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How Your Food Business Can Build Great Financial Systems

How Your Food Business Can Build Great Financial Systems

Dan Lemmer of the Wisconsin SBDC’s capital access team talks about building great financial systems and realistic projections for food, beverage and value-added agriculture businesses. From the entrepreneur’s perspective, the most important thing when using an accounting package is to ensure accurate setup and data entry so that they are able to produce accurate financial statements. Dan cautions entrepreneurs to only track the information they plan to use. One of the biggest decisions entrepreneurs make in setting up their financial systems is figuring out how much to outsource vs. do in-house. While entrepreneurs need to understand their financial statements and financial drivers, they can often have an outside person come in monthly or quarterly to help take on the more complicated accounting and tax issues, including adjusting journal entries. Then, once the business grows, they can hire someone in-house to help them manage that process as well as help with financial analysis and projection.

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Kill Your Darlings: Food and Beverage Business Evolution

Kill Your Darlings: Food and Beverage Business Evolution

Some entrepreneurs are uncomfortable with their business idea or product evolving as their business develops. However, most entrepreneurs start out trying to implement one idea, only to get feedback from consumers that the real business opportunity is in a different product, category or maybe even a different business model. As entrepreneurs develop new products and new business models, they are constantly learning what works and what doesn’t through rigorous testing with their target consumer. In this sense, change doesn’t have to mean compromising core values but rather recognizing that there are multiple paths to achieving the business’ goals of profitability and impact.

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Tera Johnson receives Chancellor’s Wisconsin Idea Award

Tera Johnson receives Chancellor’s Wisconsin Idea Award

MADISON – Tera Johnson, founder of the Food Finance Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Extension’s Division for Business & Entrepreneurship, was honored Sept. 21 with the 2017 Wisconsin Idea Award from UW Colleges and UW-Extension. The annual Chancellor’s Awards (see full list of winners) recognize partners, supporters and employees for their outstanding contributions to the […]

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Food Business Brands Evolve With The Consumer

Food Business Brands Evolve With The Consumer

Sara Parthasarathy and Partha Sabniviss, the married couple behind Flavor Temptations, an organic Indian recipe pack brand which includes a traditional Indian recipe with the exact amounts of fresh, organic spices needed to cook the recipe. Originally branded as Ethnic Spicery, they changed their brand name to Flavor Temptations to fully communicate the joyful, family-building experience of making memories through Indian cooking so that their brand resonated more deeply with their target consumer. They also changed their packaging to match their brand promise, better share their values and to stand out on grocery store shelves.

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Your Place Can Shape Your Food Business Model Path

Your Place Can Shape Your Food Business Model Path

Different food business models have paths i.e. divergent roads that entrepreneurs can choose to follow to achieve their business goals. Choosing one means saying no to another, at least initially, as each path has different scale requirements and requires different levels and sources of capitalization. In rural areas with low levels of population, it is especially hard to have food or beverage businesses locally produce their products for a purely local consumer base simply because there are not enough consumers to sustain the business. This necessitates finding a path that makes sense for businesses in these areas.

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The Capital Conundrum of Rural Economic Development

The Capital Conundrum of Rural Economic Development

The USDA’s programs serve not just agricultural producers but also rural businesses and rural people more broadly since farmers need strong small-town economies, institutions and infrastructure. This includes programs meant to incentivize and leverage private dollars for investment in rural areas. However, there is a big need to educate investors and entrepreneurs about realistic opportunities for investment and business development in rural America to leverage private as well as public dollars for the good of rural America.

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Execution Matters More Than Your Big, Brilliant Idea

Execution Matters More Than Your Big, Brilliant Idea

Entrepreneurship and the “Eureka” moment where the entrepreneur has their big, brilliant idea is often glorified in the media and American mythology. “Eureka” moments are certainly important, and products need to be innovative and defensibly unique in order to stand out in today’s marketplace. But, what is more difficult is figuring out how to execute on that idea by building the right team/processes and optimizing every aspect of the business for long-term financial success.

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Midwestern BioAg and The Business of Biological Farming

Midwestern BioAg and The Business of Biological Farming

Biological farming is treating your farm like an ecosystem and preserving the long-term health of the soil. Midwestern BioAg is a company that provides farmers with consulting and products (mostly inputs) that help their farm’s yields, resiliency and profitability by using biological farming methods i.e. treating your farm like an ecosystem and preserving the long-term health of the soil. While the company started focused on small dairy producers (50-400 cows in a herd), their customers now include large farms and vegetable producers.

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What’s Your Story? Speaking To Your Audiences’ Needs

What’s Your Story? Speaking To Your Audiences’ Needs

Everyone has a story to tell, and food businesses are no different. Food businesses need to cater their stories to the audience they are speaking to. With consumers, this means developing in-depth personas about your target customer and using the language that speaks directly to their unmet need. When speaking to funders, entrepreneurs need to tell the story of their business model, their revenue model, and their brand positioning i.e. the story they reinforce with consumers.

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Yumbutter – Clarifying A Business Model Path and Building a National Brand

Yumbutter – Clarifying A Business Model Path and Building a National Brand

Yumbutter’s Adrian Reif and Matt D’Amour wanted to change the business landscape but realized creating a movement of real change was an immense task. The Food Finance Institute helped D’Amour and Reif with navigating their business model path options in achieving the right growth and scale as well as securing financing. FFI’s Tera Johnson said, “I helped to clarify their business model path early on and aided them in understanding the process of becoming a national brand so they could sustainably achieve their commendable mission.” Yumbutter hopes to become a household name offering nutritious foods in a variety of categories while maintaining its vision of being the world’s most responsible food company.

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