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Don’t Write a Business Plan to Start Your Food Business

The One Page Format Helps to See If You Have a Real Opportunity

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You read the title correctly! Well actually I did this for you to stand up and take notice since too many food entrepreneurs get bogged down with traditional advice on the business plan process.

When you are contemplating a tasty new product to build a business around, you want to get to the Feasibility of your idea. Feasibility is a first step in your food entrepreneurial journey because not all ideas are opportunities. An Idea is only an Opportunity when the consumer sees your product On the Shelf and they try it for the first time, getting your product on the Consumers Plate. The biggest hurdle is getting them back the second time and beyond, the term being Repeat Purchase which is consumer loyalty or consumer preference.

So the sooner you get from an Idea to an Idea that has been vetted out as Feasable the sooner you get started, go back and try another idea and of course this process increases your chances for success. Enter the One Page Business Plan.

The One Pager as it is called forces the budding food entrepreneur so think clearly about the business idea and has framework that forces you to put the essentials on one page. The thinking behind this is if you can't get it to one page you will not be able to clearly articulate your opportunity to other stakeholders such as business associates, potential investors and banks and retail buyers. Here are the essential elements that go into your One Pager:

  • One Line Pitch
  • Business Summary
  • Management
  • Customer Problem
  • Product/Services
  • Target Market
  • Customers
  • Sales/Marketing Strategy

Rather than give you generic details regarding the essential elements, I have created a hypothetical company to show you how a One Pager is constructed. Here are a few notes:

  • [YOUR COMPANY]. Fill in your company name or if more appropriate, the brand name of the product(s) you will be selling.
  • [XXXX]. This is a place holder for you to fill in your product or company specific information.
  • Customer Problem. In marketing we refer to opportunities as problems. A problem could be "fixing" something to make it better OR on the positive side, a gap that you see that no one else is addressing.
  • Note . You may not be able to complete each area of the plan on your first attempt. It is more important for you to get this first draft done as completely as possible before you spend more than a few dollars on your business.

The One Page Business Plan is one of the best tips for starting your specialty food business and is a preliminary first step in determining if you can get your product out of Kitchen for successful business and product launch.

One Page Business Plan Outline

One Line Pitch : Feel good about satisfying yourself and family from your freezer any time of the day from the recipes you love. Heart healthy, delicious foods to achieve a sustainable life style… and [XXXX]! [YOUR COMPANY] brand focuses on [XXXX] meal solutions with the scalability of a modern, multi-market, e-commerce and retail distribution business.

Business Summary : [YOUR COMPANY] provides a direct-to-consumer [XXXX] organic and natural single serve and family sized portions. Customers enjoy [XXXX] products based on familiar comfort foods recipes, facilitates [WHAT DOES THE PRODUCT HELP THE CONSUMER WITH] with wide range of products.

Management : With [XXXX] we believe that the [YOUR COMPANY] Management team includes more consumer products food experience than any company in the plant based protein segment. [YOUR COMPANY] has added general management strength with start-up partners such as [XXXX].

Customer Problem : Health conscious customers are seeking tasty and convenient affordable meal alternatives that are based on familiar comfort food recipes that are convenient, easy to prepare have substantial health benefits and [XXXX].

Product/Services : [YOUR COMPANY] makes good food simple and easy. In our markets, we are the premier delivery service for natural single serve and family sized portions meals as well as other healthy and tasty staples like milk, eggs, meats breads and grains. We grow, select, deliver and manufacture food with the highest level of integrity.

Target Market : We currently serve 3 distinct markets: (1) Texas (2) Oklahoma and (3) Southern Arizona. With a total population of approximately 4.2 million, and average household size of 2.59, these markets produce a total addressable market of approximately 1.6 million households. Assuming 19% of those homes are interested in organics, our targetable market is 307,000 households, and current market penetration is 3.9%.

Customers : We currently sell approximately 7,000 boxes of produce/groceries per week to about 12,000 active customers across all 3 regions.

Sales/Marketing Strategy : In 2010: (1) internal sales force drives geographic expansion (by adding new community drop sites), (2) direct marketing efforts to in-fill Seattle and Anchorage markets, and (3) increase average order size by adding grocery items. Starting in 2011, we will begin exporting the business to new markets. We plan to add one new market in 2011, and one per quarter thereafter.

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