Food Business Almanac: Business plans

by | Dec 29, 2014

NCDA&CS food business specialist Annette Dunlap offers resources that agribusiness owners and food entrepreneurs can use to grow and manage their business. Annette is available for free one-on-one consultations and can assist business owners with financial and market planning through the agribusiness development section. She can be reached at


In the video above, Annette sits down with Michael Woodard of Carolina Table Salt to discuss his experience developing a business plan. Started in 2013, the Charlotte-based company produces an all-purpose seasoning using a recipe developed by Woodard and his wife. Like many food businesses, the idea of the company started when the couple shared their seasoning with friends and family. Demand for the product increased, so they decided to bottle the product. Within a matter of weeks, Carolina Table Salt was born.

The couple had some initial success selling the product directly to consumers. It wasn’t until after the Woodards began trying to sell the product to larger buyers that they realized they needed to make some changes in order to help Carolina Table Salt stand out on the store shelves. The couple spent most of 2014 working with a designer to re-evaluate their branding and identity, redesign their packaging and update their business plan.

A basic business plan should tell you how much money you’ll need and how you plan to spend it. The document should also be fluid to allow for changes in the market and new opportunities that may arise. As a food entrepreneur, you should evaluate and update your business plan frequently.

For Carolina Table Salt, the re-evaluation process helped the company realize it needed to adjust its budget to accommodate branding, marketing and website development. The brand now has a consistent look across marketing channels. The company also created benchmarks for 2015, and is looking forward to growing the business. Michael Woodard encourages other food entrepreneurs to be open-minded as they create or evaluate their business plan. During the process, you may realize that you had misunderstandings about your position in the market. You also may discover new opportunities for growth that you had never considered.

If your food-based business needs assistance developing a new business plan or evaluating its existing plan, resources are available. Please contact me at or 919-707-3117 for assistance.

Yours to success!