Lessons learned from the trenches: Building a food business from the ground up
Food entrepreneurship is anything but a cakewalk – here's how several Australian business people overcame difficulties on their way to success.
By: Start Your Own Food Business
This concern is a legitimate one, as there is a myriad of issues which employees never have to worry about.
Would-be entrepreneurs often find these problems intimidating. However, the fact they are still thinking about leaving in spite of their fears means these issues are worth tackling.
Let's discuss a few of them below.
Be a relentless learner
Megna Murali of Start Your Food Business had to deal with the same steep learning curve when she was in the process of starting up her previous operation, a spice subscription business.
"Our journey towards success was an uphill battle at times", said Ms Murali. "We had to clear so many regulatory hurdles before we could even open. It was an eye-opening experience – Aarjit and I were like, 'This is why so many people are scared of doing their own thing'."
However, their diligent commitment to research saw them through. Megan continued, "Once we slashed our way through all the red tape, we applied our efforts to learn how we could run our operations more effectively. Soon after, our sales took off!"
By being diligent researchers, Megna and Aarjit found success with this business and their current venture. Do the same and your efforts will surely improve.
Don't be afraid to spend cash on crucial aspects of your business
Despite having fantastic word of mouth and a stellar professional reputation from a lengthy career as a recipe developer for Miele and Woolworths, bookings for Georgia Leaker's travelling cooking school, Whipped Up, had mysteriously cratered to zero after several weeks in business.
"It was the strangest thing – the first few weeks I had a relatively busy schedule with nothing but positive feedback. Then suddenly, everything went dead", remarked Ms Leaker.
Dumbfounded, she logged on to her website and did a test booking. This revealed the problem – the form she built had crashed. In a bid to save money, she attempted to build the code on her own site herself, eventually causing the issue which had blocked customer enquiries.
She quickly contacted a programmer who designed a better solution – while this cost a fair amount, she would not have missed out on business had she made this investment up front.
Don't bite off more than you can chew
With over 28% of Australians being obese and more than 4% of the nation's population diagnosed with diabetes, it is readily apparent there is a market for food tailored to these populations. However, this fact alone does not guarantee success.
This was the lesson Leonie learned the hard way when she launched Diabetes Meals Online for the first time. While they now deliver all over Australia, funding and personnel issues initially confined them to the Melbourne region.
These problems eventually became so crippling, she had to shut down for six months to refine business processes.
"Once I gave myself the time to right-size my business, things ran much smoother", Leonie said. "Had I done this from the start, I wouldn't have to battle against my reputation. Start small, and get your processes right the first time."