Many companies begin as gourmet businesses – small, niche companies that cater to a very specific audience. In a world that is thriving on disruption and differentiation, offering the perfect option for a very small clientele can be a great business model.
But some companies find, over time, that their products appeal to a larger audience than they originally anticipated. They begin to expand to a point where owners may start to wonder how to and grow their gourmet business. If you think your business is ready to take the next step, make sure you have a few things ready before you do.
Understand your goals
Why do you want to expand your business? Are you finding that your market is bigger than you thought, and you’re getting more orders than you can handle? Do you think that another market is ripe for your concept, and you can build success by working into the new area?
Both of these options are very possible, but you need to know which one you think will work best for your business – and why. Without that knowledge and planning, successful expansion will be difficult.
Make sure your business is ready to scale
Starting or expending a gourmet business is not as easy as it sounds. If you’re looking at increasing the size of your gourmet business, you need to be prepared for a lot of different factors. Gourmet stores expend their inventory with and popcorn to keep up with demand.
Will your suppliers be ready to handle additional orders? Will your current space accommodate your increase volume, or will you need to find a new location? Will you need to get more marketing materials, market in more places, or revise the look of your marketing?
Knowing these questions will help you determine if now is the right time for your business to grow.
Take a hard look at your finances
Taking a gourmet business to the next level can dramatically increase your profits – but it can also increase your expenses quite a lot. And, just like when you first started your business, for a while before you can begin to see your profits increase.
You need to make sure that you have necessary capital available before you invest in this move; getting halfway through an expansion can be like setting cash on fire – but adding too many loans to the mix can make it difficult to meet ongoing expenses.
Study the competition
When you’re looking at the market and making sure it will bear another business of your type, look at the competition. While doing exactly what your competition does won’t work out in the long term, understand what they’re doing successfully can help you evaluate your own processes. Perhaps there are inefficiencies you can eliminate, or weaknesses you can resolve.
Know how you’ll stand out
As a gourmet microbusiness, your value propositions probably revolved around things like individualized attention, , emails directly from the CEO, and so forth. As your company gets bigger, it simply may not be possible to provide this kind of service to every client. You will need to understand, reevaluate, and reinterpret your value propositions so that you’ll continue to stand out in your new, expanded marketplace.
Take a step back
As the CEO of an incredibly small gourmet business, you probably had your fingers in every pie. You probably did some marketing and social media, some product testing, some accounting, and some customer service. In the early days, owners have to do some of everything because they simply can’t afford to pay other people to do everything.
As your company expands, however, you will find that you can’t keep up. This is when it starts becoming time to hire people to do some of that other work for you. If you have enough work to maintain a full time position, hiring someone may be the right choice; if not, contracting a service or a freelancer may give you the boost you need to hit the next level.
Either way, you will probably find that you are less personally involved in the day to day operations of your business. If you’re not okay with that, taking your business to the next level in terms of size may not be the right choice for you.
Be ready to halt expansion
One key factor is knowing if it’s time to pull the plug on expanding. If you’re seeing money disappear, if you’re not getting the results you need, it may not be worth it to expend the capital just to need to back off in the future. Wasting money by trying to expand and then not completing the work is frustrating, but less frustrating than closing your business all together.