It can always be a tad scary to start out on any new business venture, and this is only intensified when you are planning to work for yourself. However, just because it can be a little nerve wracking doesn't mean that it is an impossible dream. If you are thinking of creating a home nursery as your new business, then be prepared for a lot of hard work ahead, and potential feast or famine seasons. But, if you follow these simple steps, you should have a good start for your new home nursery.
- Check the laws. Before you do anything else in creating a home nursery, you need to look into the local laws. While you may not think that it is important, since there are all those stories of home based business that float around, but some areas have fairly strict laws. You may not be allowed to start a business out of your home, or certain types of businesses out of your home, without special permission. Make yourself familiar with the laws so that you won't run into any problems with the law.
- Do some market research. At the very least you will want to do some basic market research. What this basically means is that you need to look into what plants you are going to grow (which ones are popular in your area), are you going to be providing landscaping materials, whether you are going to be doing container grown, bare root, or rootballed products, and so on. In addition, in what quantities will you be working? And what type of advertising do you need to do? These questions may require that you visit a local nursery to see how they answer some of these questions. Advertising will be key, since that is how people will hear about your business and will decide to come to it. Be sure that you set aside plenty of money in your budget for that.
- Look for suppliers. Look into potential suppliers that will fit your needs, and help you fulfill your goals. Be sure that you consider all items that you may be selling, such as seeds, seedlings containers, landscaping materials (such as fabric, stones, mulch, etc.), and even gardening equipment.
- Know your region and plants. It is absolutely imperative that you become intimately familiar with your region, and the plants that can be found there. As a nursery, you will be one of the experts that people go to so that they can receive advice when they have problems. By knowing the region, and the plants in it, you will be able to answer those questions. In addition, by educating yourself you will be able to better answer the question of what plants you should, or should not sell.
- Decide on initial size. One of the more difficult, and yet easier, aspects of creating a home nursery is to decide on the size. It is easy due to the simple fact that you will (usually) have a very limited amount of space to work with. The difficulty lies in how you will be using that space. Plan it out, and if necessary, actually draw out what you envision for your initial nursery. Remember that you can always grow in size later on.
- Create a business plan. Using the information that you have gathered already, start creating a business plan. This document is what you will use to help garner funding, as well as help you establish goals that you will need to succeed in the coming years. Be as details as possible, while also planning for the worst. In fact, as you are writing the plan, write it out as with your worst case scenarios in mind, while still trying to make it as successful as possible. This way it is as realistic as it can possibly be.
- Get funding. Unless you are planning on funding everything yourself, you will need to take out a loan, or get funding in some other manner. This is where your business plan can really help you out. When you go talk to a bank about a small business loan, make sure that you have at least two copies of your business plan with you. Keep in mind though that you may have to shop around at several banks in order to get a decent loan. Banks aren't the only place to get additional funding though. You can also get grants from the government to help you start out, and sometimes the local Chamber of Commerce can help you out as well.