Starting a food related business cna be a huge undertakingbut here are some actionable steps to get started!
1. Concentrate on the product and keep it as basic as possible.
Make a start in your kitchen by making small quantities of your product and then going out to get people to test it. Because the product is king, spend the least amount of time feasible creating the rest (eg. branding, packaging, IP protection). I'm not suggesting that those things aren't essential, but they aren't your top focus at the outset. To be clear: when you first start out, you do not require a costly commercial kitchen or specialized equipment to get things going. Keep in mind that you must determine whether or not you can create a product that people want.
2. Begin selling from the very beginning and solicit feedback.
Sales are the best (and only) form of validation for your product. Start with the low-hanging fruit: your friends, coworkers, and neighbors are the greatest beta testers for your product. They are also the most affordable. Once you believe you have produced something that others would enjoy, set up a stand at a local market and sell your items to as many strangers as you can in order to expand your experiment.
3. Be obsessive about obtaining information.
Data serves as a guide to help you make well-informed decisions. Obtain the email addresses of all of the people who have tried your product. Once you've done that, create a basic survey (e.g., using Google Forms or Typeform) and distribute it to all of the people who have the opportunity to try your product. This is the only method to assure that you can enhance your product by collecting their input.
4. Take comments into consideration and be prepared to go back to the drawing board.
Consider donning your (best) "I won't take it personally" cap for the duration of this procedure. I get that this is your baby, but in order to be successful in this business you must create a product that people like using and (more crucially) want to continue purchasing. Upon completion of a new version, distribute it to all of your consumers and ask for more comments on it. You must be willing to "lose money in order to gain money": send samples, attend events to learn from other entrepreneurs, and take advantage of each opportunity to convey your story that comes your way.
5. Success is defined as selling while also creating your own tribe.
It is critical to embrace selling from the beginning of the process. Understandably, most food entrepreneurs are more at ease in their kitchens, but without sales, they are unable to continue to produce their products, isn't that correct? In the end, you're the most qualified person to market it... It's true that no one knows the recipe, how excellent the ingredients are that you use, and so on, better than you, when you think about it.
It is never too early to begin developing your community, so take the steps outlined below:
Gather the contact information of all of your beta testers, as well as the information of anybody else who will be using your products.
Create a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram page for your company and utilize it to showcase your accomplishments.
Concentrate on creating your network and nurturing it with loads of material on a daily basis (eg. pictures of your latest batch of goodies, quote from friends, article with the latest trend of your industry, interview of your favorite entrepreneur)
It is surprising how active and involved individuals become when they are provided with new information on social media every day.
Early on, consider issues of scalability and COGS (cost of goods sold): Having adequate manufacturing capacity (at the very least to fulfill their orders) and being able to give retailers attractive margins are essential for effectively approaching shops with your product offerings.
You shouldn't try to start whole new categories or go into super-new ones; it's far easier to make improvements to items that are already established. Make use of the attention generated by the large players in your advantage; teaching customers is typically a time-consuming and expensive endeavor.