Ideas for a new business might be right under your nose...the key is to act on it as soon as you see the opportunity come available.
Here's my story.
The co-op sold a commercial granola blend that was pretty popular, but I just wasn't happy with it.
In addition to the flavor, the price was also steep to me considering the simple ingredients and even at low co-op pricing.
I knew it would need to be toasted, but the exact method was a mystery.
(This was several years ago when going to the internet for recipes was not an option.)
I had nothing against the oil except the quantity and the lack of flavor.
These were very cheap materials to use in food experiments, fortunately.
For sweetening, I used maple syrup, also bought in bulk, as well as honey and brown sugar.
Dried fruits and raisins and nuts were also available for the mixtures.
I used real butter for the fat, but reduced the quantity greatly for a lower fat granola that had tons of taste appeal.
As I got the timing down I found the best time to add each one.
I made different combinations like a honey brown sugar blend made with pecans and dates and a maple cinnamon blend with hazelnuts and apricots.
We ate a lot of granola, some excellent and some that was tasted and fed to the birds.
I would have never come up such an idea for a new business...it just happened that way.
All of the experimenting described above was all done in the beginning just for our own use.
One morning a friend who was also a co-op member came by around breakfast time and was offered some of our granola.
He was wild about the taste and begged to have a batch made for him. Of course, I customized the flavors, fruits, and nuts to his preference.
Immediately, others wanted to order some, and the idea of getting exactly the flavors you wanted was hugely popular.
These people shared their batches as well and for the next week I had a slew of orders.
We had set pricing that also allowed for fuel costs and our time after the first week, in fact setting them a little higher since we had no real thought of a business at first.
It helped that we happened to have a huge kitchen with two stoves and ovens, one gas and one electric and also had plenty of big roasting pans for the orders.
What started as just dissatisfaction with a commercial granola became a thriving small business in no time.
People loved the customizing and we even created other innovations such as granola and powdered milk in individual zipper bags that needed only water for a quick meal. Backpackers bought that version in big bunches.
So did some moms who wanted to simplify breakfasts.
Fortunately we learned this before getting over our heads, but word of mouth referrals eventually began to overgrow our capacity.
I sold "granola lessons" on my way out and taught former customers how to make their own, though!
Granola is still very popular and I suspect a custom gourmet business would be successful.
It might be just the idea for a new business that you are looking for.
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