Finding Customers For Your Herb Garden Business

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You have the business style, you have the business plan (you DID write up your business plan, didn't you?), now all you need are the customers. Here are some tips for generating buzz about your herb garden business-even before you grow your first seedling.  

 Finding customers

Customers are the reason you are in this business to begin with. Of course you have the passion for plants, but if you can't sell any of them, it goes back to being a hobby and not a business.

If you have never tried to sell something to another person, you should give it some thought. Your skills at making a person feel comfortable and making them want to buy your product, will be the difference in an empty table at the end of the day/week, and fresh product that sits and goes bad. Find your customers and you will sell your product.  Here are some ideas for finding customers both directly and indirectly. 


Networking within the industry

Much of the growth of a business comes from networking with others who are in the same business. Gardening is so dependent on the weather, the whim of the customers, good relationships, you must network. It can not be stressed enough that you must be a trusted part of your area's gardening network in order to succeed. Don't think that just because you are selling a few trays of kitchen herbs on the weekends that you don't need to have a network. 

Your network will bring customers to your door and help you stay on track to having a successful business.



Getting the word out locally

Before you sell your first flat of basil, you have to grow the idea that you will become a garden business to your local base. Since there is plenty of time between planting and harvesting to build enthusiasm, the off season is actually best time to get out there and become involved. Some ways to show your talents include: 
  • Craft shows
  • Free classes
  • Talking to the library
  • Introducing yourself to the Town Hall 
  • Joining the Chamber of Commerce (highly recommend this)
  • Give out friendly advice whenever you can, but not just to advertise. 

These things all go back to the idea of building honest relationships as a business owner from the start. It's easy to do but often overlooked. 


Advertising and sharing info

Most startups don’t have a lot of money or advertising. There are ways of building your ad campaign without going broke in the process. Here are some great ways to create a buzz without breaking the bank: 
  • Social media (Facebook page, Twitter account, etc.) These things must NOT be overlooked. Of course, you can't spend all day long monitoring what is being said, but you can schedule blocks of time to look into others who are doing what you want to do, making friends with like minded individuals, answering questions and becoming an authority on your favorite topic. I like to schedule out at least 15 minutes a day looking at my social media platforms and scheduling either answers or comments to my favorite garden people. There is also a huge list of Twitter chats that happen every day of the week. You can find this list at this TweetChat Wiki. It's the perfect way to build friendships and a huge network. 
  • Don't forget the old school way to doing advertising like local bulletin board ads, business cards and face to face conversation. You need to get people to know you as the herb person in the area. The off season is great for this. Many small towns have craft shows and even offer free classes. A 1 hour class will fly by and the room will be full of future customers. 

The main takeaway from this article is that you are building a customer base by becoming a person who is knowledgable and useful to your customers. No flashy bells and whistles can compete with that. 

Next: Choosing the products to sell
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