Thursday, April 2, 2009

9 Tips for Starting Your Food Business, from A Non-Billionaire

Gordon Ramsey I’m not, but I have managed to run my own business for almost 4 years without incurring debt and I have managed to even make a bit of money in the process. In a few years, after my baking empire is secure, my suggestions might command a bit of notice. So listen up!

1. Start with a business plan. I am in the process of preparing a formal plan which would have been helpful to have done from the beginning. The fact that I kind of started the business by accident it was an afterthought. I have spent many a day wishing that I did. You can get free help from The Lawrence N. Field Center for Entrepreneurship at Baruch College and the New York City Business Solutions in each borough. I have used both developing a budget, marketing ideas, business resources, planning and legal advice.
2. Know your market and your product.
3. Know your costs including ingredients and labor.
4. Start small and expand in increments that you can handle with comfort and confidence.
5. Buy or steal some luck and karma.
6. Make sure you really like doing what you are setting out to do, even the mundane tasks, and be prepared to have to do many things that don’t include making your product.
7. Build a good solid network of people you can go to for advice and support. Friends, family, neighbors, other owners of small businesses.
8. Don’t listen to everything that the people in your support network tell you.
9. Learn how to sleep good at night, eat your fruit and vegetables and take your vitamins.
10. Be an heir to a small fortune (I know I said 9 but being an heir would have been very helpful) or find revenue streams that will sustain you.

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