Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Small Business Success (Part 3)

By Guest Blogger Blake Swanson

The last leg of our small business blog series takes us to the final question from my introduction blog. Under the 3 main questions small business owners ask themselves, one of the most important is “How can I be unique?” Uniqueness is very important in the small business market because small businesses exist to fill niches and find success in areas where other businesses don’t. Often times when I go to the store and see a new product on the shelves I get frustrated and think “Why didn’t I think of that?” Sometimes the best new ideas are the simplest as well.

Fortunately, as a small farm owner this last part is much easier because small farm owners often take pride and passion and put it into their work. This means that often times people innovate and come up with new ideas to improve efficiency and make their product better because that’s what they enjoy to do. As times and technology continue to change, make sure you take advantage and share it.

Just this last week I picked up a new printer for our office at The Egg Carton Store. I was intrigued by how my printer can wirelessly tell the manufacturer when it’s low on ink and it can mail a new cartridge right to the door! Technology can do some very cool things in any market so be sure to take advantage of it. Unfortunately on the farm it little bit different of a story because from the last I’ve heard you can’t yet mail eggs to customers… Although that does sound pretty neat.

Beyond making a unique and creative farm name and slogan, a unique product is where the magic happens. Fortunately there are things such as custom cartons, custom farm stamps, and custom eggstamps that all fill the same purpose of making a farm and their eggs unique. Custom cartons can harness countless ideas to display your eggs in a cool new way varying from bright farm colors to your unique farm name and slogan. The much cheaper alternative lies in egg stamps as well as custom farm name stamps can help advertise and get customers thinking about your farm and your eggs. Basically anything you can do to project your own unique farm in the best way possible.

Although I've tried to avoid sounding repetitive through this series, it is necessary that I echo that in this modern era of the internet and social media - make a social media page! There are so many easy ways to do it and share your farm experiences such as through here on blogger, on instagram, or facebook. The coolest part is you can follow, share, and connect with other farm groups and most importantly the farm fresh enthusiasts. 

Us over at The Egg Carton Store welcome conversations on our facebook page where we like to hear what the community has to say. There are just way too many potential customers who would love to fall in love with your farm and become loyal customers to your company, so don’t pass it up. I know I wrote about it under marketing but it makes a business unique as well to see your happy chickens going about their day. It also allows more distant customers to get a glimpse into the works of your farm business

With a little bit of brainstorming, you can bring out the whole lot of hard work you put into your farm and personal small business. It’s been fun writing what I know about the works of business in the small business marketplace as well as on my experience working with farms here at The Egg Cartons Store. Stay tuned for more future blogs!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Small Business Success (Part 2)

By Guest Blogger Blake Swanson

What good is the most efficient business out there that nobody knows about? In our modern era of the internet, Facebook, and blogs, businesses around the world are screaming for attention. My question to be answered this week among the small business series will be how to get people to find out about your business. Every business model from farm to factory should include marketing – a way to get your product into the hands of potential customers.

For starters, use your locality to your own advantage! Your easiest customers are going to be the ones who know about you and your business. Who wouldn’t want to support their own local farm over one across the country?

On the other hand, with the internet and our iPhones at our fingertips, a farmer in Kansas is only a call away from us at the Egg Carton Store over here in Washington State. That’s why we created Local Hens™ as a way for farmers to advertise themselves and their farm in a free and fun way.

As many of us belong to the locavore movement (click to learn!), buying and eating local food is important to keeping the community economy functioning at its best as well as getting the most nutritious and fresh foods while helping the environment at the same time. Buying local eliminates the movement of goods across the country and eliminates the environmental impact along the way.

Local Hens™ was inspired around filling the gap and utilizing the internet so that farmers can get customers to come to them. As an informative site, it allows customers to search for farms in their area so they can get in touch with the people who can supply the fresh eggs and farm products that they desire.

On the flip side, farm owners can create and display their farm page, location, and share pictures like this one that will make customers fall in love with your farm. Who knows? Maybe you will even be a featured farmer? At 1500 farms and counting, more farm pages means more potential customers finding their way to the Local Hens™ site and its farms.

Local Hens™ is just one of many ways to attract customers to your farm, so you can market your local produce to those who would appreciate it most. Go to the farmers market, post flyers, or get in touch with your consumer market with social media such as Facebook and Instagram. Customers absolutely love to see what you are accomplishing on your farm and share their own experiences with you as well as provide feedback and communication with your business itself! This information is useful in many ways such as product revision and knowledge and is enjoyable by both the owners and consumers.

The Egg Cartons Store exists to provide farmers with the products they need to be their best. Tune in to our final answer on farm business uniqueness next week and maybe get some inspirational new ideas that you haven’t yet heard of!