Ready To Start A Food Business? One Founder’s Tips by Brady Stewart
So, you are considering starting a specialty food company? You’ve seen them at farmer’s markets, boutique stores, specialty food shops and even at the grocery store. Whether it’s pickles, hot sauces, kombucha or jellies/jams, it seems like everywhere one looks, there’s a new and creative craft food item. Like a lot of people, you’ve probably thought at some point “I could do that” or “I have a great recipe” or even “Could I make money doing that?”
BUSINESS Know Your Regulations
As someone who has started his own specialty food business and is still in the throes of expanding and building a small business, I get asked, “How did you get started?” For this reason, I decided to share some of my insights and experience about what it’s like to start a specialty food business in Northern Colorado.
You will need to understand that there are regulations and taxes. Even in a business-friendly and creatively open state like Colorado, this is true. That being said, this can vary wildly. Luckily there are multiple resources you can find online and from government agencies. You can also contact a food company with a similar product. People are usually more than willing to help. My recommendation would be to apply for a federal tax number and form an LLC. The rest will depend on your product and its potential market.
Know and Love Your Product
Know Your Target Customers
This should go without saying. Food should be a passion and a food business should be no different. This is not a “get rich quick” scheme. It should be something one enjoys doing, in which one takes much pride. Also, people in Colorado know and love food and know what is good. They’ll know if something is less than qualitative. This fact can also be a “positive” as people in Northern Colorado are open to new, creative and quality products.
This took me a while to grasp. To whom will you be marketing and selling your product? This isn’t always just “people who eat”. Is your product for people who like to try new things? People who like a convenience factor in their food? People who enjoy buying local? Determine your target market. I learned my “target customers” are people interested in cooking who are looking for new flavors and who enjoy a locally made product.