Growing a small catering/ home cook assistance company?
I have a catering business with great success over the last 8 years. However, 2008 hit us little guys hard. I am using this business as extra income and now have expanded or differentiated the business to offer more in- home service as well.
I am looking to make smart decisions. How do I expand on little income? Should I be making blog posts, tweeting or sending out mail ads?
Smart decisions start with great insight. It all starts with you doing your due diligence and conducting market research on your target audience.
You need to have a tightly defined target audience for both the catering and in-home chef business segments. While there may be some crossover between the two business segments I believe they should be treated as two different business segments.
There are several 3rd party market studies on the approximately $14 billion US catering industry to gain valuable insight on the industry.
If you want to conduct some primary research once you've defined your target audience, go to Survey Monkey and use their audience to find out if what you want to do could be successful. Otherwise, you may have to go to the area grocery stores and stand outside and ask people if they have a few minutes and would answer some questions.
I my opinion it is too early to be blogging, tweeting, emailing or even sending out email.
I guessing your target audience doesn't know about your service so you're going to need create awareness. That's going to take advertising, direct mail, exhibiting at local business events, networking at chamber of commerce, etc.
First of all, congrats on your success, thus far. Fantastic! I also applaud you for working to evolve and differentiate your business. This is something many entrepreneurs have difficulty doing, so their businesses flounder.
With that being said, what kind of following do you have? Social media, e-mail lists, etc.? These are GREAT places to start promoting your new service line at little to no cost. Post about your in-home services on social media, talking about the benefits of this new line. Send out an e-mail, offering a TINY incentive (5% off your first order of $x or more) to encourage people to try it. Maybe also offer a referral bonus similar to that, if they refer a friend and the friend makes a purchase.
You may also consider targeted advertising on social media. This is a great way to reach folks you might not otherwise connect with, but who would be glad to know about your services.
Blogging is always a great option, and you can repurpose those blogs on social media. Think about using Pinterest, also, as a place to link to your blog, as well as to post photos and recipes from this new service line to promote it.
Are there any other caterers who do what you do in your area? You might consider trying a press release or media pitch to your local paper. Hometown businesses who do something unique can often find a spot in a business feature.
These are just a couple of ideas to get you started. Feel free to message me for more details or with any questions! :)
Best of luck,
First do You have an email list? Next do you have a day that you can set aside for a Practical Demonstration to prospective clientele? Local interview on a local radio station as a public service announcement. local news release also.
I recommend taking a strategic approach to building your business;
Start by asking yourself these 10 questions: http://youtu.be/aDyiI-NxMto
Your answers to these questions will give you a foundation for your Marketign Plan.
You don't want to just jump in and start doing Tactical marketing with out a marketing plan. That's a recipe for wasted money, time and effort.
To your continued success,
"the Marketing Coach"
The first thing you need to do is validate you ideas. Don't spend a dime until you know for sure this is a good business idea. I'd be pleased to send you a PDF with an overview of the questions you need to answer. You can connect with me though our Small Business Learning Center website at SBLC.Biz there is no cost for this information.
You did not mention whether you are providing manpower or catering to the households?? If you are providing manpower then you business radar is larger.. but if you are providing catering support then you are limited to local requirement.
In that case, you can have local publicity arrangement like small hoardings or direct mailing or contact the associations for their requirement..
and if you have a list of target audience, then you can use emails, tweets or mail ads.
I have a clien acquisition that could assist you to gain business customers. If you have all the necessary permits and your product is appealing that are tons of business customers for you. I can show you how to do this.
Your business niche is growing despite the "economy"
To your question and statement:
"I am using this business as extra income"
The ideas presented in these answer are all very good.
Social Media, Locally directed can be lucrative and offer a good ROI
Jessica has excellent suggestions.
Since you are using the business to provide "extra Income" don't be afraid to "re-invest some of that in training for Effective Social Media Activity.
Most of our clients have found that BLOGGING with relevance is the BEST way to develop a Local ( and more Global) following.
The blog become the HUB with Social Media feeding the inbound attraction likes spokes of a wheel.
There is a huge market of those wanting to know HOW TO and that segment are ripe for purchasing Your How To Book or relevant affiliate product in your niche.
A solid marketing strategy is not difficult to design and there many here that have ability to help.
The food service business has been a passion of mine for over 45 years.
Hi Andy, like you I use to have my own restaurants and I have been in the same position where you are now. Before blogging, tweeting or sending out emails consider first market research, analysis and segmentation then you have an inkling on how to approach your audience then start your own website if ever you have one, then do a basic SEO, then published or post blogs, SMM, business directory submission and optimize your activity on other community sites all of which would help you realize a smart and a good investment decision. By the way do you have a brand name? Try to include your first name.
Social media and tweeting, Instagram is the best and smartest way to go about. Be persistent in your social media marketing and it will grow.
Hi Andy, you have many ways to expand your business with a little or NO income at all!
That will depending, how is your marketing develops that I don't know yet.
So, ask those questions below to yourself, so you can understand valuable needs with little capital to invest;
- Do you have a target list of respectful customers that you can operate online?
- Are you building a respectful educational services relationship with them?
- Are you having a promotional page online where you can attract specifically target audiences?
- Do you have any Affiliate Marketing to help you with your promotions and advertising?
- What about you Licensing your products and services FOR LIFE with other peoples interested with your products and services, where you could gain profits without any effort?
- Do you have strategic alliances with unrelated complimentary companies to yours, where you could gain NET PROFIT from integrated other products and services to your at no costs to you?
- Do you have a back-end design services with one-time-offers including up-sells, down-sells, cross-sells?
- What about your employees, do you have any, if so, how do you use them that could help you to expand your business with strategically approaches?
- Do you check your competitors about understand them different approaches to yours, so you can focus on changes more auto-come with your target audience?
- How do you like to expand your business from having more assets and develop funds capabilities?
Depending of your answers to those questions, depending on the strategic approaches that you have to apply consistently to the guaranteed profitable development to your company!
If have plenty to think about, so you can make smart decisions about expanding and grow your business the way you want and how you want.
I understand where you are coming from and wish you all the best. I do not know what kind of customer profile you are catering to, what kind of food / services do you offer and your location, which are required for proper planning, however, I would like to offer the following suggestions to set the ball rolling :
Your objective should be to build a community of fan followers who will regularly give you business and spread awareness of your service through "word of mouth". [In this context, it would be worthwhile to explore all reasons why you have not received word of mouth support since 2008. Is the food quality and service standard at par with customer expectations e.g.]
Next you could set up a Facebook page for your branded service.
The content on the page should be planned to encourage target segment engagement. Thus, you could post recipes, contests, jokes and special offers etc. Be sure to post professionally done appetizing food photos.
A professional social media marketer could identify Facebook users in your targeted locations and send them invites to " like" your page, thereby generating visitors to your page.
You could also use Pintrest in a similar manner using food pictures and recipes.
Get your social media marketer to buy appropriate keywords on Google so that your website / Facebook page is displayed when prospective customers search for your kind of services
Don't forget the power of offline local level customer engagement in your city.
Write to me with more details and I will be happy to help you with systematic planning..
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