During the pandemic, many businesses had to shut their doors — some for good — to help curb the spread of COVID-19. It meant that, at least at the beginning, consumers had no access to restaurant food. They all had to use their kitchens again and make meals to feed their families.
Even when restaurants reopened for takeout and delivery, many people yearned for the comfort that comes from home-cooked meals. This created an opportunity for Americans who lost their jobs or had to take a pay cut during the pandemic to find another source of livelihood.
Then, e-commerce and apps like DoorDash and GrubHub made reaching out to consumers so much easier.
However, now that restrictions have been lifted in most areas, many microbusiness owners are looking into expanding their entrepreneurial ventures and bringing their products to a wider market.
It might seem daunting, but it is possible. You can scale your operations from home to grocery stores. Here are a few things to consider.
Create a Business Plan
Any business will not thrive if there is no solid plan. While you may have started in your kitchen making your product, to expand it to a full operation, you will need to identify every aspect of your business.
The prices of your products, for example, need to be higher than your expenses. It would not be a simple multiplication. You might need to procure equipment of your own or hire additional staff members to help you out.
Food, in particular, is a tricky product to produce because there are rules and regulations in place to protect consumers. The product has to be safe for consumption. You will need to take steps to avoid contamination. You need to figure out how to ensure that the product arrives in the best quality possible to your consumer’s home.
Industrial heating solutions, particularly those that utilize cartridge heaters, are typically used in the preparation, processing, preservation, and packaging of food products for mass consumption.
The cost of bringing a product to the market will be expensive. Before taking any steps toward expanding, you should conduct your own research to create an estimate of how much you will spend to scale production.
Every business also has to adhere to local and federal rules.
Businesses that manufacture food for human or animal consumption must be vetted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The food production facilities should follow guidelines set by the federal agency. This includes keeping the site clean, and there should be adequate space for storage. Agents conduct inspections to ensure that the business complies with standards. Businesses are also required to register to the FDA, as well as renew registration annually.
In addition, look into state laws on businesses that sell food from home. See which venues you are allowed to sell your homemade goods through. You may be permitted to sell online, at farmer’s markets, community markets, or stands along the road. Every state has its own guidelines.
This is also the time to research and obtain which permits and licenses you will need to make your business official.
As your business expands, your budget toward advertising and marketing will increase, too. You would need to reach more consumers, perhaps beyond your current community, which will require you to use additional channels to increase the visibility of your business.
Digital platforms such as social media sites are very important, especially now that people are still spending much of their time at home. While businesses can advertise on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and other sites for free, consider paid advertising, too. If you pay to promote your business, the site will show your page and post to your target customers.
The business also needs to learn search engine optimization (SEO) or hire someone who knows how to use its best practices to boost the online presence of your business.
However, do not ignore other strategies to market your business. Look into direct mail marketing, hand out flyers in high-traffic areas, get interviewed by local newspapers and channels, and use banners and posters to announce the expansion of the business or its new products. Create buzz to gain new customers.
Every business dreams of growth and expansion, but it does not just happen by luck. A lot of work goes into it. It also requires funding to scale the operations up. However, as long as there is demand and you can reach potential customers, your business will succeed.