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Insights Newsletter

Consider That Unconventional Market

Consider That Unconventional Market

The best food entrepreneurs know which markets they should be in and optimize for. If they have a niche product, they should only be in markets and channels where their product will get traction and will be supported by the store and the store’s customers. But, in the absence of all the data entrepreneurs need to fully understand their customer (including sales data), it may not be clear where is the best market for their products. While most shoppers still get the bulk of their food from brick and mortar grocery stores, we encourage food entrepreneurs to think outside the box in terms of how they reach customers, including unconventional markets if their location or customer data suggests it is a good idea.

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Your Food Business Needs Multiple Strategies

Your Food Business Needs Multiple Strategies

In starting and supporting a growing food business, strategy should inform every action the entrepreneur takes. Business strategy, at a high level, is informed by the smaller strategies of the different elements of the business model. And, the strategy governs the actions taken by food entrepreneurs to meet their business goals. This doesn’t mean that food entrepreneurs need long or rigid strategic plans. But, entrepreneurs need to define and put constraints on their actions so that they focus on what is important in growing their business at that time.

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Why Financial Technical Assistance Is Key To Food Entrepreneurs’ Success

Why Financial Technical Assistance Is Key To Food Entrepreneurs’ Success

Access to high quality financial technical assistance is the biggest gap in accelerating the growth and success of more good food and beverage companies. Companies can transform, grow and thrive when they have access to this kind of assistance and when the founders surround themselves with the right people, including technical assistance providers. Smart people who start food businesses often hit the ground running but haven’t necessarily had the time or experience to fully understand their financial situation or come up with a concrete game plan for fundraising and financial management. Meaningful financial technical assistance can transform food businesses for the better, allowing them to grow and thrive.

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Food Entrepreneurs: Investor Due Diligence is Good For You

Food Entrepreneurs: Investor Due Diligence is Good For You

Because food businesses tend to grow in a stairstep function rather than incrementally, most food businesses need to raise outside funding to be viable and profitable. It can be a daunting and grueling process to raise capital while also trying to develop new products, acquire new customers and hire employees; thus, we have found even the best entrepreneurs need help to do it right. Investor due diligence can help entrepreneurs to mature their businesses into viable enterprises because the due diligence process forces them to get clear and articulate about how they make money and their goals.

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Your Food Business’ Capital Needs Change Over Time

Your Food Business’ Capital Needs Change Over Time

The need for outside capital never goes away in food businesses – it just changes as the business changes. Getting proper financing for growing food businesses is one of the most challenging obstacles food business owners face. This is due in large part to the high bar for fundraising and financial communication when growing a food business. And, there are often many sources of capital that need to be brought together to adequately fund the growth of these food businesses. This food funding ecosystem is diverse, with many funders having differing expectations about business outcomes and the business owner’s responsibility or obligation to them as a funder. The money is there, if you show up with the right stuff and know where to look! To finance and grow profitable food businesses, entrepreneurs need to be able to navigate the expectations of these capital sources and understand at what stage they could be most useful.

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Your Food Business Has A Life Of Its Own

Your Food Business Has A Life Of Its Own

While businesses go through “growth spurts”, the life of a business that is built to last is a marathon, not a sprint. Business owners that slowly build capacity and continuously respond to the needs of their core consumers can grow sustainably and thrive even over long periods of time and in today’s competitive marketplace. Being aware of those growth and life cycles can help entrepreneurs put their current activities in a context that helps them make decisions that meet both their personal and business goals.

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Your Relationships With Your Customers Are Your Food Business’ Biggest Asset

Your Relationships With Your Customers Are Your Food Business’ Biggest Asset

In a marketplace with rapidly changing food preferences, restrictions, diets and ethical concerns around food production, one of your biggest challenges is figuring out how to deliver a product that solves enough problems for the right customers while building a strong relationship with them. Food entrepreneurship is a stressful endeavor, full of obstacles and roadblocks. No entrepreneur does it alone, and in addition to having a great team at the governance and management levels, the best food entrepreneurs develop deep enough relationships with their customers so that their customers become deeply invested in the company’s success.

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Great Food Entrepreneurs Are Always Learning

Great Food Entrepreneurs Are Always Learning

We have found that the best entrepreneurs are constantly seeking new learning experiences. This includes getting constant feedback from their customers, to reaching out to potential mentors for advice, to attending industry events and tradeshows to network with and learn from their peers and industry veterans. Sometimes, learning means “un-learning” something these entrepreneurs thought was essential to their business when they launched, whether their packaging or messaging or even their original business model. In short, good food entrepreneurs learn to adapt and know that some of their original assumptions will be proven wrong as they validate their products in the market.

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Where Does My Food Brand Need To “Be”?

Where Does My Food Brand Need To “Be”?

There are wide variety of tools and marketplaces to reach customers for today’s food brands. And, sometimes the ideal distribution path looks different than the entrepreneur intended when they started the business. The brands that survive today’s marketplace will be making decisions about distribution and channels of delivery with their customers’ expectations and preferences center stage.

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