As an entrepreneur in the organic food production industry, it’s all on you to hustle hard, make connections, and market your business. And, of course, networking is a key tool to help you do all of that.
Networking allows you to make meaningful professional connections to lean on and learn from on your entrepreneurial journey — it creates advocates for and fans of your brand. Here are 3 tips to help you expand your network and promote your natural food products.
4 Ways to Expand Your Organic Food Production Network
- Food Blogging: Blogging is a best practice for any business because it helps you to establish yourself as an expert in your field. Good blogging (with interesting content, strong SEO keywords, and compelling images) draws the attention of potential customers and creates a loyal following of readers who will keep coming back for more of your blog and, hopefully, your products). Check out some outstanding Ontario food blogs here, compiled by the Culinary Tourism Alliance.
- Farmers’ Markets: Farmers’ markets aren’t just a haven for hipsters; they’re a place to support local businesses just like yours. Chances are, many of the locally made products stocking your local grocery store got started at a farmers’ market. At farmers’ markets, not only will you be able to get great exposure for your product but you’ll also meet hard working, like-minded individuals that you can learn from and who can also learn from you. And don’t worry if your local farmers’ market already has a product similar to your own. Competition is a healthy component of any successful business: it’s a chance to make alliances and partnerships specific to your natural food products, and it gives customers more options.
- Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre (OAFVC): OAFVC is a small-batch food production and processing facility that offers services that go beyond food processing, storage, packaging and labelling processing. OAFVC supports food processing start-ups and expansions by offering business consulting, including networking opportunities. Informal meet-and-greet events where you can meet other entrepreneurs help you learn about their products and successes. While these events offer key moments for connection, you won’t have to worry about sharing your secrets. When you use OAFVC services, the space is yours alone for the time that you have booked it: the competition won’t get a peek at what you’re working on.
- Experts: At OAFVC, you’ll network, not only with other clients but with staff who are experts in agri-food processing and production and who can work with and train you to use the equipment. OAFVC can also connect you with multiple resources from economic development offices and post-secondary institutions to help you reach your business objectives.
A strong network is important, but it isn’t the only thing you need. Download this infographic to discover what you’ll need to know to build your organic food business.