“Do what you love” has grown into a powerful mantra in the past few decades, especially in regards to finding the right career path. With the growth of the internet and with increased interest in small business, turning a hobby into a profession may be the right thing to do. While taking a chance on your dream can get your adrenaline pumping, it can also be a risk, so it definitely helps to do your homework before launching yourself headlong into a business venture and a potential life-long career.
If you have a greenhouse or plan on purchasing and maintaining one, then chances are that planting and gardening is more than just a passing fancy for you. It also means that you are producing enough plants and related goods to sell them – so why not take advantage of your hard work? Aside from passion and drive, starting any kind of business will take research, know-how and other valuable resources, but there are some specific things that you should keep in mind if you are looking to start a greenhouse business.
Do Some Research
Before taking any serious steps towards starting your own business, you will need to look into the current market and the demand for what you plan on selling. Take a look at your local area: is there a demand for what you plant? Is there room for your business among others that may be in the area as well? Do you offer anything different that may set you apart and put you at an advantage?
It helps to look at current venues that may be interested in purchasing and distributing your planted products, whether they be food products or of the more decorative variety. Go to your local farmer’s market and see what stalls are set up from week to week. Take note of what they sell, how much, and what their prices are. Also pay attention to what sells and what doesn’t. You can ask vendors for information, but you can also get a lot of valuable info by simply browsing from the sidelines.
It also helps to look at shops that may specialize in planted goods such as florists and even grocery stores. Be sure to check out restaurants and cafes, too. Considering locally grown products are a huge selling point for fooderies and the like nowadays, they may end up being your biggest business partner. In fact, all of these establishments may be potential clients that will buy your products on a regular basis. If not, they can still provide valuable insight when you finally get to the point where you are creating a business model and setting things up.
Once you’ve gotten your potential selling places covered, take your research to the web. Look at what plants and produce are popular in your area and if there are any growing trends that you can feasibly cash in on. If you fill a new niche with growing demand, that’s great, but even if you don’t simply doing the research can give you some great ideas, too.
Start Planning Your Attack Strategy
Once you’ve scoped out your market, take a look at your notes and pay attention to which items were in demand. Compare this list with your general knowledge of things that you already know you can grow successfully. Using this information, decide on how many different things you want to plant and how much, taking note of how long each plant needs to grow, what resources they need, how often they need to be watered etc. Make sure that everything makes sense within the scope of your greenhouse and begin mapping out where things will be planted, in what order plants will be harvested, and make a schedule to stick to. Doing so will help you understand whether you can take on a hypothetical workload.
It may still be a while until you can really get started, and your greenhouse may be undergoing preparations for your new setup. While your greenhouse is in this interim period, consider what plants you currently have that are of good quality to sell right now – these plants can act as an attractive incentive for potential customers and business partners. If you start selling now, they may be more inclined to sign on with you in the future.
Incentivizing potential buyers and business partners can be a great way to clear out some of your current stock, but it can also be the launching pad for your marketing strategy. You may not need a lot of chic packaging or cute slogan work to sell your products to grocery stores or floral shops, but if you want to market to local specialty stores and hip restaurants or cafes, then you may want to consider involving some more branding. Thinking of a hip packaging scheme or punny slogan may be your ticket into gourmet groceries and into the trendiest new bistro in town.
Consider Taking Your Business to the Web
Even if your target market consists only of local stores and farmer’s markets, more and more people are using the web to find out where locally grown products are being distributed and at what other establishments they are made available. Make a website where you state your business and advertise where your plants can be purchased. This is also a great way to give your brand a face. Doing so may help you market your produce to more places and can help garner interest in potential buyers who may visit the establishments you sell to.
These are just some of the tools and ideas that you will need to get started with a greenhouse business. Seeking the advice of others, both in the greenhouse business or in other small businesses, can help as well. You will learn a lot along the way and will undoubtedly have to make some changes, but going in prepared can help make the launch of your greenhouse business go much more smoothly and successfully.