Are you dreaming of turning your passion for baking, brewing, cooking, gardening, knitting or jewelry-making into a business? Or haveyoumade the leap and are wondering how you can grow your sales? A farmer’s market is a relatively low-risk venture with few barriers to entry and is probably the quickest way I know to generate cash flow. You will receive the highest profit margin with a direct to customermodel with relatively lowcost ofsalesother than yourtime.The beauty of a market is that the organizers do so much of the work for you from marketing tospacelogistics. Your job is to turnthat opportunity into success. I visit a lot offarmer’smarketsand grocery storesas a packaged food industry consultant.I also have amarketing and merchandisingbackground in grocery from my four plus years at Whole Foods Market.I take what I learn from markets and grocery stores and use it to helpinspiredentrepreneurs who want to turn their passion project into aprofitablebusiness. The farmer’s market is an awesome first step,and one I encourage all of my clients to start with,before going bigger and investing more money and time into their business. The firstthing though, isto step backto ask yourself what success looks like for you. Everyone’s goals are a little different. Maybe it is a side hustle or passion project, maybe this is yourprimaryincome generator, or maybe you want to be a regional or national brand in stores. No matterwhatyour goalis, at the end of the day no one wants to lose money or feel like it was a waste of their time. It is important to recognize that you play two roles in your business: technician and owner. ThefirstmistakeI see food businessesmake is failing to recognize that they must do and be both. It is easy to spend time makingyour bread, jam, kombucha, sauce, jewelry, scarves, eggs, vegetables, etc.; that’s the fun part. But if you spend all of your time wearing this hatyour business willunderperformandyou willmakecostly mistakesfrom lack of attention to the business of running a business. Thesecond mistakeI see entrepreneurs make is the beliefthat“if I make it,they will come.” Your friends and family all tell you how much they love your product but now you need to reach brand new customers.So, you show up with your table and tent and hope that people will magically appear with their money.I see a lot of vendors leaving money on the table and not getting the full value out of their time and money they invested to be there that day. A secondarybenefit of a farmer’s market is that they arealso the BEST way I know to get immediate feedback on your product and overall brand messaging. Consider each market a focus group exercisethat you get paid for (it usually works the other way around). The feedback comes directly from people’s lips if they stop by to try your product, but it also comesfrom observing those who don’t stop or those who dostopbut don’t buy.Don’t get defensive. Don’t get angry. Be open. This is thethird mistakeI see entrepreneurs make: believing they have it all figured out and know what is best for their customer. Always be open to learning and growing. Some of the most successful brands pivoted from their original idea after customer feedback.Use this as an opportunity to learn from your customers, refine yourproduct,yourmessage, your packaging, your branding and more. I am excited to offer a webinar through the WyomingSmall Business Development Center (SBDC)Networkto walk through my four-part plan to starting a profitable farmer’s market business and offer my many tips and tricks for maximizing sales and getting repeat customers who become your raving fans!This webinar will cover the basics from getting started with licenses and is focused on a packaged food business, however anyone who wants to start afarmer’smarket business OR has started but,wants to increase sales,will benefit from this course.Visit the training section ofWyomingSBDC.org
to register. ### About the Wyoming SBDC Network:
The Wyoming SBDC Network offers a large amount of business expertise to help Wyoming residents think about, launch, grow, reinvent or exit their business. The Wyoming SBDC Network is hosted by the University of Wyoming with state funds from the Wyoming Business Council.Funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.