how do I start a food product and sell it? So in this podcast, which we will upload onto our YouTube channel, we will also answer this question and give you some directions. If you were looking to create a food business and create a packaged food product, I'm going to give you several tips and pointers and direction on how to actually do that. So if you're brand new to marketing food online, definitely welcome to our YouTube channel. Hit the subscription button down below.
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You're going to get access to over a thousand videos here on marketing food online. And we have a handful of new channels that we're putting together as well for cottage food and food truck entrepreneurs as well. So let's jump right into it. The first thing you want to do is create a business plan. Now, of course, if you are brand new to being an entrepreneur, you may not even know what a business plan is, but to be honest with you, a very simplistic explanation of what a business plan is. You want to break down everything that you're going to do in your business. You're going to start with an executive summary encompassing everything that you're looking to do as far as product creation, knowing exactly what your market is, how you plan on selling it, how you're going to finance this company, this product, your packaging requirements, your e-commerce, and everything else in between.
It's basically going to give a vision of what you are looking to do, what you're going to create, and how you are going to sell that particular product. So, a business plan, no matter how small or how big your business is, is definitely something that you want to do to get started right off the bat. So, number two, you want to know the law. Now, this is going to be particular in regards to where exactly you're going to operate your food product business and where you're going to produce the food products. Now, if you're going to do it from home, then you're going to fall under the cottage food laws, and that's going to be a state-specific type of rule and regulation.
And when you do it from home, there are some limitations and some expectations that you have to follow and abide by. Now, if you're going to create a packaged food product in a commercial facility, that's a totally different ball game. All of the laws as far as regulations and inspections are going to be in who is going to inspect you. Is it going to be the health department? Is it going to be the department of agriculture, depending on the type of food processing you're going to have and whether you're going to create a food product, which obviously would be a packaged food product?
Nobody's going to be sitting down and eating in a facility that manufactures food. So there are a lot of different nuances and different regulations in regards to knowing the law when it happens to be about food products and food packaging. Now, what to sell? So now you need to create the product itself and you need to figure out what it is that you want to sell. I would strongly recommend, if you're going to create a food product, finding something that you actually enjoy, something that you're really interested in, or maybe even something that you enjoy eating yourself. So how do I start a food product and sell it?
And that will give you some direction as to where you want to take your packaged food products and what kind of food products you're actually going to make. Because remember, if you're going to be doing this yourself, and you're going to open a facility, you're going to invest in a commercial facility. You're going to be putting a lot of time and effort into it. So you need to be doing something that you really enjoy making, not necessarily something that you want to make, because you think you're going to make some money from it. Remember, there is really nothing new on the market when it comes to food products.
There's only a variation of what's out there already, not a lot of new food products, because food is basically food, and it's been out there forever. So there's really nothing new about new food products, unless you have your own spin on it or maybe just a different flavor on it, but just find something that you're going to enjoy making. Or if you're going to have employees making them 24 hours a day, you need to make sure that you're still doing something you enjoy doing. All right, number four, we've got what we see we're going to sell. We got through the business plan, we got the law, and now the label requirements. This is going to be another aspect that you need to know about where you're going to be making your food product from, because if you're doing it at home under the cottage food laws, there are different regulations and requirements for the actual labeling of your food product compared to a store-ready, retail-ready, or even shelf-ready, as it's known, packaged food product, which has a barcode. It's going to have a nutritional analysis. You're going to have an allergen warning.
Do I need a License to Sell Food From home?
You're going to have a nutritional panel, and you're going to have a list of ingredients. You're going to have the logo on the front. You're going to have the net weight. So there are a handful of guidelines that you need to follow that are set forth by the FDA. If you're creating a packaged food product that's going to be in retail stores, that is different, much, much different than cottage food operations and the requirements for the labels for those. So know your label requirements. When you ask that question, how do I start a food product and sell it? That is one of the most important aspects because not following label guidelines can actually get you in a lot of trouble. Now, next up is your packaging requirements. Every single food product that's on the market has a different variation and variables when it comes to the actual packaging. This has absolutely nothing to do with the labeling.
This is actually the actual physical packaging, the bag, the container, whatever it is that you're going to be putting your product in, but you need to know the packaging requirements because, obviously, a lot of times, potato chips do best in just simple bags that are lightweight because they're very inexpensive and the margins are very low. You probably won't be putting potato chips or any of that sort of thing into a really hard container or some rigid container that's going to cost you a couple of dollars because you're not going to get more than a couple of dollars for a bag of chips.
