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Last Updated: Sunday, 1 April 2007, 16:59 GMT 17:59 UK
How free samples can win trade
Traditional breakfast
Some breakfasts are less healthy than others

Starting a new business in the food sector could give even the best entrepreneur indigestion.

Such is the level of competition, it is very difficult to make a success of things.

Here George Derbyshire, chief executive of the National Federation of Enterprise Agencies, explains why giving away free samples might be the best way for a new food firm to build up customers.

Tom Lewis, London
George, I sell a healthy breakfast to commuters at train stations in central London.

The product is great, almost all our sales are repeat custom, and I am fairly sure the price is right.

But I am having difficulty persuading people to change their habits and buy from me. Any suggestions?

George Derbyshire, chief executive of the National Federation of Enterprise Agencies
Good for you: you can't beat a good breakfast!

Although we are generally quite adventurous when it comes to trying new food experiences, I suspect people are more conservative when it comes to breakfast, be it a full English or a quick cup of black coffee.

So you've got to get people to try your product. Have you tried offering free samples?

It will get people to try your product and also create a bit of a buzz around your stall, which is always good for business.

If you couple this with money off vouchers, you can track directly the success of this promotion.

And maybe think whether you are at the right stations. Are they the ones which your target customer is likely to use?

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