Bob Ewing — People are desperate to generate sufficient income so that they can provide for their families; some have several jobs, just to achieve this; others have only the state to depend upon, and still others have nothing. This is unacceptable. There are ways out of this economic morass. One is to start your own business; however, a large percentage of new small businesses fail quickly and they do so for many reasons.
If a business is to succeed, two things are important; one is time, you will not get rich overnight. The second is knowledge; it is vital to know the business you are in.
Growing herbs in your backyard or expanding beyond your yard and using the yards of neighbours, friends and family is a potentially sound business opportunity.
But first; there are some questions you need to answer.
1- How much time do you have to devote to your business?
2- How much space do you have (indoors, outdoors, or both)?
3- What herbs do you want to grow and sell?
4- Who will you sell to; (general public, restaurants, stores)
5- What is your competition?
6- What will you charge?
7- Can you produce consistent quality herbs and on schedule?
Who will buy herbs? Local restaurants are possibilities. Consistent quality and delivery are musts. You will need to be able to deliver quality herbs when the chef wants them and chefs can be very demanding in what they want. This can be a tough market to crack but if you are determined and professional in your approach you can develop a consistent market for your herbs.
Grocery stores, especially, the smaller locally owned ones can be a good market. I have sold herbs (basil) to several small family owned grocery stores and generated a small profit. It more than covered my time and the cost of growing the herbs.
Will you sell fresh herbs, plants (seedlings) or dried herbs?
Basil, chives, cilantro, dill, oregano, rosemary, thyme and parsley are the most commonly used culinary herbs. Lemon balm is also popular. Do some research and find out what herbs are being sold in your area.
If you have a site that lets you set up a greenhouse and allows ready access, including parking for customers, then you may want to consider selling herb seedlings for home gardens. Many people want to grow their own herbs but prefer to start the process from a seedling plant rather than from seed.
Regardless of your choice of what to grow and who to sell to, you will need business cards; it is also wise to find out the zoning laws where you are located if you are planning to run the business from home and look into insurance.
A complete business plan may not be necessary; but you do need to know the market. Before you put a seed in the ground; find out who your competition is, what they are selling to whom they are selling and what they charge.