Do you want to start a beef jerky business? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a beef jerky business with NO money and no experience.

Okay, so we have provided you an in-depth sample beef jerky business plan template. We also took it further by analyzing and drafting a sample beef jerky marketing plan backed up by actionable guerrilla marketing ideas for beef jerky businesses. In this article, we will be considering all the requirements for starting a beef jerky business. So put on your entrepreneurial hat and let’s proceed.

Why Start a Beef Jerky Business?

Loads of people all over the world eat beef, but in recent time, due to the awareness of the health implications of eating beef, people are beginning to cut down on eating beef and people who are addicted to meat are opting for jerky beef.

This is necessary because jerky is a lean beef that has been trimmed of fat. The trimmed beef is cut into strips and then dried properly so as to prevent it from getting spoilt. Salt is added to the trimmed beef before drying it to prevent bacteria from developing before all the moisture has been removed.

A beef jerky production company can be located in any part of town as long as there are people living or working there and the local authority issues them permits. One good thing about starting a beef jerky production business is that if you are diligent enough and if you have good business/marketing strategies, you can build the business by selling your products from your city to other cities all across the United States and even exporting to other countries of the world.

Starting a beef jerky production business just like starting any other production business might not be entirely easy, but one thing is certain, it is a straight forward business that can generate steady profits if well positioned and properly managed.

Before launching your beef jerky production company, ensure that you read this article and you will be well equipped and better informed to make good business decisions.

Starting a Beef Jerky Business – A Complete Guide

  • Industry Overview

The Meat Jerky Production Industry comprises of companies that cut, pack and box meat jerky. Meat jerky includes meat that has been cut into long slices or strips and dried, seasoned or otherwise cured.

The Meat Jerky Production industry maintained growth over the past five years, as consumers continued to purchase low-cost snacks like beef jerky during the economic recovery.

A report recently released shows that the revenue for the Meat Jerky Production industry has trended upward thanks to the status of industry products as a staple in consumers’ diets. Over the years, beef jerky production companies are expected to capitalize on health-conscious trends, introducing all-natural products to bolster demand.

The report further stated that over the next five years, merger and acquisition activity will cause the industry’s major companies to leverage brand value and economies of scale to increase their market share, pushing up their revenue and profit growth. Furthermore, companies in the industry will continue to seek out growing consumer markets.

The Meat Jerky Production industry is a thriving sector of the economy of the United States and the industry generates over $3 billion annually from more than 369 registered standard meat jerky production companies scattered all around the United States of America.

The industry is responsible for the employment of over 3,269 people. Experts project the Meat Jerky Production industry to grow at a 3.3 percent annual rate between 2011 and 2016. ConAgra, Link Snacks Inc., and Oberto Sausage Company are the market leaders in this industry and they can boast of having lion shares of the available market in the industry.

A recent report published by IBISWorld reveals that the Meat Jerky Production industry has a low to medium concentration of ownership. The top three industry companies are estimated to account for about 44.6 percent of the domestic market.

Expansion by the larger operators have bolstered concentration during the past five years. This trend is projected to continue, as key players concentrate on core business development and focus on high-margin product production. However, smaller players are expected to keep entering the industry because many meat jerky producers are able to survive, even when operating on a small scale. Furthermore, the report stated that the industry concentration is expected to remain the same over the next five years.

The beef jerky production business will continue to blossom because people will always want beef that has been trimmed of fat. Despite the fact that the industry seems over – saturated, there is still room big enough to accommodate aspiring entrepreneurs who intend opening their own beef jerky production company in the United States of America.

The beef jerky production business is indeed a profitable line of business and it is open for any aspiring entrepreneur to come in and establish his or her business; you can choose to start on a small scale by selling your products to a small community or you can choose to start on a large scale supplying your well – packaged jerky’s in key cities all around the United States of America and even exporting to other countries.

