There’s a simple reason that The Forge is a food, drink and lifestyle agency; the world of food & drink is fast moving and innovative and filled with interesting people. The creativity and genuine insight is always new and the breadth of start ups is incredible.

This year has seen us add several delicious new brands to our client list, making The Forge a destination for ambitious food and drink brands. With that we’ve learnt a few things about the process food and drink starts ups go through, and as we believe in sharing good things we have put together this handy list.

1. Your brand can be as pretty, creative or disruptive as you like but if the flavour fails it probably will too.

2. The category is huge; if the free from buyer isn’t interested then the food to go person might be – do your research and don’t give up.

3. Sustainability isn’t just a buzz word it’s a hygiene factor. If you don’t have a sustainable product/pack that’s okay but you will need a plan.

4. Don’t run before you can walk. We’ve seen brands go all out with advertising when they don’t yet have a retail presence. It’s best to get yourself known in the trade and build your listings before you shout from the rooftops.

5. Spend your money wisely. There are a great many people willing to take your money for your website, branding, advertising and yes even PR. Be careful and seek recommendations and advice from people who have been there. We meet start ups all the time who say “we’ve been burned by blah blah agency in the past.” The simple truth is they probably weren’t ready for what they were sold. Or maybe they chose badly…

6. One millennial does not a focus group make. Neither does one mum, one fitness freak or one influencer. Cast your net wide for a variety of opinion.

7. Strategic thinking is born from experience. It’s well worth seeking it out.

8. Some of the best ideas come from the most unusual places. Listen, listen again and listen some more. You never know where your break-though will come from.

9. Your story is likely to be wonderful, but it’s not always going to persuade the Sunday Times business team to write about you. Think about the news environment, topical subjects and if you can give them some numbers.

10. Finally, and most important we think, treat people with respect. Everyone is trying to do their job in the best way they can. Being in business is not what The Apprentice wannabes would have us all think. Treading over people is so 80’s. Be kind it’s the right thing to do..and who knows it could be beneficial to your business.