Sunday, May 31, 2015

Making Progress

I've always tried to be thrifty, but sensible. For example, the deep six-pack inserts are more expensive, but they allow better root development, so they've been worth the extra cost. I've found, though, that most of my Farmer's Market sales are of single plants rather than packs, which meant that I needed to cut the cells apart.

This worked well until I forgot my scissors, which convinced me that I needed to make a change to individual pots. They are more attractive, and just as easy to transport since they fit into the same 1020 trays. I took my first set to market on Saturday and the ease of selling individual pots versus cutting apart the cells made me wonder why I had not done it sooner!

Certainly the individual pots are slightly more expensive, but the ease and speed by which I was able to sell one or two plants at a time convinced me that the change would more than pay for itself.

This has me wondering in how many more instances I have been "penny-wise and pound-foolish." Of course, I want to be thrifty and maximize my margins, but I need to look at value more than cost. The individual pots are a better value than the trays for individual sales.

My pricing strategy must also consider the economic means of my customers. I have kept my prices low but I have not been accounting for my time. My time has value, and I need to start including that in my pricing strategy.

 I wonder if, by keeping my prices in the "basement," I have created an impression that my plants are of poorer rather than premium quality. I grow premium products, and uncommon but desirable varieties. I need to price my product to reflect that.

Like many other entrepreneurs, I have to balance sensitivity to my market, the perception of product quality, and profitability. Which is more important? Well, if I'm not profitable, none of the rest matters. On the other hand, my customers have to be able to afford my product.

If it sounds like I'm talking in circles, that's because that's where I feel like I am. I'm still working on the answer. But, instead of allowing myself to suffer from analysis paralysis, I've set a price point that I think is both fair and profitable. Sales have been reasonable, so far, and, this week, I'm adding another market to test my theory.

Herb transplants have already shown themselves to be more popular than tomato transplants and I'm broadening that line. The season for tomato transplants is nearly over, and I'm up-potting them as patio specimens where the price will quadruple.

I feel like I'm making progress. It's always a challenge when transitioning from hobbyist to "professional," but, step-by-step, I'm learning.

What about you? What's growing in your Savory garden?


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