Starting a Beef Jerky Business – Market Research and Feasibility Studies

  • Demographics and Psychographics

The demographic and psychographic composition of those who buy jerky’s cut across all genders and age group hence the demographic composition for the beef jerky production business is all encompassing. The truth is that when it comes to selling trimmed beef, there is indeed a wide range of available customers, so your target market can’t be restricted to just a group of people, but all those who reside in and around the locations where you have your beef jerky production company and who have the purchasing power.

List of Niche ideas Within the Beef Jerky Business That You Can Specialize in

It is important to state that there is no known niche area when it comes to the beef jerky business. But if you intend starting this business, you have enough room to come up with a business concept that will help you win a lion share of the available market.

The Level of Competition in the Meat Jerky Production industry

There is hardly any business where you won’t experience one form of competition or the other. If you are considering starting a beef jerky production company, then you should be prepared to compete with any company that is into beef processing. So it will be right to say that the competition in this line of business is not for the faint hearted.

List of Well – Known Brands in the Industry

In every industry, there are always brands that perform better or are better regarded by customers and the general public than others. Some of these brands are those that have been in the industry for a long time, while others are best known for how they conduct their businesses and the results they have achieved over the years.

These are some of the leading beef jerky production companies in the United States of America and in the globe;

  • Gus’s Fresh Jerky
  • Backwoods Beef Jerky
  • Jackson Hole Buffalo Meat Co
  • Fragrant Jerky (USA) Singapore-Style Fire-Grilled Jerky
  • Texas Best Beef Jerky
  • Whittington’s Jerky and General Store
  • Luther’s Smoke House
  • The Meatsnacks Group
  • Junior’s Smokehouse | TX
  • Boyd Specialties Jerky
  • Prime Snax
  • Blue Valley Brand
  • Weaver Meats
  • Alewels Country Meats
  • Williams and Conner, Jerky Plant
  • Katie’s Snack Foods LLC – Katie’s Beef Jerky
  • Sturgis Jerky

Economic Analysis

If you are looking towards successfully launching a business and maximizing profits, then you need to ensure that you get your economic and cost analysis right and try as much as possible to adopt best practices in the industry you choose to build a business in.

The beef jerky production business is not a green business as you will come across several beef jerky production companies or their products when you search online directories or visit grocery stores. So, if you are mapping out your economic and cost analysis, you should carry out thorough market survey and costing of the required facility where you are expected to open your beef jerky production plant and the amount required to purchase beef jerky making machines (meat slicers, propane smoker, and grilling machines et al), cooking table, cooking utensils, supplies of beef etc and also the cost to successfully run the business.

Over and above, if you are considering starting a beef jerky production business, then your concern should not be limited to the cost of renting a production facility, but also on branding and on how to build a robust distribution network. The truth is that if you are able to build a robust clientele base, you are sure going to maximize profits in the business.

Starting Your Beef Jerky Production Business from Scratch vs Buying a Franchise

There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to choosing how you intend starting a business. Basically, you should be guided by your overall business vision and mission statement.

When it comes to starting a business of this nature, it will pay you to buy the franchise of a successful beef jerky production company as against starting from the scratch. Even though it is relatively expensive buying the franchise of an established beef jerky production company brand, but it will definitely pay you in the long run.

But if you truly want to build your own brand, after you must have proved your worth in the Meat Jerky Production industry, then you might just want to start your own beef jerky production company business from the scratch. The truth is that it will pay you in the long run to start your beef jerky production company business from the scratch. Starting from the scratch will afford you the opportunity to conduct thorough market survey and feasibility studies before choosing a location to launch the business.

Please note that most of the big and successful beef jerky production companies around started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand. It takes dedication, hard work and determination to achieve business success and of course you can build your own beef jerky production company business to become a successful brand with clients from all across the city where your beef jerky production company business is located and through the length and breadth of the United States of America and other countries of the world if you decide to go into exporting your well – packaged jerkies.

Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face When Starting a Beef Jerky Production Business

If you decide to start your own beef jerky production business today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established beef jerky production companies and every companies that are also into meat processing. The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market.

Some other challenges and threats that you are likely going to face is economic downturn and unfavorable government. There is nothing you can do as regards these threats and challenges other than to stay positive that things will work well for you.

Starting a Beef Jerky Business – Legal Matters

  • Best legal entity to use for this type of business

When considering starting a beef jerky production business, the legal entity you choose will go a long way to determine how big the business can grow; some beef jerky production businesses design their business for neighborhood market, some for city wide market, while others for national market via franchising.

Generally, you have the option of either choosing a general partnership or limited liability company for a beef jerky production business. Ordinarily, sole proprietorship should have been the ideal business structure for a small – scale beef jerky production business especially if you are just starting out with a moderate startup capital in a small neighborhood and with just one outlet.

But if your intention is to grow the business and start distributing your jerkies across the United States of America and exporting to other countries of the world via franchising, then choosing sole proprietorship is not an option for you. Limited Liability Company, LLC or even general partnership will cut it for you.

Setting up an LLC protects you from personal liability. If anything goes wrong in the business, it is only the money that you invested into the limited liability company that will be at risk. It is not so for sole proprietorships and general partnerships. Limited liability companies are simpler and more flexible to operate and you don’t need a board of directors, shareholders meetings and other managerial formalities.

These are some of the factors you should consider before choosing a legal entity for your beef jerky production business; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners and investors’ expectation and of course taxes.

If you take your time to critically study the various legal entities to use for your beef jerky production business with the ability to sell franchise and distribute your products all across the United States of America, you will agree that Limited Liability Company is most suitable. You can start this type of business as limited liability company (LLC) and in future convert it to a ‘C’ corporation or an ‘S’ corporation especially when you have the plans of going public.

Catchy Business Name ideas Suitable for a Beef Jerky Business

When it comes to choosing a name for your business, you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents. If you are considering starting your own beef jerky production business, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;

  • Lincoln Borrow® Beef Jerky Production Company, LLC
  • Eat Rite™ Beef Jerky Production Company, LLC
  • Trimmers Group® Beef Jerky Production Company, Inc.
  • Santos McDonald™ Beef Jerky Production Company, Inc.
  • Fresh Taste™ Beef Jerky Production Company, Inc.
  • Gushes© Beef Jerky Production Company, Inc.
  • Beefy® Beef Jerky Production Company, LLC
  • The Beef Man™ Beef Jerky Production Company, Inc.
  • Chris Banters© Beef Jerky Production Company, Inc.

Insurance Policies

In the United States and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from. So, it is important to create a budget for insurance and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your beef jerky production business.

Here are some of the basic insurance covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own beef jerky production business in the United States of America;

  • General insurance
  • Health/Medical insurance
  • Liability insurance
  • Workers compensation
  • Overhead expense disability insurance
  • Business owner’s policy group insurance

Intellectual Property Protection/Trademark

If you are considering starting your own beef jerky production business, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run it without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.

Is Professional Certification Needed to Run a Beef Jerky Business?

When it comes to operating a beef jerky production business, you do not need to have any formal training or special certification before you can be allowed to open and operate a beef jerky production business in the United States of America and in all countries of the world. All you need is informal training that will expose you to the in and out of preparing beef jerkies and effectively running the business.

On the other hand, if you come across any form of certification that can aid you to conduct your beef jerky production business, then by all means try and pursue such certification.

List of Legal Documents You Need to Run a Beef Jerky Production Business

The essence of having the necessary documentation in place before launching a business in the United States of America cannot be overemphasized. It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in the United States without the proper documentations. If you do, it won’t be too long before the long hand of the law catches up with you.

