New Years Resolutions for Your Food & Beverage Business

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You made it! Another year in the books. Whether you achieved all of your goals, barely made a dent, or have a lot of work still to do, it’s still time to celebrate. You faced another year of entrepreneurial challenges head on by living your food and beverage business, and you have come out on the other side. Now, as we enter a new year, it’s time to make new financial and business goals — goals that will set you up for your best year yet.

  1. Take Care of Yourself.  Self-care is the ultimate business goal. As a business owner, you are often last on your list, but it’s important to take the time to relax and recharge.  Going for a walk, calling a good friend or getting in a short nap will help you to relieve stress and anxiety and will boost your productivity. Put self-care activities on your calendar and make an appointment with yourself.

  2. Get Focused.   You will always have competition. It’s just a fact of life as a food entrepreneur.  While it’s important to understand the competitive landscape, you cannot let other businesses distract you.  Stop focusing on what they are posting on social media and put your attention towards your own food business.  Revisit your marketing plan and make sure you are doing all you can to market to your customers. You have plenty to do, so don’t let the competition distract you.  

  3. Invest in Your Success.  Spend time learning about how you can improve your business.  Local organizations like the Small Business Development Center offer free or low cost courses on subjects like accounting, marketing, and website development.  Attend networking events to meet like-minded entrepreneurs. Or if you are short on time, listen to business-related books and podcasts.

  4. Drop What’s Not Working and Move On.   Sales speak louder than words.  Even though you make the best tasting chocolate-covered chickpeas in town, if no one is buying them, it’s time to remove the item from your menu and put your time and energy into products that are popular with customers.  Or maybe you made a hiring mistake. After training them and having multiple conversations, the person who you hired to help with production just isn’t cutting it. So it’s time to have the hard conversation and let them go.  Do what’s best for your business and cut your losses now.

  5. Know Your Worth and Unapologetically, Charge for It.  Hopefully, you started your business to make money.  And hopefully, you’ll actually turn enough of a profit to sustain not only your business but your family.  But this won’t happen if you don’t price your food or beverage products appropriately. Take a close look at your numbers and think about everything that goes into making your product — ingredients, packaging, labor, rent, and then charge accordingly to cover your expenses.   Your true target audience will see the value and will pay for our product.

  6. Document Your Processes.   Eventually, your business will grow, and you will need to bring on more employees.  Give yourself a helping hand now by taking the time to write down how each aspect of your business works.  This will make on-boarding future employees much easier.

  7. Ask for What You Want.  Asking for something that you need can be uncomfortable or downright scary, but if you don’t ask, you don’t get.  So stop making excuses and thinking that no one wants to work with you or that no one wants to buy your products. That’s simply not true.  You will hear ‘no’ from time to time but just keep going. Go ahead, ask that store to carry your hot sauce or ask a blogger to write about your new bakery. You never know what could happen.

A new year is a great time to look back at your profit and loss, competitive analysis, and marketing plan. Approach the year as an opportunity to ramp up what’s working, and phase out what isn’t. Be honest with yourself and make the hard decisions, if you need to, ask for help. Be open to the possibilities. And set yourself up for a successful 2019. Your business will thank you.