Yesterday I introduced you to Beth Kirby, a successful cookie maker who sells on Etsy under the SunshineBakes name. During the course of our interview Beth was kind enough to share the following tips for any other food entrepreneurs who are looking to open their own Esty store: Read more
Posts tagged ‘food entrepreneurs’
(This was the #1 most viewed article last year so I figured it was worth repeating!) Happy New Year! In case you haven’t noticed, all around us people are making their new year’s resolutions and vowing to stick with them (if you belong to a gym you know that it’s darn near impossible to get on a treadmill these days!). The new year is also a great time to spend some time thinking about your business goals and where you want your business to go in
2012 2013. Read more
It’s been many months in the works, but I’m excited to be able to finally introduce the new Small Food Business University site – or, more succinctly, SmallFoodBizU. The idea for this extension of Small Food Business came about because in my conversations with food entrepreneurs I realized that everyone comes into small business ownership with different backgrounds and different areas of expertise and sometimes folks just need a little extra help in one area or another to help them start, grow, and build their business. Read more
So often it seems like the news is all doom and gloom. Oil prices fluctuating widely, ingredient costs rising, etc etc…it’s an endless cycle sometimes. So let’s end this week on a positive note with five reasons you should be glad you’re running a small food business right now: Read more
Talk about some great press for your business! The Food Network is looking for food entrepreneurs who have quit their jobs to put it all on the line with a new small food business. To qualify you must be opening up a brick-and-mortar establishment before the end of the year. Not sure if they’re open to businesses located around the country or only in the Tri State (NY-NJ-CT) region but entrepreneurs who are chosen will apparently get free culinary and business coaching from a celebrity chef not to mention all the publicity you’ll get for your new business. Want more information? Contact Heather Briggs of Rock Shrimp Productions at hrb (at) embassyrow (dot) com.
After a week of heavy financial-focused posts and a rollercoaster ride in the economic markets, I figured we needed to start this week with something positive. It just so happens that last week my family sent me a copy of the Jackson Hole News & Guide, their local newspaper, with an article about small food entrepreneur 12-year-old Ciel Colon Nguyen.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find a link to the article online otherwise I would post it because this is a story that will put a smile on your face. In a nutshell, this past summer Ciel decided that he wanted to work and make money during summer vacation. Since child labor laws prohibit 12-year-olds from working, Ciel decided to create his own job! Ciel started Ciel’s Snack Attack Cart and, after contacting Friends of Pathways – the local nonprofit trail maintenance organization, he was able to secure a spot to sell his goodies alongside a popular walking/biking/running trail in town.
Every morning Ciel wakes up at 6am to bake fresh cookies and brownies and he squeezes lemons to make the handmade lemonade that he sells trailside. Then the 12-year-old loads everything into the Ciel’s Snack Attack Cart that’s attached to his bike and bikes almost 4 miles to his trail location. Once there, the newspaper reports that he sings throughout his 8-hour day to attract passersby. A true businessman, Ciel has even negotiated with a local grocer to recieve a discounted rate on the ingredients he needs in exchange for promoting that store to his customers. Ceil also give 5% of his net revenue back to Friends of Pathways.
Why is he working so hard when other kids his age are lounging by the pool or playing video games? Ciel says that he’s saving up to buy soccer cleats and, if he makes enough money, bike jerseys for his friends. How can you not be inspired by his story!
When the stock market dropped 500+ points last week, it didn’t matter if you had money in it or not to make you start worrying about what our economic future holds. For that reason, I want to spend some time this week talking about what current food entrepreneurs and aspiring food entrepreneurs can do to best position themselves to survive whatever tomorrow brings. Check back tomorrow for a post about whether now is the right time to start a small business and Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of this week I’m working on posts about what small businesses can do now to prepare themselves in these uncertain and shaky times.
But first I wanted to start with a little refresher course in Cost Accounting. I would be lying if I said that I’m an Accounting wiz. Infact,when I was in business school I struggled to get through the mandatory accounting class that’s required of all students and, walking out of the final bruised and beaten, I swore that I would never again take another accounting class. My husband, horrified by the prospect that someone could earn an MBA with only one accounting class under their belt, more or less shamed me into taking a Cost Accounting class saying that it was the basis of small business ownership. I don’t know whether it really was the prospect that Cost Accounting would be so important to the business plan I was working on or simply the fear that for the rest of our lives together he would always argue that his business school was better than mine (business school competition is fierce – even within the same household!) so I grudgingly signed up for the class. This is where I will publically declare that my husband was correct. Cost Accounting really is business accounting and it has been critical in every step of my own small business.
The New York Times has a wonderful article in their Small Business Section about several key aspects of Cost Accounting that every small business owner should know. Take a moment to read it (don’t think I didn’t hear that groan that just escaped you!) because it just may mean the difference between success and failure. Just like my husband said – you’ll thank me later!
If you’re part of Generation X (or older), then you’ll remember a time when networking was just that. It wasn’t considered ‘social’ – it just was. And it wasn’t done behind a computer. Networking for small businesses is just as powerful as it ever was and a strong network can help make or break your business.
Chances are, no matter what your business idea is, there is someone else out there who has faced a similar problem and figured out an answer. Rather than spending your time trying to come to the same conclusion, your network can provide you with those resources, give you new ideas, and help steer you away from making bad financial decisions. Personally, my business accountant is a godsend to me and I found her through a recommendation another small food entrepreneur made.
So how do you develop that network? It may take some time to build up a strong network, but you have to start somewhere. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to other food entrepreneurs you meet and ask vendors you work with if they might be willing to put you in touch with some of their other small food business clients. You can also see if your local Small Business Administration office has get-togethers or mixers or whether there is an existing Entrepreneur Group in your area. While not all of those people may be in the food industry, they will likely still be able to provide you with great resources and a sounding board to help you make decisions.
The good news is that the ‘social’ part of networking can help. Twitter and Facebook can be great places to ask business questions and see what other entrepreneurs recommend (this of course assumes that you have entrepreneurial ”followers”). Just be forewarned that while 99% of the advice you’ll receive online is likely given in good spirit, if you’ve never met the recommender in person you aren’t completely sure what their motives are so use your judgement when taking their thoughts or comments into account.
Do you have a business network you rely on? How did you develop those relationships?