They often work even harder than they were before because others are sharing the risk with them and are emotionally invested in their business as well. Understanding and accepting the responsibility that comes with taking investor money, when taken from the right people at the right time, can allow food entrepreneurs to grow their impact in ways they could not do on their own.

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Edible-Alpha™ Podcast Episode #20 – How Love The Wild Built A National Brand For Frozen Farmed Fish

Edible-Alpha™ Podcast Episode #20 – How Love The Wild Built A National Brand For Frozen Farmed Fish

Love The Wild CEO Jacqueline Claudia managed a fish farm before launching Love the Wild with co-founder Christy Brouker in 2014 to fill the gap in the market for convenient, delicious and environmentally friendly, freshly frozen seafood. The knowledgeable food entrepreneur community in Boulder helped Jacqueline understand the realistic path to building a national food brand, including meeting investor expectations and how much money it would take to grow the company’s top-line sales. Love the Wild is in the current cohort of companies in the Chobani incubator and counts Leonardo DiCaprio as an investor.

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Both The Results and The Process Matter For Your Food Business

Both The Results and The Process Matter For Your Food Business

Food businesses need both process and results-oriented people and the healthy tension their (sometimes conflicting) orientations create. Both kinds of people seek to understand the financial reality about their business performance. Good financial staff ground themselves in the truth of writing their assumptions down, seeing if those assumptions were true and learning as a result. Good food entrepreneurs do the same but also ground themselves in the truth of their customers, where they are headed, and thus, where the good business opportunities lie.

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Edible-Alpha™ Podcast Episode #19, Part 2 – Refining Your Processes and Building Great Financial Packages For Your Food Business

Edible-Alpha™ Podcast Episode #19, Part 2 – Refining Your Processes and Building Great Financial Packages For Your Food Business

There is value in having a process for financial management and fine-tuning it as you learn more about your business. For example, if you project your needed cash or total sales based on a specific set of assumptions and track it accordingly, you can see how accurate you were and get better at projecting as a result. The more you have the ability to analyze what went right or wrong, the more useful your financial model and plan are to making business decisions. Being able to have both an accurate history and a record of making realistic projections that were met can give entrepreneurs credibility with lenders, investors and the business’ board of directors.

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Chocolaterian Café – Financing Growth Into A Second Retail Location

Chocolaterian Café – Financing Growth Into A Second Retail Location

Chocolaterian Café, a successful growing business with (now) two locations, is a third place between work and home that specializes in dessert and wine. Founder and owner Leanne Cordisco wanted to remove existing debt, buy out a business partner AND build a second location. Expense projections were reaching $800,000 and doubts were beginning to arise as Cordisco had yet to learn that growth isn’t two times the money and time, but rather three times or more. Cordisco estimated that FFI’s Tera Johnson saved her two months of work and $8,000 to $10,000 in fees through her advice, experience and expansive network of private investors, bankers, an attorney and a Wisconsin SBDC financial expert (Dan Lemmer).

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Building The Right Team Financial Team For Your Food Business

Building The Right Team Financial Team For Your Food Business

Behind every great food entrepreneur is a great financial team, whether that team is employed by the business directly or through an outsourcing method. Building that team helps the entrepreneur, management and board make informed decisions and allows the business’ key stakeholders to focus on growing their customer base and strengthening their brand. Ultimately, that is what leads to financial success.

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