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Secret recipe succeeds for new Ontario business: a tasty product and a great business plan

Location
CompanySugarmamaz Gourmet
Industry:Accommodation and Food Services
City:Kitchener, Ontario
Amounts: various  Find what funding programs you qualify for

Professional business plan saves entrepreneur couple valuable time

When an entrepreneurís dips received accolades from everyone, Nancy Guay and her husband were seeking a professional business plan to receive financing for their business.

Home-made dip turns into business idea

One time, Nancy Guay was at a party when a man approached her. "You should really think about marketing this stuff," he said. "This stuff" was the home-made dip Guay had brought to the party. She'd begun with a couple of different recipes, and after receiving accolades from everybody who tried them, she'd developed a few new flavours. "I just kind of looked at him strangely, and he said, 'No, I'm serious. This is really good. You don't find this quality of dip in the stores.' And I looked at my husband. We had been thinking of changing jobs in the near future, but we didn't have anything in mind. It just kind of went from there."

One Christmas, the Kitchener, Ontario entrepreneur was hard at work in her kitchen filling orders for the season. Sugarmamaz Gourmet, the brand name she'd given to her dips, virtually sold itself. "All they had to, was taste it," says Guay with a laugh. But as she lined up a number of gourmet stores in the Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge and Guelph areas, she quickly realized she needed a commercial kitchen, and she got to work on finding one to rent. Meanwhile, she lined up suppliers, enrolled and completed food safety handling courses, and gave out thousands and thousands of samples.

Professional business plan needed for financing

Guay and her husband, Randall, self-financed the initial work, but they finally reached the stage where they sent out their products to be lab-tested in preparation for nutrition labeling requirements. "That's quite costly," says Guay, who realized it was time to get a professionally prepared business plan in place to begin approaching agencies for financing and grants.

"You can't apply for a grant or a business loan without a business plan, so it's the number-one step," says Guay. The couple turned to the Centre for Business Plan Development and was very pleased with the results. "I wanted it done properly, so we hired the services of a professional company to do it for us. They did a really good job. I was really happy with the results. We could've tried to do it on our own, but it would've taken a lot longer, because my husband and I both work full time." Nancy works as a medical courier and Randall as a truck driver.

Guay is looking at a variety of financing options, including business grants and commercial loans. "I've done a lot of research, and I'm good to go. We know we'll eventually have to have a commercial loan in order to purchase a store. We're just basically waiting for things to take off, and hopefully we'll be able to both leave our jobs and do this full time."

Word of mouth goes far for Sugarmamaz Gourmet

Research is Guay's watchword. "The more informed you are, the better. I've had a lot of people in the gourmet business give us advice Ė advice you donít find written down anywhere. Those that are already living it can give you a lot of really helpful advice." She also says the free samples she's distributed have helped grow awareness of the product. "If you have to give it away, do so. Word of mouth is priceless as far as advertising goes."

Sugarmamaz has come a long way in a short period of time, and the speed with which she got her business plan prepared impressed Guay. "We spoke with other people that have their own businesses, and they said it could take one to three years to get your plan done, and I wasn't willing to wait that long. So we hired professionals to do it for us, and we are very happy with it."

Imagine how a professionally prepared business plan could help grow your business. For a free consultation, call 1-800-481-8434.

Please note our Centre is not affiliated to programs profiled in the above article and no claim is made that funding is due to our Centre unless stated.
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