Checkout Alabama Cottage Food Laws Video.
So know the types of packaging before you do the labeling requirements as well, and understand what is needed for your product. Now keep in mind, as a quick side note, that we have a ton of links to our website that have even more free resources down below this video.You can take a look at all of those. We have a fantastic blog that has tons of topics on food products as well. So I just wanted to throw that out there. Check out the links down below. There are numerous ones. And even our podcasts, as I mentioned, will be uploaded on, I think, 11. We have 11? Yeah, it's 11 different podcast platforms that we're on. You can click on any of those and listen to us on the go. So let's finish up our list here. Now you want to test your product.
Now you may have a product that you make and your family and friends jump up and down about it. And they say it's the greatest thing in the world, but that's not really a real-world test. So going to farmer's markets, creating something at home to test it out first, before you invest an enormous amount of money into it, I highly recommend you do that because if you don't have proof of concept, as it is known in the marketplace, then testing your product is going to be extremely important because you don't want to put a couple of hundred thousand dollars into a food product that doesn't sell or have a market for it. So test it out first. At farmer's markets, get people that are not your friends or family who were patting you on the back.
Get some honest feedback from people about your product, the packaging, and the flavor, and definitely test it out before you invest a lot of money. Now, e-commerce and online presence are key. Now, whether you are going to produce a product and simply put it on retail, you need to have, or your company needs to have, an online presence. It really gives validity and validates your business, and it makes it look more professional. And of course, that is something that is utterly important when you're beginning to build a brand and you want people to trust your brand and build an awareness of your brand as well. So e-commerce, whether or not your website is e-commerce ready, where you're going to be selling through the website, or is it just going to be for informational purposes, When you start a food product and you want to sell it in retail stores, having an e-commerce presence is extremely important.
So make sure you create even the most simplistic website. If it is just that, let people know who you are, what your business is about, what your product is, and where you get your ingredients from. What is the backstory of why you started it? All of that is super important when you're beginning to build a brand around a packaged food product, even though you're selling it strictly in retail stores, if you're not doing the e-commerce route, okay. Last up, one of the most important things, even like I mentioned, even if you're going to be in a retail store or do online marketing, you need to create awareness. You need to bring awareness of your product to online marketplaces.
You need to be on Facebook and social media. You need to have an online marketing plan in place too. And it doesn't have to be some rocket science, you know, laid out professional thing. You can sit down and say, "Look, I'm going to focus on Twitter, Facebook, and maybe Instagram." And I'm going to focus my efforts on those. You don't necessarily have to be on all of them. I personally recommend you have a presence on all of them, but focus energy and effort weekly or monthly on just a couple. For us, it's actually Twitter and Facebook. Twitter and Facebook are the two best for the types of businesses that we have, the candy and snack businesses that we have.
So concentrate your efforts and energy specifically and solely on two; if you can do more, or if you want to hire an agency, there are online marketing agencies that can do online marketing for you; there is nothing wrong with that.It's actually a great idea if you've got the budget to do that, but being online and raising awareness of your food products even though you're solely in retail stores, let's say. It's only going to help you even more. Now, personally, I would recommend not only being on retail store shelves, but you really should have an e-commerce store.
Even if you do it with Shopify, or if you have an e-commerce store with WooCommerce, if you build one out with Weebly or GoDaddy, any of these website building platforms are fantastic, or you can go to a pre-made platform like Amazon, eBay, or Etsy, and when I say pre-made, you want to go to these e-commerce platforms that already have customers built in, but you could even begin to sell your packaged food products from there as well. So not just retail stores, but being on those platforms is great because you've already got a customer base there.
There are hundreds of millions of customers going through all of those platforms day in and day out, believe it or not. So you have a built-in customer base that you don't have to necessarily spend money on and spend time trying to get momentum and organic traffic to your website, you know, by building them through those website builders like Shopify or Weebly, or even GoDaddy. That doesn't guarantee that you're going to get traffic or even traffic that converts into sales.
So definitely give that a thought too, as well. And when you start to answer that question, how do I start a food product and sell it? Those tips are the best ways to at least get started and create a good foundation for your packaged food products. And if you have any questions about creating or developing a food product, definitely let us know in the comments. We built a lot of our content here on our YouTube channel around you guys and your questions, and we would definitely love to help you out as well. So I'll see you guys in the next video.
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