Return to the Garden Sources Forum | Post a Follow-Up

I am new to

Posted by JennyP z6 MO (My Page) on
Thu, Aug 19, 04 at 10:25

My dream is to start a small nursery and marketplace. My husband and I have 7 acres in se Missouri. Can anyone help me get started mentally preparing myself to chase this dream? I need info about resources (catalogs, books) to use for material and education. I have a partial education in botany, but a much richer education growing up on an acreage with parents who taught me much about local plants and lore, and common sense gardening. I have no idea where to start in turning this love of gardening and "green things" into a feasible business pursuit. Any ideas? Can anyone share from experience? This is my first posting on the site, though I read off of it often. Thank you

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: I am new to

Tony Avent, of Plant Delights Nursery, has a book called 'So You Want to Start a Nursery', which I have heard recommended highly. You can get it from his nursery website or from booksellers.

RE: I am new to

I've heard, too, that the Avent book is a good starting point..........

If you don't have much experience in retail, you might also want to look into taking a basic business class or two, possibly through a local community college. Something that will get you thinking about a business plan, familiarize you with accounting language, marketing, etc. Our local community college offers (once in a while) a short course on how to prepare a business plan.

Check, too, with your closest Small Business Administration office----they have (or at least had) a program in which retired businesspeople 'tutor' or 'mentor' aspiring entrepreneurs. Every business is unique, in its way, but there are also a lot of common issues, processes, problems. Somebody who ran a small company for forty years is a potential treasure trove of information---especially if he or she started it from scratch.

If you have friends who run successful small businesses, pick their brains, too. I bet they'll tell you that they went through a lot of "on-the-job" learning, and might be able to clue you in on things you can do to keep the learning curve manageable. In fact, if you have NO experience in retail, but have friends in the business, you might see if they'd be game for letting you 'shadow' them on the job for a bit so you can get a feel for all the balls that need to be in the air at the same time on a given day.

Most small businesses that fail, don't fail because of the owner's lack of passion or commitment; it's usually a case of not having enough hands-on business experience, lack of planning, or trying to handle too much on your own (hire expertise!). If keeping accounts isn't your strength, for example, then make sure you've got someone who can take care of that for you.

The Internet is a great source for you, too. Look at as many nursery websites as you can stand, to get a feel for how they market themselves, how they organize and 'display' their inventory, what their 'rules' are (returns, guarantees, etc.) If you look at enough of them, you'll probably start to see patterns and common methods---a pretty fair indicator that something works well.

Friendly 'reconnaissance' of similar businesses in your region would be good, too. Knowing your 'competition' is always important, being collegial can be, too. You'll probably be able to sense who might be willing to share war stories with you; other places, you can simply 'inspect' and think about what you like and might want to adapt to your own business.

Take your time and think everything through as carefully as you can until you feel that have a sure grasp of the pros and cons. Don't feel rushed, especially if it involves a major financial outlay. You'll have enough surprises as you go along; the more you can plan in advance, the less the surprises will throw you.

Good luck and by all means, have FUN chasing your dream!

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Garden Sources Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here