Zipline Checklist for Entrepreneurs



– Are you set up to operate as a business or company? [FindLaw]

– Does your product need GRAS? [FDA]

– What are the federal, state and local regulations governing your product? [FDA]

– Do you own a patent on your process or your product? Do you need to apply for one? [USPTO]


– What are the overall food and beverage trends, and how does your product fit in? [HPG Food Trends 2017] [HPG Google Search Trends] [IRI] [The Hartman Group] [Mintel] [McCormick] [Baum Whiteman]

– What are the potential market categories you are considering, short, mid and longer term? [IRI]

– What is the size of each category (dollars/units?)

– What is the growth curve?

– How does it divide by distribution channel?


– Who are the key competitors in each category? [Mintel]

– Are they big, established companies or smaller, entrepreneurial players?

– What are the price points by key competitor and retail channel?

cost of entry

– For the categories under consideration, what sections of the store are you targeting? Shelf stable? Refrigerated? Frozen?

– What are the slotting costs for each section? [CSPI]

– What are the distribution costs? Does it require refrigerated or frozen transport or other special handling?

– What is the average product shelf life in target categories? Does the product have high turn?


– Is there a high potential white space for your offering? [HPG Kitchen Ideation]

– What is your topline product strategy? How many products in the line?

– What is your topline distribution strategy? How will they be shipped?

– What is your topline pricing strategy?

– What is your potential first six months, 12 months and 2 year volume?


– Is there a consumer segmentation model that can provide direction on high potential clusters for your offering? [IRI/SPINS]

– Who is the ideal target?

– What is the frame-of-reference or most likely source of volume for your offering? [HPG Rapid Proto-cepting] In other words, what are they buying now, and will this replace it or be bought in addition to it?

– What is your unique point of difference? In other words, why should they want to replace what they are currently buying or buy yours in addition to their current purchase? [Nielsen]

– What clean label or nutritional delivery must be part of the proposition?

– What is your brand story?

– Do you have a brand name? Is it trademarked? [USPTO]


– Do you have bench top recipes?

– Have they been sensory tested with consumers? [sensory science]

– Have you conducted preliminary stability tests? [stability testing]

– Have you looked into sourcing commercial ingredients? [Food Master]

– Are they readily available? Scalable? Affordable? Will they require off site assembly?


– How will your product be packaged? [WikiHow]

– What types of packaging will be most efficient with your selected co man?

– What is the best packaging to assure stability, quality and shelf presence?

– Has the product been lab tested under various conditions, and with the ingredients, process and packaging you intend to market? [stability testing]

– What type of labeling will you need? [FDA]

– What kind of unit packaging will you need?


– How will you produce the product?

– Are you looking at self manufacture, or a co manufacture?

– Do you have a short list of potential manufacturing partners? [Contract Manufacturing Directory]

– Have you put together production guidelines and criteria for partner selection? [5 things to consider]

– Have you developed a commercial formula? [recipe vs formula] [writing formulas]

– Do you own the formula? [owning your formula]


– How will you go to market? On line, broker network, direct sales? Have you selected a distribution partner?

– Who are your high potential customers? If retail, what are the buying calendars by key customer? [Walmart] [RangeMe]


– Do you have a sales presentation, capturing the market potential, brand story and unique aspects of your product, along with pricing, unit, shipping and other factors? [sales pitch]


– Do you have an estimated pre-sales cost and timetable?


For more information or to discuss your product or company, contact Mary Haderlein, Principal.