[Guest Post] Hi, I’m Claire Brumby, aka ‘The Food Guide’, I’m a mentor, consultant and speaker who can help you to launch and grow your food and drink business. The Food Guide was born through my own experience and passion for helping food and drink entrepreneurs thrive, so here are my top 3 tips, no matter what stage you’re at in your journey;

1. Never be afraid to reach out

Most foodies start their journey as single founders or maybe with a partner. It can be a very isolated and lonely place but it doesn’t have to be this way. I believe that you maximise your chances of success when you network, collaborate and make friends with like-minded inspirational or impressive people in this industry.

I can recall many times during my own journey where I would have given anything to talk to someone who had been through all of this before. Someone who understood the pain, confusion, lack of direction, constant doubt around yourself, your product, your brand and the physical and mental drain it takes on you. Finding a mentor who understands these challenges and can support you through the highs and lows will keep you on the right path to growing your business and achieving your dream.

2. Reverse your thinking when tackling a problem

No matter what issues you are facing, work backwards from the goal you want to achieve. If for example, you are trying to get a buyer to pick up the phone, read your email or list your product, you need to build the ‘pitch’ from their viewpoint. All too often when you are passionate about your product, you get too close to it and forget what the buyer actually needs from you to benefit them.

Turn the sell around:

* Why should they list you?
* What’s in it for them?
* How will you enhance the category?
* What is the benefit?

It’s an obvious one, but it’s a good reminder to come back to base with.

3. Be creative and innovative when growing your business

This applies to everything when launching and growing your business and ranges from your products, branding and marketing. I believe to get ahead and stay there you need to implement your creativity and innovation. By doing both you will engage with your customers better. The food industry is fast-moving and we are all constantly on the lookout for the next big thing or the newest way to be. Small businesses have the advantage of being creatively agile, responding quickly with new innovations when needed. Keep these points as your benchmarks and I believe not only will you have bigger wins, but you’ll also enjoy your business more.

I hope these points have helped you find a new perspective on your business. I have a very real and honest way of working so am happy to share everything with you about the ups and the downs of growing a business; the huge wins I gained and the (many) mistakes I made during my journey, as I know this will help you too. I have built a strong network over the years, so if I don’t have the answer you need, I am sure I will be able to point you in the direction of someone who does know.

*** Special Offer for Smoothie PR Readers! ***

What do you need help with in your business right now?

All small business foodies face unique challenges along the way, so I am offering a FREE 30 minute Skype call to chat about any of the following:

* Market research: Where’s the gap in the market, what’s your USP? Are you passionate about the product?
* How will you bring your idea to life: Do you have the finances, skills and resources required?
* Your product: How will you make it, who will make it? It must taste scrumptious!
* Legal stuff – Labelling, legislation, shelf life etc.
* How to create your brand: Name, logo, message, personality of your brand.
* Sales: Costs, margins, profit, buyers and cash flow.
* Marketing: Who are your customers and how will you reach them?
* Fun!: I firmly believe you need this as if the fun or passion dies, so does your business.

This is an ongoing offer no matter how far into the future you’re reading this post, and is limited to one call per business.

Let’s connect; you can email me, visit my website, Facebook page and follow me on Twitter. I hope to work with and help you soon.

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