For our business to grow, we are always looking at ways to expand and improve our business even without a storefront. One of the ways we choose to grow is by adding new products to our menu. As a team, we brainstorm ideas and keep them on a list. Then we try to work on 1-2 new products a month. New products go through a specific process to determine if they are functioning for our current business plan.
Learn the steps that we take in our business, starting with our idea and ending with a price and listing for our new product. Our steps are:
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Start with an idea
Find a recipe
Make, test, tweak
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Start With An Idea
So we will sit around brainstorming ideas for new products for our business even without a storefront. We started a document of our ideas and put it on our shared drive. Sometimes the items are on there because it is not the right season, or maybe we are not at a point to bring the vision to fruition, but all the products on our lists are items we want to carry at some point.
We do not want to create a product and just hope it works. We have a process that we use when we decide to start selling a product, but it all starts with ideas. The three of us have a conference call twice a month to brainstorm ideas for future products for our business.
We have decided that no idea is a stupid idea; therefore, all ideas make it onto our idea board for a future discussion. We then look at 1-2 products each month to talk about how to produce, create, and market our idea.
Once we have chosen our 1 or 2 products for the month, then we will research the product. We are trying to decide what kind of market is there for the product. This research usually involves several different steps. We begin research on the product through Google. We want to know how much competition for the item do we have locally and online. Then we will look on Etsy and Pinterest to see what types of products are out there that are similar to our product.
It is during this time that we do some keyword research and price search. We want to see the types of images used, the keywords that are associated with the item, and the price that others use.
Find A Recipe
Once we do our market research, we work on finding, creating, and tweaking our recipes to create the product we want. We find recipes in a variety of ways. We currently have a bank of free recipes that we give away. We actually use most of these recipes in our business like these Peanut Butter Energy Bites here. We also have our favorite recipes that we keep in our recipe vault. You can have access to our vault here.
Sometimes when we have an idea, we will combine different recipes to get the desired recipes. We love On Baking (Updated): A Textbook of Baking and Pastry Fundamentals (3rd Edition). It is like our baking bible. It has great recipes and important processes and baking tips. It is so important in our business even without a storefront that we have a hard copy for our pastry chef to make notes and to make changes, and a digital copy so that other staff can refer back to the book for recipes and processes.
Once we have a basic recipe, we will quickly price out the recipe to get an idea of what our price point will be on the new item.
When it comes to pricing, we use a pricing calculator that determines the price for ingredients, mark-up, labor, and profit to help us to determine our price. Learn about our process here. If this price comes out less than the market, we will increase our price; thus increasing our profit.
Now, what if the market price is lower than our price? Well, unless we feel that there is a need in our market through polling customers, we will not bring the product to market. We will not lower our prices to meet others. The price is the price, but there are things we can do. We can try tweaking the recipe to make it cheaper or evaluate our process to make it quicker.
However, there are times when we are just limited. We are limited on our resources for a specific product. If that is the case, we put it back on our list for a future time, and then we move on to the next item.
Make, Test, and Tweak Product
If we have decided to move forward on an item, we will make the item and test it. We do a few different tests on our items. It starts by tasting the product and having a few other people try the item.
Then we will completely freeze the product and leave it packaged in the freezer for a few days. Yup, then we pull it out, thaw it, and taste it again. Our business is built on freezing and thawing products because of our wholesale business. Each item must pass this test before we add it to our menu.
Last Price Check
We always come back to pricing one more time before listing a new product. We do this because of our recipe process. Once we make and tweak a recipe, we come back to our pricing calculator and update it. Sometimes during our baking process, we may change the weight of the ingredients, or the yield may be different than the recipe states. We update this information in the recipe calculator to get our bottom dollar price.
Once the product makes it through all the steps of this process, then it is time for us to list and sell our product. It gets listed on our website, Etsy, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
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