These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own beef jerky production business in the United States of America;

  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Business License
  • Tax Payer’s ID/Tax Identification Number
  • Foods and drinks handler certificate
  • Health inspection Certificate
  • Proof of district-issued food and drinks manager identification card
  • Copy of license for the service support facility and/or a recent inspection report
  • Business Plan
  • Employee Handbook
  • Employment Agreement (offer letters)
  • Operating Agreement for LLCs
  • Insurance Policy
  • Online Terms of Use
  • Online Privacy Policy Document (basically for online payment portal)
  • Company Bylaws
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
  • Building License
  • Franchise or Trademark License (optional)

Financing Your Beef Jerky Production Business

Starting a standard beef jerky production business requires reasonable capital especially if you are not financially stable. Securing a standard production facility and purchasing beef jerky making machines and other supplies are part of what will consume a large chunk of your startup capital. So, if you choose to start the business on a large scale, you would need to go source for fund to finance the business because it is expensive to start a standard large – scale beef jerky production business.

Basically, when it comes to financing a business, one of the major factors that you should consider is to write a good business plan. If you have a good and workable business plan document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business.

Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for startup capital for your beef jerky production business;

  • Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
  • Raising money from investors and business partners
  • Selling shares to interested investors
  • Applying for loan from your bank
  • Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from donor organizations and angel investors
  • Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends

Choosing a Suitable Location for a Beef Jerky Production Business

When it comes to choosing a location for your beef jerky production business, the rule of thumb is that, you should be guided by the demand for jerkies and easy access to wholesale purchasing of beef and other supplies directly from farmers or wholesale distributors. Of course, if you are able to secure a central location for your beef jerky production business, it will give people easy access to locate your production facility.

It cannot be overemphasized that the location you chose to open your beef jerky production business is key to the success of the business; hence entrepreneurs are willing to rent or lease a facility in a visible location; a location where the demography consists of people with the required purchasing power and lifestyle

Most importantly, before choosing a location for your beef jerky production business, ensure that you first conduct a thorough feasibility studies and market survey. The possibility of you coming across similar business that just closed shop in the location you want to open yours can’t be ruled out.

These are some of the key factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your beef jerky production business;

  • The demography of the location
  • The demand for jerkies in the location
  • The purchasing power of the residents of the location
  • Accessibility of the location
  • The number of beef jerky production companies, barbecue restaurants and any other outlets that also sell processed meat in the location
  • The local laws and regulations in the community/state
  • Traffic, parking and security

Starting a Beef Jerky Business – Technical and Manpower Details

On the average, there are no special technologies or equipment needed to run this type of business except for beef jerky making machines like meat slicers, propane smoker, and grilling machines et al. You will also need computers, internet facility, telephone, fax machine and office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves) amongst others and all these can be gotten as fairly used.

As regards leasing or outright purchase of a standard production facility, the choice is dependent on your financial standing, but the truth is that to be on the safe side, it is advisable to start off with a short – term rent/lease while test running the business in the location. If things work out as planned, then you go on a long – term lease or outright purchase of the property but if not, then move on and source for other ideal location.

When it comes to hiring employees for a standard beef jerky production business with more than one outlet, you should make plans to hire a competent Chief Executive Officer (you can occupy this role), Admin and Human Resources Manager, Merchandize Manager, Production Manager, Operators/Butchers, Sales and Marketing Officers/Distributors, Accounting Clerk and Cleaners. On the average, you will need a minimum of 5 to 10 key staff members to run a small – scale but standard beef jerky production business.

The Business Services Process Involved in Beef Jerky Production Business

When it comes to business services process of beef jerky production business, there are no hard and fast rule about it. Basically, it is the duty of the merchandize manager to help the organization source beef, preservatives and packaging materials. They go out there to source for good purchasing deals and they also ensure that they only purchase at the right prices that will guarantee them good profits.

