Q & A
Challenge our office with your toughest questions on how to become a successful entrepreneur.
Selected questions and answers will be published quarterly.
We reserve the right to edit questions for length and suitability.
I make the most delicious cookies and my friends are always telling me I should sell them.
How can I find out if there is a market for my goodies?
Friends and family ARE OFTEN positive. The real test is whether or not strangers will buy from you.
Start by investigating if there is a market for your cookies by donating batches to events such as church and school fairs. Try and attend the event to see the reaction of the audience. If you are not selling your product, you may bake in your home kitchen. Bring small batches of your cookies to local food stores and ask if they would be willing to carry your product.
If they are, you will need to purchase insurance coverage, (a general liability policy that will include product liability coverage.) You will also need to become a legal entity such as sole proprietor, partnership, LLC or corporation.
Start small and keep your expenses reasonable. Once your product is accepted and selling, you can determine your production.
Remember, you will now need to bake your product in a professional kitchen in order to meet the requirements of the existing food protection laws.
Good luck and keep me posted!
How can I get my wonderful jams out in the public so that I can create paying customers and not just feed my family?
Here are some basic guerilla marketing techniques you can use.
You can manufacture out of your home kitchen if you do not accept payment for what you are producing.
One good way to get your product in the open is to donate it. Church and school fairs are always looking for donations for bake sales, or join forces with a boutique where they would have a mini-fashion show and you would provide the nibbles. Of course, you want to be there to see the reaction of people sampling your product.
Create a mini-survey asking the opinion of people who have sampled your product. When they return the survey to you, you can reward them with a mini jar of your product. Your object at this point is to collect names and email/snail mail addresses to create a mailing list of future customers.
Bring samples to a gourmet store; flatter the buyerÖask for their opinion. We suggest you call in advance to the buyer(s) of busy stores. They usually have specific times set aside to review new products. Walking in on them when they are busy doesnít score any points! Be prepared for an honest critique of your product ñ it may not always be what you want to hear. A good idea would be to make an appointment first before dropping by.
You will have to invest your time and some foot work, but you should start to see positive results for your efforts!
Keep me posted.
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