When I was younger I was involved in an organization called FFA, Future Farmers of America, and each year we were required to complete projects called supervised agricultural experiences. For many of us, this involved starting our own trade or business and keeping financial records corresponding to our project. For me, it was breaking into my families business of raising and selling animals for a lucrative profit. It taught me a lot about business and how to properly advance my earnings. Here are some of the biggest lessons I learned from starting my own business.
For many this is easy, for others not so much. It’s very important to know exactly what I was buying, where it was going, and how much it cost. It’s important to keep these details so you know how much you are earning and how to properly fill out your tax forms at the end of the year. For me this meant keeping track of food intake, miscellaneous items, and medical expenses. If you can, keep a log book or ledger with all of these details in the same place that is easy to access when needed.
One of the biggest things I found to help grow my business was shameless self promotion. To get ahead in a small business you need to get your name out there and well known. For me this was personally visiting buyers and pitching the case of why my animals were better than the competition. You can promote your business in many way such as forums, newspapers, and business cards. Every bit helps when it comes to keeping your business afloat.
Quality Over Quantity
One of the best ways to build repeat buyers is to focus on having a high quality product from the start. For me this meant that my animals had to be in peak condition and well cared for before sales. Going for quantity will make you more money in the short run but building a good customer base will be more rewarding over time. The better your product or service is the more likely word of mouth will spread, helping to build your brand.
Know Regulations & Laws
It’s very important to know the regulations relating to your specific industry. If working with food know USDA standards, or if you choose to brew your own beer make sure you know the laws for shipping in between states. This will help you to not run into trouble with law and keep customers happy in the long run. For example, animals that you sell in my state must have certain vaccines, be tagged and identified, and free from sickness. Breaking these laws could result in a heavy fine or worse. When applicable make sure you get the proper permits required for your type of business.
Make Sure You Enjoy What You Do
For me this is a crucial point in starting your own business. I grew up on a farm so entering the livestock business was something I was always interested in doing. Make sure you won’t wake up one day and all of a sudden decide you don’t want to work on that project anymore. If you truly enjoy your work it will be more fun than work, keeping it constantly fresh over time.
If you are planning on starting your own business use these tips to make everything go smoothly. I started young in the beef and hog industry and have been loving it every since. Before you know it you’ll be on the road to financial success. Good luck!