When the meats are brought in, or after the cow has been killed, the beef is trimmed of fat. The trimmed beef is then cut into strips, and then dried properly.Typically, salts are added to the trimmed beef before drying them to prevent bacteria from developing on the meat before sufficient moisture has been removed. After that, the jerkies are properly packed and ready for distribution.

The last steps involve the jerkies undergoing quality control test, this is necessary so as to guide against distributing substandard products in the market. 

Starting a Beef Jerky Business – The Marketing Plan

  • Marketing ideas and Strategies

Running a business requires that you should be proactive when it comes to marketing your goods or services. If you choose to launch a beef jerky production business, then you must go all out to employ strategies that will help you attract customers or else you will likely struggle with the business because there are well – known brands that determine the market direction for the Meat Jerky Production industry.

People and organizations will buy your jerkies if they know that they are going to get the best and of course value for their money.

As a matter of fact, your marketing strategy will center on unique taste, pricing, secured payment platform, and above all excellent customer service. You should ensure that whenever your customers purchase jerkies from you, they will get excellent service. The truth is that if you are able to put the above stated in place, you won’t struggle to retain your old customers and at the same time win over new customers.

Businesses these days are aware of the power of the internet which is why they will do all they can to maximize the internet to market their services. In other words, a larger percentage of your marketing effort will be directed to internet users; your website will become your number one marketing tool.

These are some of the marketing ideas and strategies that you can adopt for your beef jerky production business;

  • Introduce your beef jerky production business by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to households and other key stakeholders throughout the city where your beef jerky business is located
  • Advertise on the internet on blogs and forums, and also on social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn to get your message across
  • Create a basic website for your business so as to give your business an online presence
  • Directly market your products
  • Engage in roadshows in targeted communities from time to time to promote your beef jerky production business and also market your products
  • Join local beef jerky production business associations for industry trends and tips
  • Provide discount days for your customers
  • Advertise your business in community based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
  • List your business on yellow pages ads (local directories)
  • Encourage the use of word of mouth marketing (referrals)

Factors That Will Help You Get the Right Product Pricing

One key factor that will help you sell your jerkies at rock bottom prices is to purchase your beef directly from farmers, food hubs or from wholesalers in pretty large quantities. The truth is the higher the quantity of items that you purchase directly from farmers and wholesalers, the cheaper you tend to get them.

Another strategy that will help you retail your jerkies at the right price is to ensure that you cut operational cost to the barest minimum and channel your efforts towards marketing and promoting your brand name. Aside from the fact that this strategy will help you save cost, it will also help you get the right pricing for your products.

You can also try as much as possible to work with independent contractors and marketers; it will help you save cost for paying sales and marketing executives.

Strategies to Boost Your Beef Jerky Business Brand Awareness and Create Your Corporate Identity

If you are in business and you are not deliberate about boosting you brand awareness and communicating your corporate identity, then you should be ready to take on whatever the society portray your business to be. One of the secrets of larger corporations is that they are willing to spend fortunes to boost their brand awareness and to continue to communicate their corporate identity the way they want people to perceive them.

If your intention of starting a beef jerky production business is to grow the business beyond the city where you are going to be operating from to become a national and international brand by distributing your jerkies and also exporting them, then you must be ready to spend money on promotion and advertisement of your brand.

No matter the industry you belong to, the truth is that the market is dynamic and it requires consistent brand awareness and brand boosting cum promotion to continue to appeal to your target market. Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand awareness and create corporate identity for your beef jerky production business;

  • Place adverts on both print (newspapers and food and drink magazines) and electronic media platforms
  • Sponsor relevant community based events
  • Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your beef jerky production business
  • Install your billboards on strategic locations all around your city or state
  • Engage in roadshows from time to time in targeted neighborhoods to create awareness of your beef jerky production business
  • Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
  • List your beef jerky production business in local directories/yellow pages
  • Advertise your beef jerky production business in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site.
  • Position your Flexi Banners at strategic positions in the location where your beef jerky production business is located.
  • Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles and trucks/vans are well branded with your company logo