What are the first steps to starting a food consulting business?
I've been in the food business for 18 years, focused on sales and culinary. I have been thinking about how to start a consulting business on food but also think too many people are doing the same thing. How can I be different?
Hi Jeffery, This is a very good idea. I have also a many years experience in the food business. I think, first, you need a good, multi skilled team. The other question is which type of consulting company do you want to start? I think, you need a complex knowledge about the integrated QA, and for example end product based process systems, and business, and profit models, (single site, or multi site systems). This knowledge is very important, if somebody wants to develop a new product, and after that he wants to integrate the present manufacture systems, etc.
You asking first step ,you should be master of food product there are many food so select some and you know each and every thing about that food so when some one ask question you give answer which satisfied him this is key of success
Jeffery, There are a lot of people in most businesses going after the same dollar, same customer. Don't let this be a deterrent. There can also be a lot of people not doing a good job.
There are a lot of people out there that need this service and dont know where to look. A front runner will knock on doors, hand out cards after dinner.
You need to paint the picture to the client when you pitch your services. They need to visually see the success through your words.
What will you have that most cant give? It is hard to study what others do because their services can be vague on websites.
You have to sit down and start writing.;
What are your strengths or expertise?
How can these be applied to someone else?
How will you evaluate a company?
What plan will you put in place?
Can you solve their issues?
Best of success!! Gil
You have plenty of great suggestions below. One thing that I will suggest is hiring culinary interns to work alongside you. One way to differentiate yourself from others is to build educational pipelines which will allow you to:
1- get free assistance (from interns)
2-gain exposure to a new support base of colleges and universities in your area.
3- this opportunity could also lead to you leading some college courses while you run your consultation business.
Hi Jeffery. If you are able to relocate, I would suggest looking into geographic areas that aren't already over-crowded with others who are experts in a similar area to yours. For example, I just visited Paris, France last week. As my expertise is in nutrition and food, and I live by what I preach, I was dismayed with the poor nutritious food options that can be found in Paris. I was not alone, as many other visitors to the city made the same comments when I would casually speak to them about their experience. I strongly believe that there is an opportunity in this market for healthy products. My advice to you is to check out markets that don't have what you can offer, and then consider focusing your efforts there. Best of luck.
1) Have a target list of clients list ready.
2) Create a proper messaging, why is your service unique, How will the benefit and what will you do and when
3) Offer few things like assessment service, In here you can set in to a prospects kitchen and just suggest some minor changes if there are any. Use the same to collect data that will help you refine your future approach in dealing with prospects
4) Proof of concept sells. However how one markets the same is important. There are two ways:
a) Bottom's Up Approach: Say for example K.O.T is are of concern in rush hour in any food industry. If you have a point solution that will help the point contact person the same selling small deals and also help in creating good relationship with your customers.
b) Top Down Approach: This is where the big money in general is however to enter this market credibility is key. In the food industry it might result in setting up a industrial kitchen or any other contract from scratch.
Here are some of the things to think about before you start your food consulting business.
1) What problem am I trying to solve for my potential customers?
2) Proof of concept (test item 1 above by asking potential customers if they would be interested in your xxxx service and would they be willing to pay xxxxx for the service
3) Definie your market and market size once you have determined there is interest (who will buy and who else is selling this service)
4) What is your 'secret sauce' ie what make you different in providing your service
When you have the answers to the above, set out a business and marketing plan which will be your roadmap. It doesn't have to be elaborate but it validates all your assumptions before you invest your money and time. Good luck with your new venture.
Before you start laying out money. Ask yourself these two questions.
1. Who is my ideal client .... hotels,restaurants etc, turnover? number of employees etc. The more time you take to get this accurate the better for you and your business in the long run.
2. What is their number one challenge " I can solve "
And remember; just because someone can fog up a mirror,doesn't mean they are your ideal customer.
thru franchising, i.e. attract new aspiring entrepreneurs in the food business and help them in starting business. You can get young and energetic youth from the Institution of food studies.
