Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Small Business Seminar

Greetings from the west coast. Jeremy the marketing director and English major has been eliciting all of us to add contributions to the blog. The real triumph will be when Dad embraces the blog and begins adding planting and growing tips. Of course he may be too important and use Jeremy as his ghost writer, all of the presidential candidates do it, why not him?

I am in Washington state and am a little removed from the physical location of the farm, however I am keeping involved in the business development partly as an interested family member and partly as a real life application of what I am learning in my current MBA program.

With introductions complete, let me get to the heart of my post. I attended a free seminar geared toward small business owners in Washington state this weekend. The Small Business Administration and IRS were there in force with tips as well as a multitude of marketing, IT and consulting firms with advice for the small business owner.

I brought three main point away from the seminar along with numerous ideas to improve the farm and the business with it.

1. Develop a business plan-the business plan is a great management tool to identify company strengths and weaknesses. It help devise ways to address the weaknesses, helps determine your market audience and how to reach them. It also forces a business owner to take a long term financial view of the business.

2. Find out your market niche. Basically what makes your business different than the multitude of other businesses out there. Why are you special. At Pittsgrove we are the only retail peony grower we could find in NJ and we are only aware of a few retail iris farms. Our goal is to make a trip to Pittsgrove Farms an experience unlike any other iris farm in the area through beautiful grounds and unique plant offerings. We believe there is a market for this type of gardening experience in NJ and eastern PA. This is where we need to solicit information from the local gardening community, what are we lacking in NJ and PA. What do you as the gardener want to see and experience at a garden? We are listening and open to a variety of ideas.

3. There is a lot of free and low price help available to the small business owner. The SBA offers free confidential one-on-one counseling to the small business owner. They also have free online tutorials and training and low cost seminars on a multitude of topics. Definitely a great resource to improve operations.

Lots of fun building a new business at least while I am not relying on it for a paycheck it is lots of fun. I understand, it's a bit more stressful once you need that paycheck.

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