Running a food business can be awesome and fun, especially owing to the fact that these ventures are rarely a result of anything but passion and dedication. That being said, the vast majority of these tend to fail within the first year – the restaurant business market is hard to predict, even with a ton of research, planning and capital. With this in mind, it’s the perseverance that pays off here, along with business acumen and, perhaps most importantly, vision and ambition. While vision and ambition are factors beyond your control, if you have those covered, here are some tips that will hopefully help you start your successful food business.
Research, research, research
Research plays a key role, regardless of the business type. So, what’s so different about starting a food business? Well, the emphasis on research is even bigger here. People tend to eat their meals at their trusted places, meaning that it’s going to take a whole lot to draw their attention to a brand new food joint. As a rule of thumb, the areas that are abundant with various restaurants are far from ideal for your startup – even if you have the recipe for the best food business venture in the world, people are always going to crowd in front of their favorite, trusted places, which means you might as well not bother.
Research is your way out of this – attend business networking events, don’t be afraid to bore people to death with your questions (though you probably won’t as there’s nothing a successful entrepreneur likes more than networking and bragging about their success) and go out twice, even thrice, a week, browsing the local food places – you can learn a whole lot in this way!
Innovation or upgrade?
Going around the existing (and successful) food joints in your target area can give you a ton useful information. You can learn a lot about doing business in this way, but let’s focus on the product here. First of all, people have to like it, and your friends and family are your best bet here – without being able to serve your future customers a tasty meal, well, what are you doing in the food business to begin with? Unfortunately, a tasty meal and quality customer service won’t necessarily get you very far on the food market – something needs to be special.
Of course, trying to reinvent the wheel is rarely a fruitful process – you either have an awesome idea, or you don’t. The sad truth of things is that you probably won’t have a completely original product to pitch to the market, but relax – most successful businesspersons rarely do either.
The key, of course, is upgrading an existing product – offer something other restaurants lack in. This part of food entrepreneurship is entirely on you and your time spent on research.
Food laws and regulations
This is yet another aspect the food business differ from other entrepreneurial efforts. Depending on the state, food laws and regulations differ – from food safety to labor laws, and you have to deal with them professionally and meticulously. Think about things such as cleanliness – even stuff like finding quality heat exchangers or industrial agitator should be on your list. They provide maintenance-free and hygienic operation, removing the need for the chemical-laden coatings or spray paints, typically found in traditional mild steel frames.
You don’t want to know how many restaurants have ended up closed and barred from performing business on account of a minor regulatory fluke.
Do not aim big…
…unless you want to risk instantaneous failure. Sure, every once in a while, a food business idea pops up that goes all-in and starts bringing in a ton of cash to their owner(s) from the get-go, but in truth, for every food business that enjoys instant success, there are hundreds (maybe even thousands) of instant failures. Start slowly by testing your idea – think of creative food truck ideas, or try the local market to get the feel of things. Not only is this a safe way to see how your product pans out, but it will give you a ton of room for upgrades and improvement.
As results of passion and perseverance, successful food businesses will always be a competitive market. The only thing you can do is make sure that you cover everything properly; from research, to laws and regulations. Either innovate or upgrade, and always remember not to aim big from the start.
5 Ways You Can Use Technology to Improve Customer Experience
Customer experience is a collection of impressions that your audience gets from doing business with you or merely by interacting with your brand. Therefore, pinpointing what constitutes it may be quite difficult, due to the fact that different people get stimulated by different things. Still, this is a field where technology can be of immense help in more than one way. Here are five examples of how technology can be leveraged to improve customer experience.
1. Using chatbots
The simplest way to show your audience that you do care about them is to provide them with an immediate response when they try to contact you. This is exactly what chatbots are there for. Other than this, chatbots can drastically cut down the volume and gravity of human error, providing for much better customer experience. This way, you also get to increase your customer base and grow your operations.
2. Big data analytics
The biggest problem with interpreting the needs of your audience lies in the fact that there’s the subjective factor that you can never really predict or anticipate. With the help of big data analytics, such a thing might, at last, become a possibility. The bigger the number of your test subjects, the more reliable the results will be. Nonetheless, access to big data isn’t all that you need to focus on. What you also need to pay attention to is the right analytical tool. Some businesses even decide to go for business intelligence software, in order to help them turn this data into actionable information.
3. Automating your feedback-gathering process
The biggest problem with feedback lies in the fact that the majority of your audience doesn’t leave any. They go to your site or e-store, complete a purchase and leave things at that, leaving you in the dark to wonder whether they’re content with the service they’ve received. Nevertheless, by collaborating with platforms that specialize in the art of creating an efficient customer satisfaction survey, you can overcome this obstacle with relative ease. Other than learning a thing or two about your customer service (from reliable and credible sources), this way, you also get some responses that are good enough to be used in testimonials. All in all, your options are quite numerous.
4. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR)
The very term experience is something highly subjective. However, what if you had the means to drastically increase the immersion of your customer’s interaction with your brand? VR and AR can help you do just that. First, it goes without saying that advertising and marketing will become more effective. Once you add one more dimension to your brand’s interaction with your customer base, you’ll be able to raise your customer experience to the next level.
5. Internet of things
The biggest downside of the manufacturing process is the lack of understanding of how the items you produce are actually used. You make your items to serve one purpose, describe the way they should be used and leave tutorials and guidelines for your customers to follow but is there really a guarantee that these items will be used in this way? Of course not. With the help of internet of things (IoT), you might finally be able to get some insight into the life of your products once they leave your inventory. This insight alone will help you drastically improve their efficiency and, therefore, customer experience that comes from them.