Get great imagery to present your product. Image is the introduction between client and consumer. Make it count. Love to help with your creative and production needs.
Here are a bunch to think about and analyze. It's about differentiation. A unique set or package of services which you have or need to develop.
You need to have a specialty:
1. Is it in manufacturing?
2. NPD or New Product Development?
7. Network with others/Partnerships. People with different skills. Presentation?
14. Global Services?
16. With retailers and sampling? (One time the retailers didn't have their own departments and teams.)
Look at the Nine P's of Marketing at http://nineps.com
Good luck. It's tough out there. But successful differentiation and referrals are major assets. Double good luck.
Start with a first client of major importance to you. The most sought after consulting is an individual practitioner who will bring business in from an account.
Useful, productive, simple to monetize for both parties. See our line of premium organic non alcohol wine. www.vivalowcal.com. We are always looking for those people and the successful ones keep their role for a long time with us and others.
Jeff, I suggest you start with a "self-assessment" of your experience, skills, areas of expertise, strengths, weaknesses you've gained during your career. Do this as though you were looking for a job, not as much in the context that you are starting your own consulting business at this early stage. There are a lot of career options out there, including options that may be more attractive than going on your own. There are LOTS of books, reference information, etc. on how to do this self-assessment in the context of looking for a job, as well as planning to start your own business. While doing this, talk to LOTS of people: current customers, co-workers, colleagues, other industry people you know whose opinion & advice you would trust to get a sense of what is happening in the particular segment(s) of the food industry you are thinking about. You should think about and plan what segments of the industry you want to work or consult in. "Food" industry is pretty broad. Are you talking processed food, fresh produce, meat, dairy? If processed food, what categories? Wholesale? Retail? restaurant & food service? What areas can you offer value-added expertise that prospective clients would have a need for? - research, food/ nutrition science, product development, manufacturing supply chain, marketing, advertising,...?
As you talk to people and start to narrow your focus, you can also get an idea of who is doing consulting (independents as well as firms), and try to identify an unmet need. If you are serious about starting your own business or consulting practice, you will want to talk to several people who are already doing this, perhaps in other industries, as well as the food industry. As you probably know, stating your own business is not for the faint of heart.
If, after doing all this research and information-gathering, you still want to get into consulting, you will want to talk to experts about the mechanics, logistics, financial and other aspects of starting your own business. These include your accountant, a lawyer if you know one, your bank, the local chapter of the small business administration, the local chamber of commerce, perhaps a local or county-based economic development council, etc. These organizations have lots of resources (low or no cost) for small business start-ups. You will need to look into incorporating, obtaining business/ professional liability insurance, perhaps getting some start-up money or line of credit, etc. THE most important thing is incorporating (LP, LLC, etc.) and obtaining professional liability insurance for the corporation to protect your personal assets. keep personal and business assets and finances SEPARATE! Talk to your accountant and possibly an attorney first. Do not use online legal service to incorporate (legal zoom.com). I know of people who had problems and had to spend a lot of money to "undo" what they did online. Spend a little extra up front and do it right.
Good Luck! I hope I didn't scare you away from pursuing your dream career.
What area exactly would you like to consult on? business, operations, branding, marketing, sales etc...
You want to be different than others. So does every business owner. In some ways you will similar and be compared to others. You need yo take your years of experience and think what is the one question I have heard atleast 10 times within one day. If you can answer it and it works for more than 90% of those that you provided an answer. That is how you begin consulting. More clients additional areas to add yo your business. The only thing that sets businesses appart are the mission and msrketing.
Do a feasibility assessment.
Define what it is you are going to do, why it is needed, the results your clients will get, and why you and not some other vendor who does the same thing.
Write a business plan and have it reviewed by a credible source. Include your marketing plan and financial expectations.
Define your target market and ideal client.
I tell my clients, where there is a lot of competition is not necessarily a bad thing. It can tell you there is a demand and market for such services. The trick is in differentiating yourself, and having a clear target market. Also, offering value-added services.
If you want some support on that, I can hop on the phone with you for a complimentary, no obligation consult.