If you run your own small food company, you are in a unique situation as you begin to grow and expand. When you are a small company, buying your ingredients from a local supplier like Costco or even a grocery store can suffice. As you grow and begin to expand your product lines, you will need look for alternative, larger suppliers that are set up to fit your business needs.
As I’ve worked with small businesses over the last 10 years, I’ve seen the same challenges over and over again in their transition process. The challenge comes in the initial growth phase, when small businesses are starting to look for larger ingredient suppliers, but are not quite yet ready to buy the larger volumes that a bulk supplier requires.
For example, as a start-up you may be buying from your local wholesale store a few gallons at a time. As your production increases you will need more and more — now you are using 40 gallons a week, and you start to look for a cheaper option that doesn’t have you running to the store all the time.
As you dig into this sourcing process, you are going to find a few different challenges that you’ll need to navigate. Today, we’ll be reviewing all of the things that you — a small business owner — need to be thinking about as you are comparing ingredient suppliers.