Your Market

If your square foot garden business is to be a success, you I, must find the perfect market for your produce.

-- The time and effort you spend searching out and securing a market before you start will pay higher dividends than any other thing you can do. If people starting a new business would spend more time investigating where and how they're going to sell and who's going to buy, the failure rate (five out of ten fail in the first year) would be cut in half. Aim for sales that are:

  1. Continuous.
  2. Assured, if not guaranteed.
  3. Prompt, well-paying, and profitable for your investment of time and money.

How often I have heard, "After business picks up and we sell more items, our costs will come down so we can make a profit." Often it never happens. You must make a profit right from the start.

Or I hear, "We're selling a lot but on large orders we have to big discounts, and now we're having trouble collecting."

Avoid the Headaches

Collections and cash flow are two of the biggest headaches in any business, large or small, part- or full-time. Ask anyone in business. It's enough to discourage the strongest of heart and the most eager beginner.

So what does all this mean to you, who just want to earn a little extra money? It means you should start in the right business, find the best market, and then sell the right product in the most profitable way. If you were going to sell your grandmother's homemade soup, you could sell it from your porch, door-to-door, or at the local farmers' market. Or you could open a small store, sell it through local stores, or get a large chain or national store to carry it.

Marketing your vegetables is no different. First you have to decide how you will sell them. You have your choice of selling at wholesale or retail. Wholesale means you get only half of the retail price, but you sell in large quantities — ten crates of lettuce at a time rather than by the head, as in retail. One advantage of wholesaling is dealing with fewer customers. The disadvantage is your vulnerability when relying on just a few customers and the consequences if you lose them.

The second thing to consider is the time you want to spend producing your product against the time you want to spend selling it. This depends a lot on each individual. Do you prefer to be with people or by yourself'?Doyou like to meet people and chat? Are you a talker or a listener? It make a big difference, because in one type of produce business you'll spend 75 percent of your time selling and 25 percent growing, while another type will have you in the garden 75 percent of the time and only 25 percent of the time in the marketplace.

Another consideration is how successful you want to be and how much money you want to make. Be honest with yourself. Everyone says, "I want to make a lot of money — as much as possible," but what is meant is, "I'd like to have something to do to keep me busy. If I can make a profit, all the better." They may want to work in the garden and have a market for their labor, or they may want to talk to people all day. We're all lonely at times and need companionship.

By asking yourself the following questions, you can get a good idea of the success potential of a new business:

  1. Does it take little money or effort to get stzrted?
  2. Will I find the work enjoyable, and does it lie within my capabilities?
  3. Can it be run at a time that's convenient?
  4. Is there little or no competition, so my product can command top dollar?
  5. Will I have customers or sales lined up ahead of time? 58/Cash from Square Foot Gardening
  6. Can I collect in cash at the time of sale?
  7. Will I be assured of continuous sales?
  8. Can I sell all I make or produce?
  9. Can I sell at retail, so I can get top price?
  10. Can I increase or decrease production without affecting my market?

If you ask all ten of the above questions about the square foot cash gardening business, you will get affirmative answers.

There are two parts to most businesses: production and sales. First let's look at production as it relates to the ten questions.

You'll be using your backyard and your own tools: no major investment needed.

  1. If you enjoy gardening, you're ready for business. If you don't, don't start.
  2. Nothing in gardening requires you to open the gate at 9 A.M. or even to be there every day. You can garden whenever you like, as long as the work gets done.
  3. If you live anywhere except in the middle of a truck farm, you're all set.

5-10. All part of sales.

Notice that six of the above are related tosales. Now let's look at the different aspects of sales—where, when, how, and who.

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