Do you want to start a feed store? If YES, here is an 18-step guide on how to start a profitable feed store business with no money and no experience.
A livestock feed store is a store that retails diverse animal feeds ranging from pet and livestock feed, to lawn and garden supplies, and farm and ranch supplies. This is a business that is open to any aspiring entrepreneur- especially those that live around farm communities or close to a food hub et al.
All you need to get started is a well – positioned store, steady supply of animal and bird feed and of course, knowledge of the in and out of retailing.
Steps to Starting a Feed Store Business
1. Understand the Industry
The feed store business falls under the Farm Supply Stores industry and stores in this industry sell a variety of home improvement, gardening, livestock and crop products. They are consumer-facing rather than farmer-facing and offer a format similar to traditional home improvement stores.
Products sold in these outlets range from garden supplies to power tools, animal feed and power generators.Starting a livestock feed store is not a difficult business to commence and it is not so capital intensive- especially if you choose to start on a small scale within your neighborhood, and especially if you live in and around a farm community.
The Farm Supply Stores Industry is indeed a large industry and pretty much active in countries such as the United States of America, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Holland, Argentina, Brazil, China, Germany, Nigeria, South Africa and Canada et al.
Interesting Statistics About the Industry
Statistics has it that in the united states of America alone, there are about 6,713 registered farm supply stores responsible for employing about 75,587 and the industry rakes in a whooping sum of $16 billion annually. The industry is projected to enjoy a 2.4 percent annual growth.
The establishment in this industry that has a dominant market share in the United States of America is Tractor Supply Company.
A recent report published by IBISWorld shows that sales from pet food, livestock feed and related supplies represent the largest product segment in 2016, accounting for 28.2 percent share of industry revenue. According to the American Pet Products Association, total US expenditure on pet products has increased from 4.9 percent since 2011 to an estimated $58.5 billion in 2014 (latest data available).
So also, IBISWorld expects this segment’s share of the industry to continue rising over the next five years. This segment includes traditional products such as cat and dog foods, pet toys, crates and grooming products. Farm supply stores may also sell products intended for livestock such as chicken and cattle feed, pasture seed, vitamins and minerals and other accessories.
The livestock feed store business will continue to blossom because pets and livestock will always eat in order to stay alive, grow and procreate. Despite the fact that the industry seems over – saturated, there is still room big enough to accommodate aspiring entrepreneurs who intend opening their own livestock feed store in the United States of America.
If you are contemplating starting your own livestock feed store business in the United States, you should ensure that you carry out a thorough market survey and feasibility studies. If you get some key factors wrong before starting your livestock feed business, then you are likely going to struggle to stay afloat.
But over and above, the livestock feed store business is a thriving and profitable business especially if you are creative and ready to take on the available market within the location where your business is located.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those who patronize livestock feed stores cut across all owners of livestock farms and pet owners in and around your store location, hence the demographic composition for the livestock feed store business is all encompassing.
If you are thinking of opening your own livestock feed store business, then you should make your target demographics all encompassing. It should include poultry farms, cattle ranches, pig farms, pet owners and fish pond owners’ et al in the neighborhood where your livestock feed store will be located.
3. Decide What Niche to Concentrate On
It is important to state that there is no known niche area when it comes to the livestock feed store business. Every player in this line of business typically sells a wide of range pet and other animal feed, supplies and other related products from top manufacturing brands in the United States.
On the other hand, it is important to state that some livestock feed stores may decide to build a strong online presence in the online community.
The Level of Competition in the Industry
The competition that exists in the Farm Supply Stores industry does go beyond competition within livestock feed stores; you will be expected to compete with any other outlets such as pet stores that are into retailing pet, birds and animal feed. So, it will be right to say the competition in the Farm Supply Stores industry is tough.
No matter the level of competition in an industry, if you have done your due diligence and you brand and promote your products or business properly, you will always make headway in the industry. Just ensure you stock your store with a wide range of pet, birds and animal feeds and other products from different manufacturing companies and you know how to attract and reach out to your target market.
But over and above, there are several livestock feed stores scattered all around the United States. So, if you choose to start your own livestock feed store business in the United States, you will definitely meet stiff competition amongst them all.
