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Organic food startup

AlamuAlamu subscriber Posts: 1
edited May 2009 in Selecting a Business
 I have a degree in Economics and Finance, and am almost done with my masters in Economics as well. But I want to go into the organic food business. I went to SCORE today to seek advice from counselors but they said I need some experience in the industry to be able to start the business and they suggest I get a job at an organic food retail store.
My question is do I really need to have the experience to start the business?. I was hoping doing an extensive research would do but the counselor won`t suggest any alternative. What alternatives are out there to gain knowledge of the organic food industry?


  • BizOptimizerBizOptimizer subscriber Posts: 1
    Would you want the pilot of your airplane to have jumped in without experience - you are the pilot of the funds that will be needed to start it.  To invest even your own money into a venture you knew nothing about would be fool hearty.  Could you pull it off?  Yea, you would have a 1:1000 shot or so. 
    You are talking about an industry with its own rules - and if you don`t know them you will lose and lose fast.  Do you know how they do shelf space?  Do you know how to organize a store and  why?  Do you know all the sources of income?  Do you know the "typical deals" - "good deals"?
    You need some mid-level management experience at the least. 
  • RanksIntlRanksIntl subscriber Posts: 0
    Yes, I agree that experience is important but I believe that there is also something to be said for passion, research and hard work.  Getting into the basics: what kind of experience do you have overall?  Do you know someone who has experience who may be a good partner? (This person may be someone who knows the industry but not necessarily how to handle finances and you could balance each other out). Do you know how much you are willing to invest or how much you need?   The thing that I would suggest is as you are looking to start your business work toward gaining experience in your field.  If you would like a "second opinion" consultation on starting your business email me at renee.rankine@ranksintl.com.
    RanksIntl5/29/2009 12:52 AM
  • AlamuAlamu subscriber Posts: 1
    Thanks for your input. As per the experience, I do not have any in the field. But am checking out schools who are offering courses in organic agriculture. I`ve been doing some research lately and I know the procedures involved to set-up a store labeled "organic". The areas am not certain at is how people in the business price their products. This kind of business is mostly supplier based where you have to build relationships with potential vendors and organic food farmers.
    P.S. Does your consultation come at a price?
  • RanksIntlRanksIntl subscriber Posts: 0
    You don`t have any experience in that particular field but do you any sort of experience in retail or anything along those lines because that is another factor that may help.  One of my services is determining pricing based on the various factors that go into it.  The initial consultation where we review what direction you are looking to go in and what I can possibly do to help doesn`t cost anything.  If you do decide that I have services that I can offer then the price depends on the service.  If you are interested in a consultation email me at renee.rankine@ranksintl.com or give me a call at (631)896-6479.
  • AlamuAlamu subscriber Posts: 1
    I was looking up schools yesterday that offer something that has to do with organic food industry and luckily for me there was. Washington State University just started a certificate program in organic agriculture and am looking to enroll in the program. And thank God they made it so convenient by offering it online. Do you live in New York? your area code 631 is from Long Island - I will give you a call sometime. Thanks
  • RanksIntlRanksIntl subscriber Posts: 0
    That certificate program would be wonderful!  In the mean time you can try to get some experience in the field or even try general retail.  We can talk more about those options when we speak.  I do live in New York.  What about you?
  • AlamuAlamu subscriber Posts: 1
    Yea I do live in New York- Brooklyn. Do you have a web site and what kind of business do you do?
  • BizOptimizerBizOptimizer subscriber Posts: 1
    I don`t want to rain on the parade.  I`m not sure what organic agriculture is going to help run a grocery retailer - which is probably the most adept/scientific retailer out there. 
    Much as insurance companies and banks run non complex algorythms - so does the big grocer!  The complexities of selling shelf space - direct vendor coupling/management - selling end of day data to know EXACTLY where they are in the market from day to day - setting price points - shelf layout science - tagging shelf science - and getting the extra rolls out of inventory FAR exceed ANY "general retail".  There is a reason Milk is always on the back wall, and sugar/flour is always just inside of a turn - and childrens cereal is down low - and healthy cereal is up high - and they get paid by vendors for that too! 
    And that was the point from the beginning - it is VERY complex - and HIGHLY competitive.  Just ask the grocers that had been around for a long time and THOUGHT THEY KNEW!
    If you are looking to get in with little info - or with organic agriculture info - maybe start with a fruit/veggie stand.  But you aren`t going to get the complexities of big grocery retail anywhere except big grocery retail.  I got to study Kroger bit in my MBA program - and have studied Walmart for years.  They understand and optimize cash flow (NPV, IRR, etc), they understand optimizing inventory turns - they understand vendor management.  I know enough to know I don`t know enough.
    If you want in with little/no relevant information - you are better off starting VERY SMALL.  If you want to go big - better get big info first.
  • AlamuAlamu subscriber Posts: 1
    No one who is starting out started big right?. I wasn`t looking to start a big business. I have to learn to crawl before I walk. What organic agriculture does is give you the needed information about organic farming, licensing, production and selling. I know this type of business is supplier based, the selling shelf space, direct vendor and management you mentioned are part of the program.
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