Looking For Marketing Advice of Our Gluten Free Product Line...

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posted on May, 30 2012 @ 05:17 PM
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So here's the situation:

My wife and I are bakers (many on ATS know this) and in the last few years have developed a full line of Gluten Free products that are incredible. I don't say this lightly and so many of our customers have told us the same.

We actually got out of the GF line for awhile but increased demand has pulled us back to the science project. And it truly is a science project...


We have developed breads such as white, multi-seed, sweet potato, sweet potato-raisin cranberry and brown. We also have 8 different cookies, muffins, loaves such as lemon, rhubarb-strawberry etc. Pizza crusts, squares. cinnamon buns and yes, even pies. Apple, Lemon Meringue, Huckleberry and so much more.

For those in the know of the GF World and even for those that aren't, the golden ring to shoot for is to develop products as close to taste, smell, texture and weight as any regular products. This we have done with so many of these items and in fact have customers that have tasted samples and couldn't tell the difference on many.

So here's the question: How do we take the next step?

We have inquiries from small coffee shops and stores to carry our products and even one from a larger grocery chain. We declined due to doubts of being able to service a large customer consistently and would rather help out the little guys. Plus, they were asking for recipes and lost our trust at that point. So we have decided that we should market this ourselves but are stuck as to what the steps are to take.

I am asking for not only marketing ideas but legal as well. How do we keep these recipes from greedy hands? As I understand it a recipe can be patented but becomes public domain after 7 years. This is why Coca-Cola has always had a Patent Pending. They just keep renewing it that way so as to never have to disclose their trade secrets. At least this is what I'm led to believe.

The marketing is more important at this point tho. Looking for ideas and suggestions as to how we can start small but at the same time make a name. We already have a steady customer base that we can't seem to keep up with so we are thinking of an investor in order to gain a bigger production area with bigger equipment.

And this leads to the next point: Investors (Not too keen on this idea)

We absolutely can not keep this pace any longer with our facilities, equipment & staff. The demand is too high and could increase ten fold overnight if we could service the existing customer base and bring on new ones.

We would be looking for a silent investor and NOT a baker with money. Recipe theft and ego clashes are a famous formula for kitchen disasters.

Anyhoo...there you have it.

We have a product with demand that not many are filling with quality items. We are overwhelmed with customers. We are 6 hours away from a major center and we are short on the dough (pun intended)


I have posted here because I have come to trust the intelligence and creativity of so many on these boards. We have had many bread and baking discussions as well as outdoor ovens etc. Even when we opened our current location I asked the community because well, who else?

So here I am asking for that expertise once again.

Ideas?

Thanks


edit on 30-5-2012 by jude11 because: (no reason given)




posted on May, 30 2012 @ 05:27 PM
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I understand facebook is looked down by many here, but for promoting a service it def. serves it's purpose.
Maybe you could create a page, check with your local customers to add and spread through their friends like this,
Twitter is also a handy tool, and maybe more down the line a blog dedicated to the products you bake.

It'll attract costumers and maybe helping hands



posted on May, 30 2012 @ 05:30 PM
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reply to post by Evansr
 


I would say all of those ideas were excellent for generating further business, but to get the business capitalised you need a venture capitalist. Google one of your local business angels.

sbinfocanada.about.com...

and in particular:
www.ventureworthy.com...

Not sure if this is your area
www.firstangelnetwork.ca...

edit on 30/5/2012 by PuterMan because: (no reason given)
edit on 30/5/2012 by PuterMan because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 30 2012 @ 05:32 PM
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Originally posted by Evansr
I understand facebook is looked down by many here, but for promoting a service it def. serves it's purpose.
Maybe you could create a page, check with your local customers to add and spread through their friends like this,
Twitter is also a handy tool, and maybe more down the line a blog dedicated to the products you bake.

It'll attract costumers and maybe helping hands



Thanks for that.

But me and FB?...just can't do it.


I am working on a blog and a calendar as well. The calendar is to let people know when we are baking certain products. Too many calls and people coming into the store to ask. So that will help us gain a semblance of control at least.

Peace



posted on May, 30 2012 @ 05:34 PM
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Originally posted by PuterMan
reply to post by Evansr
 


I would say all of those ideas were excellent for generating further business, but to get the business capitalised you need a venture capitalist. Google one of your local business angels.

sbinfocanada.about.com...

and in particular:
www.ventureworthy.com...

edit on 30/5/2012 by PuterMan because: (no reason given)


Thanks Puterman.

I've thought of that road but have been concerned as to how much control we might have to give over. Any idea as to what warning signs we should be looking for?

Peace



posted on May, 30 2012 @ 05:36 PM
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reply to post by jude11
 


How about getting another person to run it? I really think it helps to grow the costumers base and may attract sponsors.

You could also just stick papers all over town, someone will see them



posted on May, 30 2012 @ 05:39 PM
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reply to post by jude11
 


Not my field I am afraid but this might help


While the difference may not be great, depending on the particular circumstances of the company, a debt position involves less risk than an equity position for the venture capitalist. Accordingly, a company should not have to relinquish as much ownership when a financing is in the form of debt. However, this advantage must be weighed against the disadvantages of debt.


Venture Capital Financing: Structure and Pricing



posted on May, 30 2012 @ 05:45 PM
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Originally posted by Evansr
reply to post by jude11
 


How about getting another person to run it? I really think it helps to grow the costumers base and may attract sponsors.