4. Know the Major Competitors 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 livestock feed stores in the United States of America and in the globe;
- Rural King
- Ranch-Way Feeds Retail Store
- Farm Supply Company
- Land O’Lakes Purina Feed
- Mid-America Feed Yard
- Purina Mills
- PBS Animal Health
- Hubbard Feeds
- Kent Feeds Animal Feed Store
- Cargill Animal Nutrition
- Animal Feeds & Needs US Feeds, LLC
- Feed Depot USA
- Ark Country Store
- Hi-Pro Feeds
- Cashman’s Horse Equipment Outlet & Drive Thru Feed Store
- Trouw Nutrition USA
- Stance Equine USA LLC
- Town & Country Feed & Supply
- Sierra Feed & Saddlery
- Byers America Feed & Supply
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 livestock feed store business is not a green business, as a matter of fact; you will come across several livestock feed stores when you go shopping for pets and livestock feeds.
So, if you are mapping out your economic analysis, you should carry out thorough market survey and costing of what is required to rent a store and the amount needed to stock your store with a wide range of pet and animal feeds and other supplies from different manufacturing brands that are in demand in your location and also the cost to successfully run the business.
Over and above, if you are considering starting a livestock feed store business, then your concern should not be limited to the cost of renting a store and stocking your store with a wide range of pet and animal feeds, but also on branding and on how to build a robust clientele base. The truth is that if you are able to build a robust clientele base, you are sure going to maximize profits in the business.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
If you are looking towards opening a livestock feed store, you would have to start from the very scratch because you can hardly get a franchise of a livestock feed store to buy, if you do, it will be way too expensive. Besides starting a livestock feed store from the scratch is less stressful when compared to other small – scale businesses which usually require detailed groundwork before launching the business.
With a livestock feed store, you should just try as much as possible to secure a store facility that is close to a farming community, stock your store with a wide range of pet feeds and other animal feeds and then leverage on every marketing tool within your disposal especially the internet when it comes to marketing your business.
Please note that most of the big and successful livestock feed stores 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.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
If you decide to start your own livestock feed store business today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established livestock feed stores and other outlets such as pet stores within your business location that are also into selling pet feeds, animal feeds and other related supplies. 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; if the economy is in bad shape, businesses such as livestock feed stores and the likes usually struggle to maintain their old customers or even welcome new customers.
So also, unfavorable government policies can also hamper the growth of your livestock feed store. There is nothing you can do as regards these threats and challenges other than to stay positive that things will work well for you.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
As a matter of fact, if your intention is to grow the business and have chains of livestock feed stores across the United States of America and other countries of the world via franchising, then choosing sole proprietor 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 livestock feed store business; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners, investors’ expectation and of course taxes.
If you take your time to critically study the various legal entities to use for your livestock feed store business with the ability to sell franchise and open chains of livestock feed stores all across the United States of America, you will agree that limited liability company; an LLC 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.
Upgrading to a ‘C’ corporation or ‘S’ corporation will give you the opportunity to grow your livestock feed store business so as to compete with major players in the industry; you will be able to generate capital from venture capital firms, you will enjoy separate tax structure, and you can easily transfer ownership of the company; you will enjoy flexibility in ownership and in your management structures.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name from the ideas Below
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. Usually it is the norm for people to follow the trend in the industry they intend operating from when naming their business.
If you are considering starting your own livestock feed store business, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;
- Bingos & Family® Pets and Animal Feeds Store, Inc.
- Animal Kingdom™ Pets and Animal Feeds Store, LLC
- Bird Fellows™ Pets and Animal Feeds Store, Inc.
- Grain Field® Pets and Animal Feeds Store LLC
- Lincoln Borrow & Sons® Pets and Animal Feeds Store, Inc.
- Texas County® Pets and Animal Feeds Store, Inc.
- Cowboy Ranch© Pets and Animal Feeds Store, Inc.
- Countryside™ Pets and Animal Feeds Store, LLC
- Animal Nation™ Pets and Animal Feeds Store, Inc.
- Colby Brownson® Pets and Animal Feeds Store, Inc.
9. Discuss With an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
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 livestock feed store business.
Here are some of the basic insurance covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own livestock feed store business in the United States of America;
- General insurance
- Health insurance
- Liability insurance
- Workers compensation
- Overhead expense disability insurance
- Business owner’s policy group insurance
- Payment protection insurance
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
If you are considering starting your own livestock feed store business, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection/trademark. This is so because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run the business without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
When it comes to the livestock feed store business, you do not need to have any formal training or special certification before you can be allowed to start a livestock feed store business. All you need is informal training that will expose you to the in and out of the animal feeds supply business.
On the other hand, if you come across any form of certification that can aid you to effectively run your livestock feed store business, then by all means try and pursue such certification.
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own livestock feed store business in the United States of America;
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License
- Tax Payer’s ID / Tax Identification Number
- Business Plan
- Non – disclosure Agreement
- Copy of license for the service support facility and/or a recent inspection report
- Employee Handbook
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
- Company Bylaws
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
- Building License
- Franchise or Trademark License (optional)
13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
Starting a livestock feed store business can be cost effective especially if you choose to start on a small scale by running a livestock feed store in a street corner.
