[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
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.

QUESTION
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?

ANSWER
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?


To ask George Derbyshire a question about how best to market your small business use the email form below.

Alternatively you can email another member of our small business and entrepreneurship panel of experts by clicking on one of the links on the right.

Name
Your E-mail address
Country
Comments

The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published. Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.





RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific