Are you thinking about setting up a food or drink business or are you looking for some advice on how to take your business to the next level? Connect Local, Scotland’s leading local food specialist project, has put together five top tips from their recent ‘Building a Bestselling Business’ workshop series to help you elevate your offering.

Finding your market

You might have already had a ‘lightbulb’ moment or maybe you want to consider what marketplace you want to be in before thinking about what shape your business might take. There’s a few things you need to consider when thinking about finding the right market. If you know what your product or business is, next you have to consider who your target market is and where they are. If you’re exploring options, can you identify any gaps or opportunities in a market? One thing to also consider is the size of your target market and how many potential customers you should expect.

Know your competitors

Once you’ve decided your market, you’ll need to begin to find out all you can about your competitors Why are people buying from them and what can you offer that will make them change? Think about how you could take business from those competitors and how they would take business from you. Don’t forget the indirect competitors – people might have different products but might be similar in terms of ‘local’ or ‘niche’. Consider working with an insight specialist to identify the opportunities and learn more about trends and the current market landscape.

Have a clear USP

In order to identify your unique selling point (USP), it always helps to start with the why. This TED talk from Simon Sinek explains why you need to clearly define why you do what you do. Identify what is unique about your product and/or business. Research is key and there should be a certain amount of testing and refining. Nailing you USP will help form your marketing strategy.

Deciding your pricing strategy

Deciding what pricing strategy to adopt can be a complex and difficult decision. It’s important to ensure that price is profitable for all participants in the supply chain and must be competitive in your market. Do your research – what is your competitors pricing and your potential customers’ income? We’ve put together a Good Practice Guide that goes into more detail.

Selling power of storytelling

People don’t buy what you do, they buy why do why you do it. Relate your brand to your customers’ lifestyle. Keep it real. Keep it simple. Once you know your story, make sure it becomes your marketing strategy. Top quality products and the strength of the Scottish provenance is a sales success story – whisky is a fantastic example of this.

The ‘Building a Bestselling Business’ workshop series was aimed specifically at small and medium sized food producers, processors and foodservice businesses in Scotland and was hosted in partnership with Fife Council – Economic Development, Perth & Kinross Council, Angus Council, Food From Fife and Fife Farmers’ Markets.