Building an Microgreens Business – The Beginning

Ed Wike
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Getting to Growing

Microgreens are a huge business, and they’re usually more profitable than other crops. Because of the small size, they don’t take a lot of time to grow, so you can grow more of them quickly. You can still keep your local clientele but go after a national market as well with microgreens. They’re a good cash crop for farmers’ markets and can bring in substantially more than a garden full of mature vegetables … and you only need to buy small quantities of seeds and seedlings instead of a whole bag of them. A short growing period gives you more flexibility on when you plant, too. So the season you choose could have a big effect on your production.

So microgreens are a good crop for farmers but they can also be grown (at least some kinds of them) by small-scale growers in home or urban gardens. Look at what you have in your garden. Do you have some warm area where you can start seeds? If you do, you may be able to build a microgreen business on the garden you have.

Time to Harvest

Many people start microgreens growing businesses through their love of gardening. This runs the gamut from the person who grew a few vegetable plants on the windowsill as a child to people who have their own garden growing fruit and vegetables for feeding their families. Some people even started by growing vegetables and flowers in large pots placed around their house and now, years later, have expanded to a small commercial operation.

While growing microgreens can take a lot of love and attention, growing food for sale involves different considerations such as the economics, time and a lot of money. If you are planning to grow microgreens commercially, you need to prepare for a lot of hard work.

Putting On My Pitching Persona

Our first pitch was to a local 7 Eleven store. The owner was interested, but only wanted to carry one of our products. I wanted to know if he would order hundreds of packs of seed for us. He said no.

I wanted him to be our first customer. Or second. Or third. Or….

I wanted to convince him that we would not be a drain on his resources, but would actually, potentially, be a great source for his own store. I was passionate about it.

I threw in a sales pitch, and used my “pitching persona.”

I was aggressive, but honest. Mistakes were my strength, not my weakness. We would put a lot of thought into this product (going to graduate school and not getting a job) and I thought it would be great for his store. He clearly enjoyed the idea of a local product and a local company. But was not willing to take a risk.

The Pitching

As a successful entrepreneur, you will experience many of failures.

The downside of normal failures is your feelings of disappointment over your mistake but positive feedback is that you learn from your mistakes.

But there is an ugly side to failures which are beyond your mistake.

Most people in the world have little or no ambition to accomplish their goals.

These kinds of people love to see you fail because then they can tell themselves "Wow! What a loser! … He tried and failed! He is not worth it!"

Most of time, you will not even know who are talking about when they say something like this about you.

But nowadays, there is a new way of this "failed entrepreneur" craziness. These people always try to find out how to put your failure in internet and turn it to "public failure case". They delight in publicizing your failure and create a case study out of it.

This is where pitching comes to help you minimize your risk of failure and maximize your chance of success.

Pitching is the center of your business.

Even if you are good at your job, but if your pitching is awful, your customers would not buy your product. The public failure case would be your unavoidable destiny.

So, you should put the most effort and time in pitching.

“The Big One”

What’s commonly called an “Big One” in the microgreens world is a walk-in cooler … a cooler with room for 10-plus trays of microgreens. Few new microgreens growers will want to spring for a Big One. There are alternatives out there. It all depends on how many greens you want to grow and how much space you have in your gardening facility.

The biggest mistake new growers make is not researching what they can realistically manage with their time and the space they have. If you think you’re going to grow 400 plantings a week on a 4-tray model, guess again. It’ll take you 14 hours a day to keep up with that many trays. And that’s only if your greens are more weed than they are actual plant.

If you figure out that you want to grow most all of your sales in house, then a Big One isn’t out of the question. And if you have the patience to start very small and grow slowly, you can start with a 4-tray model.

From Idea to Business in 10 Days

I went from idea in my mind to actual business in 10 days. I've got to admit that's a pretty short time to start from scratch. It's not only short, it's also written in a way that it’s like I'm talking to you. It's written in an easy-to-read, conversational style.

The author, Clayton Gray, is known for the simple and effective ideas he presents in his books and videos. In this book, Clayton gives you a no-nonsense step by step plan to make a business out of something you already do. This book has taken the struggle out of starting a microgreens business and laid it out in a clear, concise way.

This book is broken down into ten steps:

Step 1 – Microgreens

This is about who is going to buy your greens. Are you going to cater to people, restaurants, or farmers? Or maybe all three?

Step 2 – Your Business Plan

This is how you're going to make it happen. You need a realistic plan. Don't try to make it perfect. Just make sure it works.

Step 3 – Tools & Equipment

Here you’re going to figure out what you'll need to get things rolling.

Step 4 – Laying the Groundwork

This helps you to get your business off the ground and begin generating profits.