The ‘R’ word.


This is the first of what will hopefully be many exciting posts. This blog is for documenting the nuts ‘n’ bolts of what goes into launching and branding a business. So let’s jump right in, shall we?

Research was the theme of this week but is a permanent component for any entrepreneur. Like many, where to even look is half the battle and not knowing where to search is one of the most agonizing struggles that a small business person faces. With a small to no budget pinpointing target audience, what real costs are and/or will be, etc., is to say the least daunting especially when you don’t have a “background” in market research.

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What we learned is that asking about who we are as consumers is a great way to find a target market.

What kind of customer are you?

Where do you shop?

Why do you shop there?

What is your starting point for finding a particular product you need and why?

What drives you to buy things?

What makes you spend?

What makes you hold back?

For example, then ask yourself ‘am I my target market/customer?’  You may very well not be.  If no, then figure out what your opposite does if you are your customer then you know where to start looking and targeting. Knowing who to get your product to and how to woo them is of paramount importance. In the specialty foods market and more particularly the mass market of hot sauces and marinades it is key!

What is nice about getting into a food-based business is that there are a lot of tangibles, many of which are quite tasty, to work with so it is easier to put a value on things.  For a right-brainer like me, this is restricting but in a good way as we tend to get lost in the bells and whistles and forget the metal it takes to make them.

ENTREPRENEURS: Know your costs, know your costs, know your costs.

Make as many scenarios as you can and don’t forget the paper clips. Who pays this cost, you (profit loss) or the customer? Since what we offer in intimacy we lose in volume we have to know how each move affects the product. The finance whiz of the team is left-brainer that takes all the fun out of starting the new business. You know who I mean, the one who hops on your cloud nine and brings a hail storm with all his reality and “that’s too expensive” and “the cost, the cost, the cost”. Listen to this guy or gal. And if you don’t have one, get one.

In any business logistics are very important and especially so in a culinary enterprise. Logistics such as locations. Where are you going to produce?

Can you produce there?

Do you have your licenses?

To inject some real time into this post, we are looking for a kitchen. We are calculating how many batches of hot sauce can be produced hourly and comparing it with the cost to rent a space hourly vs. monthly.

When does it make sense to spend in anticipation of larger volumes?

Do you prefer to play a game of catch up or take more risk beforehand?

In these three important areas — target market, cost and logistics, are a heavy need for research. The internet is obviously a amazing resource and a quick search can return tomes of robust and authoritative websites with great information. We intend to post some in the links section of this blog. Here in Toronto, the public library is beyond amazing for books and workshops on every area of this topic. Regardless of your city, your local library is probably the most underused tool in your research arsenal. Then there is the old fashioned asking people. With everyone living life wired to some sort of data device, we tend to forget the wealth of information that people have. Among entrepreneurs, you will find a certain camaraderie and sharing of experience that can be a goldmine of information. Talk a walk and ask around.

Successes & Setbacks for week ending December 15th, 2012:

Successes

Registering FlavourFull Creations as a business in Ontario.

Documenting all of the overhead costs and how they affect the price of 1 batch of hot sauce.

Found a commercial kitchen that rents hourly in my neighbourhood.

Graphic designer is in the process of working on my labels

Launch for Etsy store in 2013 is on schedule.

Setbacks

Commercial Kitchen is driving up the cost per bottle of the hot sauce past a desirable point.

Stay tuned…and please Comment, Like & Follow

Mama FlavourFull

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