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Darren Wingfield

Darren Wingfield

Commercial Manager

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6 tips on how to develop a Food & Drink business

Posted on 10/12/19  |  3 Minutes
Worker quality checking boxes of stock

Developing a food and drink business can be a real challenge. Many of them fail in the very early days and much of this is down to not being in a position to develop and grow. Getting the basics right is a starting point, but a food and drink business needs to know where to take it next. Keeping your head above water is only possible for a short period of time. Moving to the next level is where the real challenge comes in. Here are our 6 tips on how to develop a food and drink business –

Peppers being dropped into water

1 – Understand your market

This might sound like a basic but getting the basics right is the starting point for success. There are several factors at play here, as different segments of the market look for something from their providers, such as –

  • Some want to know the calorific content of what they are eating
  • Others will look for the provenance of the food
  • Taste is the significant issues for others
  • Price is another factor at play

So, you should think about who you want to target, what is important to them and how you can convey this message. If you know your market, then you know the scope of this for the future.

2 – Have a business plan 

Building a food and drink business can come about from small scale to growth in a short period of time. Initial success may come as a surprise. Don’t let the next level come as a surprise too.

Having a solid and adaptable business plan will help you to see the potential in your business, the ways you can grow and the threats to this too. At Harlands we help small businesses to see the opportunities in front of them and develop robust plans and forecasts to make this happen. Speak to us and find out how we can help you to build for the future.

3 – Think about the finance before you need it 

Cup of coffee

There may come a time where you need access to funding to take your business to the next level. Waiting until that day arrives shows a lack of foresight and can cause you problems. Thinking about this as part of your preparation means that you get things off on the right foot and have the plans in place to access finance on your terms.

We work with strategic partners to explore these avenues and find the best results for you, so speak to us and find out how we can set the scene that protects and supports your financial future.

4 – Understand the regulations

The food and drink industry is one of the most heavily regulated industries in the UK. These rules and regulations are there to protect consumers. They can put an extra burden on a food and drink business. If you don’t understand what is required of you here, then the consequences could prove costly.

You should spend some quality time looking at the legislation that covers the industry as a whole and anything specific to your food and drink business. Staying on the right side of the law is definitely the way to go with this.

5 – Take one step at a time 

Burger and chips meal

You could easily look at the way another food and drink business looks from the outside and be mistaken that they achieved success overnight. But developing products and finding new markets takes time. Some products see constant promotion as a way to break through. Others start small and get bigger slowly.

And this may be the right way for your food and drink business to go. Taking a step at a time, rather than trying to break all markets at once, is more often than not the right way to progress. Your local market is the best place to start. Growth from there will be easier with a solid base.

6 – Look for professional help

As you grow, there will be some aspects of your business where you need professional help. A business mentor, some marketing support or accountancy advice are three of the areas where many food and drink businesses look for professional help. If there are parts of your business that you don’t understand or need some support in, then go out there and get it.

Developing a food and drink business is a challenge that isn’t for the fainthearted. We hope our tips help you to move in the right direction.