You could also just stick papers all over town, someone will see them


We are well known locally but need to step out of the local market. Putting up fliers would increase our retail base but we need to step up to wholesale and at the same time service the retail.

Peace



posted on May, 30 2012 @ 05:49 PM
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Originally posted by PuterMan
reply to post by jude11
 


Not my field I am afraid but this might help


While the difference may not be great, depending on the particular circumstances of the company, a debt position involves less risk than an equity position for the venture capitalist. Accordingly, a company should not have to relinquish as much ownership when a financing is in the form of debt. However, this advantage must be weighed against the disadvantages of debt.


Venture Capital Financing: Structure and Pricing


Thanks Puterman.

That snippet kinda circles the block a few times...


I'll have to re-read it a few times and go off to investigate but I got the meat of it.

Peace



posted on May, 30 2012 @ 06:01 PM
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I don't know about Canada, but in the US we have something called a "small business loan". You may want to keep an investor out of it, because an investor might decide that he or she has a right to the recipes you want to keep proprietary, and if there is a falling out, suddenly your recipes are used in a book or put online.

I have a friend who bought a small hole-in-the-wall restaurant, and thanks to word-of-mouth, smart marketing using the internet (especially facebook), and small business loans, grew to four restaurants within 7 years.

You could enlist the help of a friend to push to facebook angle (making sure to visit pages related to diseases which require a gluten-free diet....don't forget pages for autism, too), and also another source of revenue would be to hit up hospital cafeterias to see if they would be interested in having a few shelves dedicated to your gluten-free fare. I used to eat at a hospital cafeteria every day when I worked in a building next to one. They had a great deal of healthy foods, and many of the medical professionals were very health-conscious with their choices for lunch, so hospitals would be an ideal place. Any place that seems like it has health-conscious people would be smart choices to try and market your baked goods.

A big natural page I read a lot is Natural News....a plug from Mike Adams would go a long way!! www.naturalnews.com...

You could patent your recipes for 7 years, and if you play your cards right, people will be so brand-loyal to your outfit, it wouldn't matter if there were copy-cats then.

Best of luck!

www.ic.gc.ca...
sbinfocanada.about.com...



posted on May, 30 2012 @ 06:02 PM
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reply to post by jude11
 

As you are looking for investors, would a bank not help? At least they wouldn't want a share of profits or control of the company but just interest on the loan.

As for taking it to the next level, could you do that gradually with regard to supply and demand? For example, say you have 3 businesses and 1 supermarket who wants your products, could you either start supplying them one by one slowly or possibly just give each customer 25% of what they want until things are more expanded? It's probably not much of an idea but I'm just trying to think along with you.

ETA And to work around any possible problems of recipe theft, you could supply ready made dough or ingredient mixes that just need baking somewhere else or perhaps mixing.
edit on 30/5/12 by LightSpeedDriver because: ETA



posted on May, 30 2012 @ 06:49 PM
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Originally posted by FissionSurplus
I don't know about Canada, but in the US we have something called a "small business loan". You may want to keep an investor out of it, because an investor might decide that he or she has a right to the recipes you want to keep proprietary, and if there is a falling out, suddenly your recipes are used in a book or put online.

I have a friend who bought a small hole-in-the-wall restaurant, and thanks to word-of-mouth, smart marketing using the internet (especially facebook), and small business loans, grew to four restaurants within 7 years.

You could enlist the help of a friend to push to facebook angle (making sure to visit pages related to diseases which require a gluten-free diet....don't forget pages for autism, too), and also another source of revenue would be to hit up hospital cafeterias to see if they would be interested in having a few shelves dedicated to your gluten-free fare. I used to eat at a hospital cafeteria every day when I worked in a building next to one. They had a great deal of healthy foods, and many of the medical professionals were very health-conscious with their choices for lunch, so hospitals would be an ideal place. Any place that seems like it has health-conscious people would be smart choices to try and market your baked goods.

A big natural page I read a lot is Natural News....a plug from Mike Adams would go a long way!! www.naturalnews.com...

You could patent your recipes for 7 years, and if you play your cards right, people will be so brand-loyal to your outfit, it wouldn't matter if there were copy-cats then.

Best of luck!

www.ic.gc.ca...
sbinfocanada.about.com...


Thank you for all the ideas! And great ones to boot.

We have been approved by the Celiac Society as GF bakers on the East Coast but that's a long way off.


I'm going to try the naturalnews angle I believe. Maybe I'll send him a care package...


Thanks again!

Peace



posted on May, 30 2012 @ 06:51 PM
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Originally posted by LightSpeedDriver
reply to post by jude11
 

As you are looking for investors, would a bank not help? At least they wouldn't want a share of profits or control of the company but just interest on the loan.

As for taking it to the next level, could you do that gradually with regard to supply and demand? For example, say you have 3 businesses and 1 supermarket who wants your products, could you either start supplying them one by one slowly or possibly just give each customer 25% of what they want until things are more expanded? It's probably not much of an idea but I'm just trying to think along with you.

ETA And to work around any possible problems of recipe theft, you could supply ready made dough or ingredient mixes that just need baking somewhere else or perhaps mixing.
edit on 30/5/12 by LightSpeedDriver because: ETA


The pre made mix idea has been floating around our brains for awhile and I kinda like it. Bob's Red Mill has a great line of almost everything GF and he started out as small as we are.

Bank loans leave a dirty taste in my mouth...


Peace





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