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How to Build a Healthy Snack Business

You might be itching to start your own business and you just don’t know how to get started. Well, the story of Undercover Snacks show how the best way to get started is to just get started.

Diana Levy had a long standing dream of having her own business. For a long time, she thought she needed a co-founder and was unsure of which business to start. She then made the decision to learn more about how to make good chocolate and started making delicious chocolate covered goodies for events from her own kitchen. The chocolate covered goodies were delicious, but she realized she also wanted something healthy, light and naturally good.

When her two daughters were diagnosed with celiac disease, Diana experimented with dozens of ingredients to then find the perfect combination. An avid learner, Diana researched every thing she could find and started Undercover Snacks. When business started to grow and Diana realized she wanted to have her own manufacturing facility, she brought in her husband Michael Levy, who has decades of experience working with food manufacturers, as the Chairman of Undercover Snacks. Together they opened their own state-of-the-art certified gluten-free, certified peanut and tree-nut free manufacturing facility in East Hanover, NJ. Fast forward a couple of years, and Undercover Snacks is a high growth healthy snack business, with distribution to all major retailers and high growth revenues.

More than just a story about believing in yourself and in your intuition, Diana shares tactical steps from her own journey to build Undercover Snacks, from deciding her (awesome) brand name, to hiring people for her team, business planning, marketing and much more. The sky is the limit for Diana, Michael and Undercover Snacks!

Abbreviated transcript from highlights of this conversation.

“And suddenly. I knew I nailed it. Like this, this was it. And I came out with six different flavors and fine-tuned the branding, and fine-tuned the packaging. And a couple of mistakes along the way, later eventually got into stores and that’s basically how we got started. And then and then was able to get the product on the shelves in stores. You know, Diana, I think it’s probably the third or fourth time you tell me your story yourself, and I still have tears in my eyes every time I hear it from you. Because I think, listen, there’s so many lessons here. And before we dig, you know, dig deeper on the steps you took, I just want to say that your story shows some of the key lessons in entrepreneurship that people just sometimes forget, right? One is you have to just start, right? You have to get out there, with the idea that you have, whether it is in your case shows it very well. You did not start already with the final business that you’re really focusing on, right? You started experimenting, you said you know, I have this urge to do something and you just took a step to do it. So, I think that’s lesson number one. Lesson number two is you were very passionate about it, right? You were spending time learning and digging and doing research on your own, but, you know trying to leverage everything that already exists right? Sometimes people think they have to create something from scratch and it’s, you know, huge to be a business, but it doesn’t have to be, right? You can leverage a lot of the existing tools and resources that are out there. And three, you had sort of a real focus group of people who were trying out. These were your potential customers, right? They were trying, they were eating, they were giving you feedback And at the end of the day once we have, you know, a small group of people who like what we do and who are willing to pay for it, that’s a business, right? Yeah. Absolutely! I think, I think you said it perfectly And, I mean, so many people have said to me you’re not, gosh, I would love to start a business, but I don’t have the idea, I don’t have the right idea. Even my kids have said that to me, you know, we want to be entrepreneurs but we don’t have the right idea. I’m like, I didn’t have the right idea, and I kept waiting for years and years and I’d write my ideas and tried to come up with the best to try to suddenly have like this brilliant idea. And I think that’s really missing the point. I think that you just get going, just do something And that every little thing, even if you’re working full-time and you’re doing something on the side, every little thing you do, it’s just going to get you closer to something. And you may not know where you’re going, but if you’re determined to find something.”