Are you the one who loves to do gardening and wants to turn it into a thriving business? If yes, then you are at the right place.
The global microgreens market size was estimated at $2.59 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow more due to factors such as health consciousness, growing interest in indoor farming, culinary trends, and rising popularity in urban farming.
So, no doubt, it can be a great venture to begin your entrepreneurial journey with.
Then let’s understand how to start a microgreens business through this step-by-step guide.
Benefits of starting a microgreen business
In recent times, microgreens have attained huge popularity in the culinary world. These tiny edible greens constitute seedlings of vegetables and herbs that may be small in size, but super rich in phytonutrients.
Here are some key reasons why you should consider starting your own microgreens business:
- Low Investment: Starting a microgreen business is a low-cost and low-risk venture. Initially, you just need to invest in seeds, trays, and few of harvesting tools.
- High-worth crop: Microgreens sell for higher prices to top restaurants, chefs, and food stores, due to their dense nutritional content, and vibrant flavors. So as a producer, you can charge a premium price for them.
- Fast Harvesting: Unlike crops like corn or wheat, you don’t need to wait a whole season or more to harvest. Microgreens go from seed to harvest in as little as 1 week, or 4 weeks at most.
- Year-round growing: Microgreens offer a unique opportunity for small farmers to cultivate food throughout the entire year, especially when traditional outdoor farming faces seasonal limitations. Unlike most crops, microgreens don’t rely on expansive greenhouses.
Now that you know about the benefits of microgreens business, what are you waiting for?
Let’s begin your business journey as a microgreen grower by following the further steps.
How to Start a Profitable Microgreens Business
1. Select microgreen niche
Before launching your own microgreen business, you need to select a specific niche within the market.
Identifying your niche involves selecting a specific area or target customers within the broader microgreens industry where you can focus and provide distinguished services. This allows you to analyze the specific client base and build a reputation for expertise in that particular niche.
Now, choose the kind of microgreens venture you want to start. There are four main options:
- Franchise Microgreens Business: Acquire the rights to open a microgreen business as part of an established brand or network.
- Microgreens Farm: Cultivate and sell your own variety of microgreens directly to consumers or wholesale buyers.
- Retail Microgreens Business: One can sell microgreens directly to customers, either in a physical store or through online platforms.
- Wholesale Microgreens Business: Microgreens can be sold in bulk directly to restaurants, local grocery stores, residential customers, and other businesses.
By choosing a niche that aligns with your interests, capabilities, and target market, you can create an effective business strategy that stands out.
2. Find and get to know the customers
First, you aim to conduct market research as it will help you understand the demand for microgreens in your area and the competition you will face. You can survey potential customers, attend farmers’ markets, and research online to get a sense of the market.
Here are some potential customers that you can target:
- Residential customers
- Grocery stores
- Farmers’ market
- Restaurant Businesses
Once you’ve identified your target market, engage with them to understand their needs and preferences.
Building relationships with these customers is key. Listen to their feedback, adjust your offerings accordingly, and keep them informed about your growing practices. This customer-focused approach will not only help in refining your product but also aid in building a loyal customer base.
3. Prepare a microgreen business plan
After understanding your target customers, it’s time to assemble your business plan. A business plan is not just a document; it’s a foundation for planning, managing, and growing a microgreen business. It serves as the strategic roadmap that confidently navigates you to a profitable venture.
A well-crafted microgreens business plan ensures that you fully understand your potential customers and your business strategy. You can present this plan to funding sources to raise capital for your business.
So whether you’re an experienced farmer or a beginner, a well-written business plan will help you establish a successful microgreens business to thrive in the competitive marketplace.
Here are important sections to include in your business plan:
- Executive summary
- Company Overview
- Market analysis
- Products and services
- Pricing strategies
- Marketing strategies
- Operations plan
- Management team
- Financial plan
Writing these sections requires utmost attention and precision in detailing.
4. Legalize your business
For selling microgreens, you will require certain business licenses and permits. So it is necessary to do the paperwork and registration to ensure that you are committed to legal norms.
The specific licenses and permits you need will vary depending on the location of your business and the type of business you are running.
Some of the common licenses and permits required for a microgreen business include
- Business License: You have to register your business name and structure with the state and local government.
- Tax ID number: Obtain an EIN (Employer Identification Number) from the IRS. Once you have your EIN, you can open a business bank account and separate your personal and business finances.
