Small Food Business Resource Centre

Practical and Valuable Tips for Starting, Managing, and Growing a Thriving Food Business

Starting a local online food business in Shoalhaven can be a convenient way to supply residents, visitors and tourists in your locality and expand your market. With the rise of online shopping and food delivery services, it’s easier than ever to sell food online and reach local customers in a place like Nowra and beyond. Here is a ten-step plan for getting started with your own online food business in Shoalhaven

 Step 1: Choose your products

Do careful research and decide what type of food products you want to sell online to people local area. You can sell fresh produce, baked goods, prepared meals, or other types of food. Consider what food is popular in the Shoalhaven area and what products you can source locally.  

Step 2: Test your market

It’s essential to test your market before you start your online food business. Depending on your offering, you can start by sampling your products among friends and families if safe to do so. You can also sell your licensed food products at local farmers’ markets or fairs. This will give you an idea of popular products and what customers want.

Step 3: Get licensed and insured.

You also need to understand and be sure you can meet the legal and regulatory requirements for selling such products. Before starting your online food business, make sure you have the necessary licenses and insurance. This will vary depending on the type of food products you’re selling and the regulations in your area. Contact your local council for more information about the licenses and insurance you’ll need. For Shoalhaven businesses, a good place to start is to visit the food and drink information page of the Shoalhaven City Council’s website

Step 4: Develop a business plan

Before you start your online food business, it’s important to have a clear plan in place. This should include details about your products and services, your target market, your marketing and sales strategies, and your financial projections. 

If you need help creating a business or marketing plan, we recommend the free business concierge services of NSW Business Connect. You can also connect with experienced business advisors from NSW Business Connect who support our community of small local food businesses that sell food products or farm produce on Food Markies online market.

Step 5: Create a local online food shop

One of the easiest ways to grow your food business locally is to sell on a local online market where you can easily reach and get discovered by online shoppers who love to support local businesses like yours. A local e-commerce platform like Food Markies is a great place to set up your online food or farm shop alongside other businesses that offer products that could complement yours. Food Markies also has a growing community of small food businesses where you can give and get support to build a strong local brand.

Step 6: Get your food delivery service in place.

Food delivery is a key component of an online food or fresh produce supply business. This can sometimes come at a high cost to your business; however, a cost-effective third-party pick-up and delivery service like Food Markies’ hub in your community can save you a lot of time and financial cost. You can also handle delivery yourself using your vehicle. If you choose to handle your deliveries, ensure you have a reliable vehicle and a good GPS.

Step7: Promote your business

Once your online food or farm shop is up and running, promoting your business to attract customers is important. Consider using social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Google My Business to promote your local online shop. Encourage supportive friends and families to spread the word, share testimonials about your products, and share your online store link with locals in their network. You can also use paid advertising or influencer marketing to reach new customers in your area.

Step 8: Build relationships with suppliers

Building relationships with local suppliers is vital to ensure a steady supply of high-quality food products. This will allow you to source fresh, locally-grown produce and other food products at competitive prices. Building relationships with suppliers can also help you to create unique and exclusive products that will set your business apart from the competition. Food Markies online market provides opportunities for food businesses in its community to connect, build supportive relationships and grow stronger together. This is a great benefit that local businesses rarely get when selling their products through popular and well-established e-commerce platforms like Shopify.

Step 9: Focus on customer service

Providing excellent customer service is crucial for the success of any online food business. Make sure you promptly respond to customer inquiries and complaints and are always available to answer questions and provide assistance. You can also offer additional services like gift wrapping, special requests, and personalised recommendations to help build customer loyalty.

Step 10: Keep your business organised

Running an online food business can be complex, so keeping your business organised is essential. This includes keeping track of inventory, managing orders, and keeping accurate financial records. Investing in tools like accounting

Conclusion

Starting an online food business in Shoalhaven can be a great way to reach customers and expand your market. By developing a solid business plan, choosing the right products, creating an online food or farm shop on a local online market like Food Markies, and promoting your business effectively, you can build a successful online food business in the Shoalhaven region of New South Wales, Australia.

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