Starting a business
Starting a new business can be both an exciting and scary experience. This video identifies a few of the key things to consider before you start.
What is an entrepreneur?
An entrepreneur is anyone who organizes or manages a business, attempting to make a profit and assuming the risk of a loss. Evaluate yourself critically to see if you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.
Do you have a great idea for a new product, but don’t know who to sell it to? Do they want or need your product? Are other businesses already meeting their needs? How much will they pay? This is where market research is crucial.
- Market Research for your Agricultural Product/Service (video)
- Market Research
- Identify Your Market: Right Buyer, Right Price
- Considering Your Options: An Inventory of Possibilities
- Review Your Finances: Making the Money Work
- Assess Your Resources: Examining Production Requirements
Never stop researching your consumers and buyers. Keeping up with new market trends enables you to react quickly to changes in consumer demands.
A business plan helps you formalize the thinking and planning process. By completing a business plan, you will better understand your market, production and pricing costs, and the competitive factors that will influence the success of your new business. A well-thought-out business plan is necessary to apply for the financing and resources required to start a new venture.
- Launch Your Business: Time for Action
- Business Basics for Alberta Food Processors
- Elements of a Business Plan
- Preparing financial projections and monitoring results
Marketing is an essential part of running a business. Careful planning and thorough understanding of your chosen marketplace is key to developing a successful marketing strategy.
The type of business you are in and your target audiences will largely dictate how you market your product or service. It is up to you to find your niche and position yourself in that market by developing promotional and marketing tools that target this base.
- Developing a Promotional Plan
- Build Your Network: Reaching Out for Support and Advice
- Marketing Essentials
- Social Media Marketing Guide
- Promoting Your Food Product: Social Media for Food Entrepreneurs
Protecting Your Business
- Cyber Security: Protecting Your Small Business (webinar video)
- Tips for Staying on the Right Side of Social Media and Creating Ambassadors (webinar video)
Know the regulations
Your product or service must be produced and sold while meeting the regulations of your chosen market. You will need to get all necessary permits and licenses.
All 3 levels of government have legislated acts and regulations dealing with food safety, packaging, labelling, licensing and taxation.
Contact your local municipality or city to find out if you require a licence.
Several provincial departments and agencies are responsible for developing and enforcing legislation related to the production and processing of agri-food products:
- Alberta Health sets policy, legislation and standards for public health in Alberta
- Alberta Health Services helps to provide, protect and promote a healthy environment.
- Public health inspectors/environmental health officers advise and inspect to make sure food is prepared safely
- the Alberta government is responsible for:
- creating policy and legislation that supports safe and secure food products and production practices throughout the supply chain
- overseeing business registration and licensing activities, and protects consumers in an increasingly complex economic environment
- protecting worker rights by regulating Alberta’s workplaces and ensuring Alberta’s labour laws are fair and modern; this includes employment standards rules and compliance measures for employers and employees
The federal government is also responsible to ensure that our food is safe. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency administers the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations which apply to all food processing businesses.
Packaging and labelling
Packaging protects the product from physical, chemical and microbiological sources of deterioration. Itis also a selling feature that can convince consumers to buy your product.
The label tells consumers what your product is, what it is made of, and its nutritional content. Your label must comply with regulations administered by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
Cost of production and pricing
You need to calculate the costs associated with making your product before you can set a price. Costs are divided into 2 categories: fixed costs and variable costs. These costs are collectively called the cost of production.
Pricing your product is an important part of running a business. The price has to be low enough that customers see value, but high enough that you earn a profit.
How to Price Your Product (video)
When starting a new business, you must consider how you will cover costs such as vehicles, equipment, land, buildings, supplies and employees. You will also require money for daily operating expenses such as rent, taxes, salaries and wages, advertising and utilities.
Accessing financing can be a challenging aspect of starting or expanding a business. Understanding your options for financing and how a lender evaluates your application can help you be successful when applying for financing.
Growing a business
As your business grows, you need to understand the impacts of that growth. Do you have capacity to expand within your current structure? Do you have enough staff to increase production or move to another shift? Do you have the financial capacity to take on additional costs?
Sustainable Strategic Planning Webinar Series:
- Part 1: Understanding Sustainability for Agri-Processors
- Part 2: Developing a Strategy that is Sustainable
- Part 3: Sustainable Strategy Execution
Expanding your market
Successful businesses grow their markets. Once you are ready to start exploring new market channels, you will need to develop a market expansion strategy to determine the best way to offer your products.
Getting Into Retail Webinar Series – Food and Retail Landscape (webinar video)
Getting Into Retail is Hard. Staying in is Even Harder (webinar video)
Keeping Alberta Products on the Shelf (webinar video)
Distributors and Brokers – Are You Ready to Work With Them? (webinar video)
Getting Into Food Service: The Introduction (webinar video)
Getting Into Food Service — Going to Market (webinar video)
Labelling Your Food Product (infographic)
Pricing Your Food Product (infographic)
Selling Your Food Product (infographic)
Co-packing and commercial kitchens
Co-packing services are defined in 2 areas; those offering co-packing services for a fee, and those seeking a co-packer.
Co-packers offering the service are capable of producing and packaging products for other companies. These may include product manufacturing, packaging, palletizing, and warehousing or may also include formulation, label design and shipping services.
Businesses looking to expand and seeking a co-packer need to fully understand the service they are looking for, what price they are willing to pay, volumes needed, cost of production, timelines and responsibilities.
What to Know: The Legalities of the Food Co-Packing Industry (webinar video)
A commercial kitchen can appeal to many different potential renters, from families and groups to professional caterers, chefs and food processors. You need a fully-stocked, modern kitchen to succeed.
This series of factsheets covers issues involved in getting your commercial kitchen ready to rent out. If you are already renting out your kitchen, the factsheets may provide a refresher, plus new ideas about ways to reach out to new customers in your area.
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