You may also require food safety certifications and health department permits if you’re selling directly to consumers or dealing with businesses like restaurants. A farmer’s market permit might also be needed for local market sales.
For microgreens growers, it is important to have insurance.
So it’s advisable to include general liability insurance to protect your business from unexpected circumstances.
5. Figure out financing
Once you’ve finished handling all the essential paperwork, your focus should be on managing your finances. It is crucial as you have to determine the amount of money you will need to start and run your business smoothly.
Make sure that before setting up your microgreens business you develop a budget, and pricing strategy.
Develop a detailed budget that includes all startup costs, ongoing expenses, and potential unforeseen costs. It should cover everything from the cost of seeds, soil, equipment, marketing, and labor costs. A thorough budget helps in tracking expenses and ensuring financial stability.
After developing your budget, you need to determine the right pricing for your microgreens by considering production costs, market demand, competitor pricing, and your projected profit margin.
6. Setting up your growing area
The next foremost step is setting up the growing area for your microgreens business.
You can start your microgreens farming project on a small scale, in your backyard or rooftop, and upscale it as your farm grows. The setup cost is low and the growing cycle is super quick, allowing you to harvest and sell your first crop in just a couple of weeks.
Here are some steps you need to consider while setting up your growing area for microgreens:
- Choose a growing medium: Microgreens can be grown either in soil or through hydroponic systems. Choose a growing medium that is free from contaminants and provides efficient drainage.
- Select your seeds: Choose high-quality seeds specially designed for microgreen production. Some of the popular microgreen varieties include radish, mesclun, broccoli, sunflower, and pea microgreens.
- Lighting Needs: Microgreens require adequate light to grow. If you don’t have an area with sufficient natural sunlight, consider setting up artificial lighting like LED grow lights. These are effective and energy-efficient for indoor growing.
- Temperature and Humidity Control: Microgreens grow best in temperatures between 60-75°F (15-24°C) and humidity levels between 50-60%.
Once you have everything you need, set up your growing area. Trays, racks, or shelves can hold your growing medium and seeds. Make sure to leave enough space between trays to allow for air circulation.
Check your microgreens daily and water them as needed. Once they reach the desired size, start harvesting them using clean scissors or a sharp knife. Rinse them thoroughly and store them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to sell or use them.
7. Grow and harvest your products
If you are done with your growing area setup, then you can start cultivating and harvesting the microgreens.
Microgreens can be grown using a variety of methods such as Tray Farming, Aeroponic Systems, Greenhouses, and Outdoor Gardens. You can follow any of these methods as per your requirements.
You can also opt for Vertical farming, one of the popular and widely used methods for growing microgreens. It is a space-efficient technique for microgreens farming. It involves the use of hydroponics, water-based growing tubes installed vertically to preserve space and ensure systematic irrigation.
Growing microgreens in containers is a versatile option for urban growers, allowing them to cultivate these nutritious greens on terraces, balconies, or windowsills. Container gardening or the use of trays serves as a cost and user-friendly microgreen farming technique.
8. Market and sell your products
To survive in the competitive world of microgreens businesses, it’s important to attract new customers and spread the word about your business.
To get familiar with the marketing and selling strategies of microgreens you should consider attending farmers markets, selling to residential customers, restaurants, and local grocery stores, you can even consider setting up an online store.
Here are some ways to market and sell your microgreens:
Build a professional website
Create a website that is visually attractive, informative, user-friendly, and easy to navigate. Your brand will be recognized by its logo, tagline, and your packing so make sure you built it strong.
These details would help to make you stand out from your competitors in the market.
Be active on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, share updates regarding the crops, and engage with your audience.
Run advertisements on local paper or online.
Showcase your satisfied clients to demonstrate your capabilities. Post the reviews of your potential customers on social media accounts.
Attend farmers’ markets
Farmers markets are a great way to connect with local customers and sell your microgreens. Set up an attractive display and offer samples to make customers try your products.
Now you might be much clearer about how to start a microgreen business.
That was the ultimate microgreens business startup guide for you. Here’s a quick recap—start with choosing your niche, know about your potential customers, and write a business plan by taking the help of an AI Assistant followed by business registration.
Follow these steps and you have a successful venture.
You’ve got everything now!! So what are you waiting for?
Let’s begin your business journey as a microgreen grower. Happy growing!!