Getting Funding to start your business.....

happycthulhu(7)June 21, 2005

I have been thinking about starting my own "House and Garden" center lately, and I was wondering how some of you started out.

Were you able to get government help?

Small business loans?

I've found a store front and have a good idea about what I want to stock, but finding suppliers/sources is a little harder than I thought.

Where do you get the products you sell?

Thanks for your time.

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One of my mentors was a venture capitalist . ( now deceased )
It was a business relationship that turned into a wonderful friendship over many many years.

He taught me some valuable lessons , one which was about writing the business plan in order to submit to potential investors for consideration of a loan.

There are several goverment and private entities that will grant small buisness loans but you really need to have all your ducks in a row , such as writing up your business plan which includes a tremendous amount of market research.

Before anyone will look at your buisness plan one of the very basic questions your investor is going to want to see is how you plan on moving your product , where that product is going to come from, the reliability of the product, ect....

From the sound of your post, it appears that you have not researched the most very basic of steps.

Your question sounds a little naive, enthusiastic but naive.
I applaud you for your enthusiasm and your dream, but to make this dream come true this forum is not going to provide you with the answers that you need.

Start with business management classes.
Learn how to write a buisness plan.
Learn about your market, inclusive of your site specific location.
Know your product, your suppliers, their dependability ect...

Paul Hawkins book may be out of print, but you might be able to find a copy on ebay. It is called "how to grow a buisness".
It is required reading.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 1:26PM
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I've been in sales for the better part of 17 years, but I have never had my own business.

I currently sell high end computer networks, but have hit the edge of my enjoyment with this industry.

I am new at this, but would hardly consider myself naive. I just have never done this type of thing before.

As for knowing about suppliers....well, that was one thing I was hoping to get a little more insite on from you folks.
I can sit her and Google till I'm blue in the face, but how do I find reputable suppliers?

I'll look into that book. I should be able to find a copy on the net.

Thanks for your response.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 1:55PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)


this is a really fast post, but you need to be a bit more specific about the type of suppliers you are looking for.

now if you are looking to do something very unique, you don't have to spill all here, but a 'house and garden center' can be defined in a number of different ways.

are you looking to sell plants? annuals, perennials, tree and shrubs, all of the above, none of the above? Are you looking to sell hard goods? pots, garden art, gewgaws, fountains? nails, lumber, saws? indoor decor?

i work for a wholesale perennial grower, and all of the above items can be found at one or more of our customers, so you can see there's a broad definition of the business sector. let us know a little more about what you're looking for.

not meaning to be brusque - i have a date with a Cubs game!


    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 3:05PM
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That is great that you have experience in sales, that is a valuable assest and it will also benefit you when you write your business plan for your loan with your investors.

You'll find out about where to locate the various suppliers when you start to delve into your market research as well as start attending the trade shows and the design centers that exist in most major cities.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 3:05PM
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Are you going to quit you current job and work full time in your new business? If so having at least a years salery in the bank is a must also.

Something to think about.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 4:43PM
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What kind of suppliers do you need?

What are you selling?

Where are you located?

What type of storefront do you have, i.e., are you in an urban center or in a rural area?

Who are your competitors?

What is your market, i.e., who are you selling to?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 9:33PM
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vouts(France Z8)

I'll second the Paul Hawken book recommendation. Very good common sense advice and he has some experience in the area you are interested.

Finding good reliable suppliers is a never ending search for anyone in business. If you want to distinguish yourself, then you need suppliers that nobody else knows about ;), otherwise you'll just be offering the same as everybody else. Sometimes trial and error is the only way to find things out!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2005 at 3:18AM
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Odie99(z7a NJ)

Check out your local community college for the SBA, Small Business Association classes. They usually offer a core group of classes and then some add ons, including business law, marketing and the business and the web. As Michelle has said, your business plan will be the key to success with lenders and suppliers. It does take quite a bit of research. The SBA core classes cover the business plan, taxes and most of the essentials for starting a small business.

For market research, visit the type of stores you wish to emulate. Talk with the people that work there and be honest about what you need to know. If you are honest and not in the same sales area, they may be willing to assist you. As you know being in sales, marketing is the key. Find out what people want and offer it to them at a fair price and you should have success.


    Bookmark   June 22, 2005 at 6:22AM
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There are a few trade publications for the Garden Center business world. Some focused on grower/greenhouse operations and some towards gift & floral. These are a tremendous resource for suppliers and even funding articles. If you can't find any on your own email me and I can track them down.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2005 at 11:01AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Green Beam has links to a couple of relevant trade magazines that they publish.

Here is a link that might be useful: Green Beam

    Bookmark   June 23, 2005 at 4:42PM
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