Pros: 10 great case studies on those that achieved their dream business
Cons: focuses on those that made it and doesn't do enough to remind people how difficult it is to succeed
Are you a backyard barbecue warrior with a great sauce you want to try and market? Maybe your friends tell you that you should sell that granola you give as Christmas gifts, or maybe you've created a new food that meets the needs of a niche market that hasn't been exploited yet. Well, before you even consider trying to turn your item into a product found in stores across the nation, I suggest you read "Cooking Up a Business" by Rachel Hofstetter.
Rachel offers up "case studies" of 10 individuals (and couples and partners) that successfully turned their passion for food into big money as they navigated the slippery slope of launching and marketing a new food product; products ranging from granola to gluten free crackers, to high-end chocolates and beyond. In doing so, "Cooking Up a Business" teaches 10 important lessons on various aspects of getting a product to market.
In "Cooking Up a Business" Rachel Hofstetter doesn't create a "how-to" guide in getting a product from your kitchen to the national market, but offers a number of lessons on how to possibly navigate some of the numerous steps involved. While all these case studies focus on individuals who eventually "made-it" in the industry, many of the lessons to be learned in this book come not from the successful things they did, but from the pitfalls and mistakes them made
You'll learn from Mary Waldner, of "Mary's Gone Crackers, a gluten free line of foods, not only the importance of finding a mentor to help you navigate the world of wholesale food stuffs, but also about the hidden dangers of growing too rapidly and how to avoid common pitfalls of rapid growth. There are lessons in dealing with venture capitalists, how to create a focused business plan, and how to create and market your brand, as well as many other lessons, both big and small.
Probably the biggest take away from this book, though, is the amount of time, energy, focus and sacrifice it takes to turn your homemade food into a national brand. None of these individuals would have made it if they hadn't fought tooth and nail to get to where they are now. Time and again, these entrepreneurs relate stories of how, in the early days, they would work 18-20 hours a day, run up their personal credit card bills and take themselves to the edge of utter ruin before they made it. And while this perseverance paid off for these people I also can't help but notice that in many cases there was a good amount of luck involved
While this book may not walk you through all the details of taking a new food product to market, I do think that is book is a must read for anyone that is considering taking this step. The lessons taught in this book are invaluable, and on top that I think it gives a great sense of what it takes to succeed