Securing a standard and well – positioned store facility and stocking your store with a wide range of pet feeds, animal feeds and other products from different manufacturing brands are part of what will consume a large chunk of your start – up capital.
But 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 livestock feed store business with over a dozen full – time employees under your payroll.
When it comes to financing a business, one of the first things 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 start – up capital for your livestock feed store business;
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Sell of 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
14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
When it comes to choosing a location for your livestock feed store, the rule of thumb is that you should be guided by the demand for such products and easy access to wholesale purchasing of a wide range of pet feeds, bird feeds, animal feed and other products from different manufacturing brands.
Of course, if you are able to secure a central location for your livestock feed store, it will give people easy access to locate your store. Most importantly, before choosing a location for your livestock feed store, 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 livestock feed store;
- The demography of the location
- The demand for pet feeds and other animal feeds in the location
- The number of livestock farmers in the location
- Accessibility of the location
- The number of livestock feed stores in the location
- The local laws and regulations in the community
- Traffic, parking and security et al
15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
On the average, there is no special technology or equipment needed to run this type of business except for Point of Sales (POS) Machines, shelves and related software applications. So also, you will definitely 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 store 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/facility for such business.
When it comes to hiring employees for a standard livestock feed store business with various outlets, you should make plans to hire a competent Chief Executive Officer (you can occupy this role), Admin and Human Resources Manager, Merchandize Manager, Store Manager, Sales and Marketing Officer/Sales Girls and Sales Boys, Accounting Clerk, and Cleaners.
On the average, you will need a minimum of 3 to 6 key staff members to run a small scale but standard livestock feed store business.
The Service Delivery Process of the Business
When it comes to buying and selling stuffs, there is no hard and fast rule about it. Basically, it is the duty of the merchandize manager to help the store stock goods (a wide range of pet feeds, bird feeds, fish feeds, animal feeds and other products from different manufacturing brands).
They go out there to source for good purchasing deals and they also ensure that they do not only purchase at the right prices that will guarantee them good profits, but also that they purchase pet feeds and other livestock feeds that are in demand in their business location.
Once the pet feeds, bird feeds, fish feeds, animal feeds and other products have been bought, they are properly arranged in the store for customers to see and purchase. On the other hand, they are also expected to deliver orders made by clients if such services are available in their store.
It is important to state that a livestock feed store may decide to improvise or adopt any business process and structure that will guarantee them efficiency and flexibility; the above stated livestock feed store business process is not cast on stone.
16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies
Your marketing strategy should center on quality and pricing, and above all excellent customer service. You should ensure that whenever your customers visit your livestock feed store, they will get quality products and 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 maximize the internet to market their services or products. In other words, a larger percentage of your marketing effort should be directed to internet users. These are some of the marketing ideas and strategies that you can adopt for your livestock feed store business;
- Introduce your livestock feed store by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to poultry farms, cattle ranches, pig farms, pet owners, and fish ponds et al in the neighborhood where your livestock feed store is located
- Advertise on the internet on blogs and forums, and also on social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn to get your message across so that those on the social media or those who read blogs will know where to go when they need to purchase pet and animal feeds within your location
- Create a basic website for your business so as to give your business an online presence
- Directly market your products
- Engage in road shows in targeted communities from time to time to sell your products
- Join local livestock feed store 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)
17. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
If your intention of starting a livestock feed store 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 opening chains of livestock feed stores and franchising, 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 a corporate identity for your livestock feed store;
- Place adverts on both print (newspapers and pets and livestock farming 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 products
- Install your billboards in strategic locations all around your city or state
- Engage in roadshows from time to time in targeted neighborhoods to create awareness of your livestock feed store
- Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
- Contact poultry farms, cattle ranches, pig farms, pet owners, and fish ponds et al in the neighborhood where your livestock feed store is located informing them about your business and the products you retail
- List your livestock feed store in local directories
- Advertise your livestock feed store 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 livestock feed store 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.
18. Create a Suppliers / Distribution Network
In order to successfully run a livestock feed store business, you must establish good business relationship with farmers, wholesale distributors and manufacturers of pet feeds, bird feeds, fish feeds, animal feeds and other products from different manufacturing brands. You would need steady supply of these products in order to remain in business.
You can as well go into partnership with large cattle ranches, poultries, fish farmers, pig farms and doggie day cares et al that are in a good position to request for steady supply of pet feeds and other animal feeds. Depending on your agreement with them, you are likely going to sell at a discount to them since they are going to be purchasing in large quantities.