Cooking Up the Perfect Business and Launching with Success

Photo credit: China Family Adventure

So you’ve created the perfect food product or idea. It tastes divine, and it’s the first of its kind. So how do you market it to plot a course for success?

Exceed Network had the opportunity for an in-depth discussion with Eleanor Maleh, Co-founder (along with her mother) of “Mazza and More,” and a caterer of healthy school lunches. Menachem Lubinsky, founder and CEO of LUBICOM Marketing & Consulting, a full service marketing and business development firm, also weighed in on the topic.

Creating something new:  Eleanor Maleh is a professionally trained chef, and while her line of specialty Middle Eastern appetizers was successful, she had other ideas as well. With her own children in mind, Eleanor decided to use her expertise to create a healthy lunch program for schools. She explains, “I’ve always been told to look for the ‘white space’ in an industry. To find the piece of the puzzle that’s missing. A healthy lunch for school kids was something most definitely non-existent, especially in the schools in our area.”

Overcoming the challenges: Sure, it’s great to create products for a niche market, but how do you convince the consumer that it is indeed something they need?

Creating a successful launch: Creating that unique product is just half the battle. When introducing a new product or concept to the food industry, there is no magic wand. A successful launch means good distribution, a well thought out marketing campaign, and the use of demos and social media to get those influential foodies talking. Menachem Lubinsky recommends thinking about the following questions before even developing a marketing campaign:

  • Why should the consumer buy this product?
  • What is in it for them? (Health, taste, Innovation, etc.)
  • Eleanor began right in her own neighborhood. She submitted her proposal to Yeshiva Darchei Eres School and got accepted as the provider of school lunches. The next hurdle was even more difficult. She explains, “A lot of the students were more accustomed to fast foods, when I introduced products such as broccoli roasted with garlic, it was a challenge to get children to eat.”

Eleanor recommends thinking outside the box when faced with challenges. “Using some creative presentations, more and more of the students began to eat the lunches. I’ve even had parents approach me, wondering how I got their children to eat green beans and carrots. It can be done, you just need to use a little imagination and resourcefulness,” she explains.

Marketing the product: The marketing of the product is a very important aspect of the business; however, if not done correctly, things can go sour very quickly! One of the most common mistakes any entrepreneur or brand can make is to copy or mimic an existing product. Other factors such as lack of research and sloppy presentation are at the top of the no-no list as well. Lubinsky explains, “In my experience, I’ve seen brands place a product on the shelf without any marketing or prior research, with an overpriced ticket and poor presentation (i.e. packaging). Worst of all is not delivering on promises such as health or taste. A smart approach always includes consulting with competent professionals and thoroughly studying the market and history of the product you intend to produce.”

Attending tradeshows: A great way to research a product is by attending tradeshows. At these shows, entrepreneurs and brands have an opportunity to get a clear idea of whom they want to sell their product to and how they want to sell it. By introducing a product in this environment you can get a feel for response and likeability. Lubinsky states, “If your product is truly revolutionary, then retail chains can be considered, but if it is more ordinary, start with the smaller stores. In my experience, my motto was always: ‘you never know!’”

Considering a broker: A decision to hire a broker may well be one of the most critical points that entrepreneurs and new brands have to address. This decision can determine the initial introduction of a new company and product. Many startup companies have a tendency to neglect this part of the business in the early stages because of the tremendous focus placed on the product itself. So, when should entrepreneurs use a broker? “Brands or entrepreneurs should consider a broker if they can’t find a good distributor, if a broker has an in with certain retailers or if the broker has a particular demand for that product. Otherwise, I would suggest other avenues,” explained Lubinsky.

By Lolita A. Alford

Thinking about cooking up your own food business? Contact us at Exceed Network and let us guide through the steps needed for success!


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