About this page: As a companion to Good Food, Great Business you get bonus online starter templates to download or use in Google Drive. Sign up for Inside Scoop to access them.

The links below point you to folks who contributed their knowledge to the book as well as suppliers and info resources to help you get started. (FYI: Some link to affiliate programs I’ve joined when I can recommend the service first hand.)

start a food business resource

Know of other great services to get food businesses off to a great start. Let me know!

Essential Food Industry Resources to Learn and Stay Current

Magazines and Knowledge Hubs for Entrepreneurs

Business Consultants

  • Coach Maz – Deb Mazzaferro is a specialty foods industry consultant and coach, with special expertise in sales teams and tradeshows
  • Bob Burke – Natural products industry veteran and expert
  • Jeff Landsman – specialty food sales
  • Anni Minuzzo, Northern California food business consultant
  • Rob Leichman – Lyric Group, emerging food brand management
  • John Maggiore – Maggiore’s Sales & Marketing, grovery expert
  • Jeff Santos – Brazilian food specialties
  • Jim Horan – business planning expert
  • Clay Gordon – chocolate business consultant and founder of The Chocolate Life community
  • Joyce Guan – Buyer’s Best Friend; former food broker
  • Rachel Zemser – food product / recipe development expert
  • Susie Wyshak – the one who put this page together and wrote Good Food, Great Business 😉

Brand Your Business & Package Your Product

Branding and Packaging Consultants

Packaging Websites and Publications

  • The Dieline features stellar package and brand designs
  • Packaging World magazine is your key to nerding out on all things packaging.

Ready-made Packaging Sources

Other Useful Stuff

Plan Your Product, Find the Best Ingredients and Get Into Production (Making or Co-packing)

How to Find Co-packers

The formula to search for co-packers: product category + your state name + co-packer  (or contract manufacturer)

Examples:
  • copacker organic spice tennessee
  • copacker dehydrated meats jerky texas

Variations: “contract manufacturer” tea california

Shortcut: ask around! You’ll find a ton of tips on do’s and don’ts in Good Food, Great Business.

Finding Kitchens

Nothing beats good old fashioned asking around!

Also see: How to Choose an Incubator, New York Times, January 26, 2011.

Nutrient / Nutrition Labeling and Analysis

When using a co-packer, discuss if they can produce nutrient labels, which you should do only when the production recipe is 100% locked down.

Ingredients Sourcing

Compliance and Best Practices

Sell and Distribute Your Products

Research

  • Trouble in Aisle Five: A June 2012 Jeffries/AlixPartners research report on how demographic shifts will impact retailers due to consumer preferences for Good Food and shopping flexibility.

 Online and Local Distribution

Read How To Distribute Specialty Food Products With a Regional Distributor.

Ask around in your local area for regional and local distributors.

Buyer’s Best Friend – the free way to reach wholesale food buyers and consumers nationwide and beyond

 

Export Support (contact them while planning!)

Promote Your Food and Connect With Customers

Business card, label, and literature printing

Search for quick printers in your local area. Or tap into one of these online services I’ve used for various print jobs:

You’ll also find PS Print, FedEx / Kinko’s, Staples, as well as other print ships on Ebates  

The easiest way to create a website for your business. Create your site at Weebly.com!

Marketing, Web and Selling Technology


Online and Mobile Payment

So many companies are getting into the mobile payment / iPad-based point-of-sale system business. Why? It’s so easy to get started, and they can offer much lower fees than traditional credit card company setups. Start by looking at these companies:

Tip: Whatever system you use should eventually be able to integrate with your online payment system and “backend” bookkeeping. You don’t want an accounting nightmare!

E-mail Marketing

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Contact Management

Customer Survey and Research Tools

Food Food Photography Know-how

Writing Services

  • Email Susie for connections to great writers and bloggers.

Events

Industry Trade Shows

New to trade shows? Get Deb Mazzaferro’s free “7 Mistakes Exhibitors Make at Trade Shows

Check Susie’s 2015 Food Industry Trade Shows and Events calendar.

Just a few shows you might plan for; look up shows for your product categories and based on your target buyers too (e.g., gift shows or restaurant association).