The very last thing you need to keep in mind is the fact that customer experience isn’t a feature, but the overall impression that your customers have after interacting with your brand. Still, with the help of technology, you can gather data on what matters to them the most, as well as what works the best. Some tech trends offer additional features for your customer base to embrace, thus taking you one step further.
Reasons to Outsource Social Media Management
Outsourcing has become very popular among modern companies. Having professionals take over part of your business process and not having to deal with it on a daily basis is a great option. Not to mention that you don’t have to hire a professional to do only one thing in your company, just opt to outsource it to someone who does only that and pay for the service, not the talent. There are numerous reasons why outsourcing social media management makes so much sense, and we are going to cover some of those reasons today.
When do you know you need a social media manager
Most companies do not realize how important the presence on social media is for obtaining new clients and maintaining old relationships. This is why hiring an inexperienced intern to take over this part, or having someone post something a few times a month. This is not a valid strategy and ends up costing your company a lot. Having consistency is essential. So if you are not certain you have the right people or tools to take this on it is essential that you outsource it to the best possible expert who will be able to handle the workload and ensure that there is a foolproof social media strategy in place to ensure the best possible results for your company. Taking into consideration that there are currently 3.397 billion active social media users this is a channel you cannot afford to overlook.
Having a strong social media presence can help establish your brand
And having an experienced social media manager who can take on this challenge is essential. They will know what are the best strategies for your company. You need to have a strong presence not only to attract possible customers but also to quality SEO lead generation as conducting outreach from LinkedIn, Facebook can be far more efficient if you have an established name and following on the selected social media platforms. Leads that you are contacting respond better to recognizable brand names and to companies they can research and read about directly from their customers.
Your social media manager will know which tools to use
This is one of the biggest benefits of outsourcing social media management. You won’t need to invest in all the latest tools and products needed for this section of the business process. The company or person you outsource it too has already all the necessary tools and the required knowledge of how to use them, making it the process itself far more efficient. In addition, using the right tools for social media management can ensure that you get the desired results far more efficiently than if you did the whole process alone, step by step.
Saving both time and money
This is definitely the most important reason to outsource social media management. First of all, having an expert take over means that you won’t have to allocate your own time and resources to deal with this marketing aspect. Secondly, you will only have to make one single monthly payment and not think about additional investments into ads or tools that can be quite costly. Based on the social media management plan that you get from the company you have outsourced so you can get all the necessary information regarding what you are paying for and be able to monitor the desired progress.
There you have it, valid reasons why social media management outsourcing makes the most sense for both you and your company. All that is left is finding the perfect fit so that you can outsource it as soon as possible.
Offline Business Promotion Tricks You Should Be Using
In the digital world, it’s quite hard to find a business that focuses as much on offline business promotion as they do on their online activity. Sure, there are a lot of businesses that still don’t have a website but even they are present on social networks, with some even using their social media profiles as a primary sales platform. All of this makes people neglect, even overlook the importance of offline business marketing that still gives outstanding ROI. With that in mind, there are five methods that you should definitely be using.
The first thing you need to understand is that in the B2B world, face-to-face meetings are still incredibly relevant, which is why you need to put a stronger emphasis on networking. Therefore, you need to learn how you come across in the business world, how to present your business in a positive light and, overall, how to make a strong first impression. Other than this, you need to understand the nature behind these interactions and make sure that a positive personal relationship has a way of transferring itself into a business world. Keep in mind that practice makes perfect, so don’t expect to make a huge impact on your first convention.
2. Offer samples for free
The simplest way to get word of mouth endorsement (and positive reviews) is to ensure that some people get your products early on. Now, even those who are interested may be reluctant to be the first one to try (or test) the product, which is why you may want to consider offering some of these products for free. In return, all that you should ask from these lucky recipients is that they endorse the product and spread the word, of course, if they like it.
3. Promotional materials
Another great idea that you need to explore is the use of promotional products in your campaign in order to create a stronger brand image. This way, you get to spread the brand awareness about your business without actually offering products for free (in any quantity). Also, these promotional materials can be offered to your customers, given to your employees for their loyalty, shipped to your partners or be used in a contest. They can even become an incentive if you decide to include them in the offer. Overall, this is an amazing idea worth some exploration.
4. Street art
The reason why street art is somewhat more effective than billboards and signs is due to the fact that it works in a much subtler way. You see, when you encounter a billboard, you don’t even have to look at it in order to know that it’s an ad. This means that your defence mechanisms will already be up and you’ll take any message that comes to you this way with a slight dose of doubt, even scepticism. This is a process that every single audience member goes through. With street art, the curiosity might prevail and the message you decide to send may stand a better chance.
5. Attending an event
An industry-related event is a great place for you to do some networking and display/spread your products, both of which are methods that we’ve already mentioned. However, it’s also a place where your presence may be mandatory. Potential clients may expect you to be there and failing to appear could send a wrong message. You’ll either be seen as not-relevant-enough-to-be-invited or it will be assumed that you aren’t that interested in what you do. This is one of those scenarios where the consequences of not attending may be a more relevant factor than the actual benefits of attending. Therefore, send your staff at least if you can’t go there in person.
At the end of the day, most of these offline business promotion tricks can be integrated into your digital marketing as well. Street art can be used as guerrilla marketing to enhance your online presence; giveaways can be turned into a social media contest and networking can easily start with an online outreach. As you can see, each of these methods creates a positive ROI in more than one way.