By Steve FarrarIn the wake of the recent spate of suicides in the Appalachian region, we asked a few of the industry’s most prominent experts what advice they’d give to business owners and investors in this competitive marketplace.
Amber Miller, CFO, Blue Ridge FarmCo.
and author of The Last Great Man: The Life and Times of Frank G. Green and the Founding Fathers of the United States of America”It’s a tough call, but there are so many options to make, and you can’t get better value from a single source.
The only thing that will work is a consistent product and a consistent business model.”—Andy Burdett, founder of Greenbrier Farms”There’s so much to choose from and so many different ways to make money, but the best thing to do is to choose one of the top 10 markets in the world, and to do that, you have to be prepared to do a ton of research, to go to a lot of different places to see if there’s anything new and exciting.”—Mike Johnson, CEO, Cattleman Ventures”If you’re a small-business owner, you probably need to pick one of five markets, and then you can start your marketing plan and then go do your best to get your foot in the door.”—Dylan Fournier, owner of Fourniers Family Farm, based in Maine”A big part of the success of a startup is being able to be aggressive and to get it done.
You have to have the willingness to move fast and to make it happen.”—John Boulton, CPA, R&D director, FMC Group”When it comes to being a marketer, you need to be an all-in-one person who wants to be a part of everything.
That means being on top of everything, not just getting an idea, but also getting the product and all the right people in the right places.”—Jeff Leach, owner, Leach Creek Farm”You have to put a lot into marketing.
It’s all about the numbers.”—David Cone, CMO, Red Rock Ranch, Nevada”You can’t be a marketeer without knowing where you are in the market.
You need to know how much money you’re making and where you’re going to get that money from.
You also need to make sure you’re doing things to get ahead.
You don’t want to be at the bottom of the food chain.”—Steve Gillett, CEO of Blue Ridge Farms”I think it’s about having a great product, being an expert at it, and being able with a strong marketing team to be able to get the word out and build a following.”—Trent Lacy, CEO and founder, Greenbriar Farms”You need to have a lot to offer and have the ability to deliver and to keep growing, and that’s a good thing to have.”—Bryan Lee, CEO/founder, Leavitt Creek Farms”It can be a tough decision between a number of different markets, but in the end, it comes down to the same thing—you want to deliver your product to a large number of customers and have your reputation and brand on the front end, but you also want to have good relationships with those customers, so that’s the first thing.”—Samantha Dyer, owner/executive producer of Crave TV”You want to know where the customer is, where the product is coming from, and where the market is going.
You want to do everything in your power to reach out to the customer, not only to get them to buy your product, but to get as much information as possible from them and from the business that they’re purchasing from.”—Margo Loesch, founder and CEO, The Green Farm”When you look at a large business, you want to put the most people on the payroll, but not at the expense of quality.
You’ve got to do both.”—Rachael Nunn, CTO, RNS Group”You don’t just need to build a good product, you’ve got a brand, and a reputation that people know about, and people trust.
You can’t do it without good marketing.
You gotta be on top and have a solid marketing team, and also have good products.”—Nina Kostov, co-founder and CEO of Red Rock Farm”The bottom line is, you gotta be a business owner, and if you’re not a business Owner, you don’t deserve to be in the business.”—Gail Boults, founder, Farm in Bloom”The best way to go about it is to build the product that people want, and build the relationships that people have with that product.
It doesn’t matter if you have a product that is niche, or if you’ve never been to the area, or even if you can