 Show  What  When  Where
Fancy Food Show (Summer)
 Specialty food  June / July  DC or NY
Fancy Food Show (Winter)  Specialty food  January  SF
 Expo West  Natural Products Expo  March  Anaheim, CA (So. Cal).
Expo East Natural Products Expo September Baltimore, MD
Anuga International foods and beverages October Germany
SIAL Paris International foods and beverages October Paris, France

Need help exhibiting at international food trade shows abroad?  Let’s chat! I may be available to help. – Susie
(And as you read in the book, remember to tap into export support resources to offset your tradeshow costs!)

Eco-friendly Supplies

Also search for phrases like “compostable plates” to find more websites. Also, stores such as Costco, Smart ‘n Final and even Grocery Outlet may have what you need on a smaller scale.

Set Up and Manage Your Business

Contract Help Online

The nice thing about using online marketplaces for short contract jobs is that the contractors have ratings and reviews. Take a look at these sites. I’m sometimes available to help define and / or manage projects, on contract myself!

  • Upwork freelancers’ network puts flexible staff at your disposal: from writers to designers and coders, to virtual assistants and bookkeepers, you’ll find talent in the United States and beyond. Formerly called Odesk, I’ve used Upwork extensively for projects ranging from website development to illustration — and I can help you define your product to hire the right person / team.
  • Fiverr is addictive. It’s the place where most of those vintage logos you see probably get made. It’s a hub of thousands of designers, voiceover artists, writers, video editors…pretty much most any service people might offer starting at $5 with all sorts of add ons that can make the “gig” you buy add up. I’ve ordered logos, email signatures, all sorts of graphic designs, and video editing through the site.

Need money? If you need to make money on the side while developing your food business, you can sign up to be a seller / contractor on any of these sites.

Food Job Posting Sites

See a more extensive list of websites to post food jobs online.

  • Good Food Jobs pioneered the idea of a nationwide job posting service only focused on fulfilling jobs in the food industry. Get ideas for people to hire. And know that people will be perusing this site for jobs like the ones you’ll be posting. This great, tiny company is based in New York.
  • Local Food Labs also offers a food job search engine. The company is based in Palo Alto, CA.
  • Oh yes, Craigslist. You knew that.

Technology and Systems for Sanity and Success

  • Dropbox is my favorite way to store files. It’s as easy as using Windows or the Finder on a Mac, only your files sync to the “cloud.” Once you’ve got a lot, it’s only $10 / month for a terabyte of data. (That’s all the videos you’re shooting of your company!)
  • Systems for Growing Your Food Business – This guide offers thoughts on recommended systems to set up early on, along with links

Insurance Brokers experienced with food business

Be prepared to invest in insurance, which can cost $1,000 or more.

Communities

When you participate in FoodStarter Academy you join a small but growing Facebook group of food entrepreneurs helping each other.

You’ll find all sorts of niche communities online with good old fashioned forums (or “fora” for the grammarians out there).

Funding

Educational Websites and Resources

Crowdfunding Websites

New crowdfunding sites pop up faster than my weeds (or almost as fast). Know that you’re on the hook for driving excitement and traffic to your page. The majority of contributions will come from people you know. That is, unless you launch a breakout, viral campaign like the “potato salad.”

  • Kickstarter – the largest audience
  • IndieGogo – more flexible as far as your being able to take the money even if you don’t meet your goal
  • Foodie Crowdfunding – the name says it all!
  • Barnraiser – specifically focused on crowdfunding for sustainable food businesses
  • Fundable – another crowdfunding option

You can also host your own crowdfunding service this days on your website. If you do so, you’ll be on the hook for driving traffic. So you need to be hot hot hot for that to work.

Food Business Loans and Investors

Regional Food Business Incubators / Accelerators

New funding programs and competitions are cropping up all the time. Here are just a few food-focused incubators that also help line up money:

Books


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Business Books

Business Planning and Entrepreneurship Books

Food Business

book on how to sell food products

General Business & Planning

Research and Consumer Behavior Books

  • Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping, by Paco Underhill, Simon and Schuster,1999.
  • What Women Want: The Global Marketplace Turns Female-Friendly, by Paco Underhill, 2010

Self-Improvement Books (Really Good Ones!)

The proverbial disclaimer: Please do your own research and make decisions based on whatever works for you. These links are here for the  convenience and inspiration of Good Food, Great Business readers and beyond.

What’s missing or needs updating? Please comment or tell Susie.