Join a Cooperative
The thing with agriculture is, it deals with large numbers. It’s usually very hard for individual farmers on a small scale to accomplish great results. A cooperative acts more like a union of your fellow farmers, acts like a pool of resources to achieve greater efficiency and productivity. It institutionalizes your business, makes you part of a select group and comes with several perks like, the convenience of buying from a single source.
As a group, you can land larger customers, such as government facilities and schools, by using a professional approach. You increase your ability to fill large orders when you join with other small farmers. Certainly lends more credence than when you go all out on your own. You can even come together and apply for one of the numerous government grants on offer.
By growing organic produce that doesn’t use any chemicals in the agricultural process, you set yourself apart from other local farmers. At local farmers markets, when making a pitch, it will come handy especially when you have many rivals. There are special grants specifically awarded to organic farmers. But be careful, one of the ills of organic farming is the restriction it gives farmers to produce on a large scale, but with guidance and the advice of professionals, you can hit your target while remaining organic.
Direct marketing can involve calling on local chefs and restaurants to offer your products. If your town has a business alliance that includes many local restaurants, you may gain access to a number of chefs through your own participation in the group. Otherwise, visit restaurants and present a list of your produce to the chef. Go to restaurants between meal times when the chef is less busy. Have samples of your produce available when you call on chefs so that even if you don’t get a meeting on the first try, you’ll leave an impression. Create a brochure describing your products and highlight unusual varieties you can offer that the chef may not be able to get anywhere else.
Your best marketing opportunity may be in your own backyard. A roadside stand with attractive signage has a slew of benefits for you as a small-business owner. You won’t incur set-up or entry fees often required at farmers markets. You can open at your own convenience and sell everything that you grow. During your nonproductive months, you can fill the stand with imported produce or simply close it. You save money on transportation costs while enjoying the publicity your stand provides to every passerby. Worth a punt.
I know you’re probably wondering what agriculture has got to do with the internet. The main idea of marketing is enhancing brand equity. Going online increases your reach, with little or no cost. You can start with a simple Instagram page showing pictures of your farm and produce, you might even getting willing investors that way.