Getting Started at a Farmers’ Market
Do you have a good idea for a food product and feel the time is right to bring this to market?
Perhaps you are already producing a food product for customers in your locality and would like to take the next step to developing and expanding sales.
Whatever your starting point, one of the most important considerations in taking your business forward is in the creation of a comprehensive business plan. While direct selling through markets, etc. is more informal than traditional retailing, this is still a business in its own right, and should be treated as such.
In a small or start-up business environment, it is easy to overlook the need to comprehensively cost your raw materials, labour and other expenses. Such planning can easily be neglected in favour of day-to-day activities but the importance of doing a thorough costing cannot be overstressed.
Formulating a plan is simply the first step. You must set aside a little time each week to review your business performance compared to your targets. You should also use this time to decide on next steps you can take to drive the future growth and development of your enterprise.
The need for planning relates to the customer too. Although the farmers’ market environment is perceived as being less formal than other forms of selling, it is vital to remember that the customer will bring certain expectations and perceptions from other shopping experiences. They will expect the professional manner they have grown accustomed to through modern retail outlets, though of course farmers’ markets do offer a more personable type of engagement. They also expect a certain consistency in product range from week to week.
You should use your direct contact with customers as a way to better understand their needs and requirements and, by satisfying these needs on an ongoing basis, therefore ultimately to develop and grow in the marketplace.