There is a very high demand for seedlings in numerous fields some of which are flowers, grasses, shrubs, trees, edible horticulture crops, amongst many others. Particularly, horticulture, that’s a hotbed for most of the agro-based endeavours for most Zimbabweans. This presents a very lucrative business of growing, nurturing and selling seedlings. A plant nursery business can be started by virtually anyone since it’s inexpensive to kick-start. The other advantage is that you can transform your backyard space into a nursery and the water needed is usually minimal. So if you’re passionate about the formative stages of plant life and you’re looking to earn some revenue then this business is for you.
There are many people right now who do small nurseries for their own home gardens but have never thought that they are sitting on a huge business idea. You don’t even need specialist expertise to start a nursery – just a general appreciation of agriculture can set you on-course. The types of plants you can nurse are numerous and diverse so it pays to focus on ones that are in demand. Horticulture plants (particularly vegetables) are usually sought after by many gardeners; niching tends to be area-specific though. Zimbabwe is laden with vast arable land and the chances are usually high that someone who owns a property has land space to transform into a nursery. However, even if you don’t have land space, you can leverage using containers (purchased or makeshift) or polythene bags. Using containers or bags has a huge plus because it eliminates the need for substantial amounts of soil and water. This is another easily scalable business that you can start quite small (just for personal use) and grow into a big business.
So we have already established that you need space (in situ or just a workable space). Depending on the type of space you’ll be working with you might need certain renovation components such as slabs, shades, fences; I’m sure you get the picture. You’ll also need cheaply available signage or stickers to use for labelling. You might want to purchase a water tank (if needs be) or watering gear such as watering cans (if necessary). In principle, what you would require to create your nursery would be dependent on the nature of your location. Mulching is important to promote soil richness. Here is a secret, don’t depend on synthetic fertilisers; rather take advantage of what’s available at your location to create compost or to create manure in general. Only use synthetic components maybe with regards to pesticides.
I’m suddenly reminded of something; if you develop your nursery in pots or bags and not in direct landmasses, the incidents of pests or diseases can be eliminated altogether. This is because you can carefully sift and mix soil into your preferences before putting it into the pots or bags. Placing the pots or bags on elevated platforms such as tables or maybe slabs can be quite useful towards those aspects. Then marketing is also important, referrals through word of mouth being most helpful. Simple digital marketing through social media platforms also spreads the word around. Even with no digital footprints, you can still effectively market your business – regardless, it’s still noble to be online.
This can be a family-based endeavour where you don’t even need to hire anybody. Even as a single individual you can effectively run this business. Hiring people might come in handy owing to if you have other pressing commitments or when the scale of production increases. Still, for the most part, hiring people might just be part-time.
Of the cheapest businesses to start because most of the key components needed are low-cost. Most people actually apply the makeshift principle to most of what’s needed and that reduces costs. The seeds themselves tend to be very affordable and support mechanisms needed through most of the product life cycle tend to be immaterial rather than financial.
The market is solely up to you; you carve out a niche for yourself. Earlier I mentioned that niching tends to be area-specific so that’s a key aspect in market determination. Overall, the market is highly segmented and inexhaustible.
Depending on the scale of production it might not be necessary to register the business. However, registering a business is always recommendable as it professionalises your operations. I would also advise you to consult with the local authorities to see if you aren’t violating any by-laws.
This is a very simple business idea and anyone can do it. Let me point out that variety is strategic in any brand’s offerings, so be sure to offer a variety in the types of plants you offer. You must, however, adhere to the demands of your target market; at times focusing on one or two different types of plants might suffice. Just to tap into some more revenue you can also provide other related products or services.