It starts by addressing many of the challenges the industry faces, such as managing cash flow; assessing some of the hottest trends in the industry; focusing your business offerings; and utilizing networking and social media to help your company increase sales.
For more than 30 years, Sensiba San Filippo (SSF) has worked with manufacturing and distribution companies of all sizes to meet these very challenges. Karen Burns, Audit Partner and Food & Beverage Practice Leader for the firm, shares five steps critical to success in this industry.
1. Manage cash flow.
As growth opportunities emerge, so will restrictions on cash flow, as creditors often demand payment before you see cash from your customers. Have a plan to manage this gap—talk to your lenders and investors in advance of expected needs. Other opportunities to free up cash include hedging raw material costs and taking advantage of tax incentives.
2. Know what you do—and do it well.
Sounds simple, but this is often overlooked. Manufacture your products to the highest standards of quality and taste. Begin this objective with a few products to build credibility before expanding your offerings, and strengthen market share by focusing on a competitive advantage.
3. Tap into the hottest trends.
Ethnic foods, gluten-free products, certified organic and natural foods are all rising in popularity as they enter the mainstream. It’s a trend ripe for profits, especially if you capitalize with products that are unique in the category.
“Clean labeling is very appealing to the health-conscience consumer. The fewer ingredients on a label, the better.”
4. Don’t underestimate the power of your network.
Remember the old Hollywood adage, “it’s not what you know, but who you know”? The same principle applies here. To get your product on shelves and expand sales, you must connect with customers and prospects, and meet key contacts. Expand your network and share best practices by attending relevant meetings and conferences, joining local food and manufacturing groups, and leveraging the power of social networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook.
5. Seek advice from seasoned professionals.
Recognize your limitations (often time and experience) and build relation- ships with trusted advisors. Critical qualities include a passion for technical excellence, a genuine interest in your company’s success, and a deep understanding of your industry. Advisors should possess the ability to grow your business ecosystem by offer- ing key introductions to people such as regional manufacturers, grocery chains, and venture capitalists.
To learn more contact Sensiba San Filippo’s Food and Beverage Industry Leader, Karen Burns at 925.271.8700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recognized as a Food & Beverage industry expert, Karen is a licensed CPA in California and Nevada. She’s helped guide companies of all sizes for over two decades, including organic produce growers, food manufacturers, restaurant groups, and wineries.
Karen’s expertise, commitment, and passion for the industry have made her uniquely qualified to share insights into rapidly growing Food & Beverage businesses. She proactively networks to make high-level introductions and her tireless efforts have consistently earned the trust of new and established clients.