University of Maryland Extension

Who’s the Boss

Ginger S. Myers
Who's the Boss?

Mastering Marketing - April 2016

A primary attribute often given for being self-employed is “I’m my own boss.” But, business guru Peter Drucker stated, “The purpose of a business is to have a satisfied customer”. So, whether you’re a farmer, producer, or other type of small business owner; who’s the boss in your business?  Is it you, your customers, or both?

►  If you’re a livestock producer, you may need the young stock to all be a uniform size and age. To achieve this, your breeding program will be seasonal and perhaps even the breed of livestock pre-determined. But, if you’re selling your meats, poultry, or eggs directly to consumers or institutions, you need year-round product inventory and that dictates producing a year-round, consistent supply and uniform cuts. So’s who’s the boss in these businesses?

►  If you grow produce or fruits, you may be marketing through wholesale channels that require larger volumes and specific varieties. If you’re selling through farmers’ markets or roadside stands, your customers are looking for small quantities, perhaps heirloom varieties, or the latest “super” veggie or fruit for a new health trend. So who’s the boss in these businesses?

►  If you operate a specialty food or beverage businesses or landscape and nursey operations, how much of the “traditional” stock should you produce or how many “new” blends, flavors, or plant varieties should you have in inventory? How much should you stretch your growing or production talents to meet the current “hot” items selling in your type of business? So who’s the boss in these businesses?

It would appear the “boss” of any business is both part owner and part customer. But, perhaps a better model to consider is to think of the producer as a driver of a truck loaded with his product and the buyer’s preferences and purchasing habits as the various roads the truck can drive down. It’s the producer’s choice of what, when, and how to produce his product. The choices of where to market his product is determined by why and where customers make their purchases.

Producers are completely “the boss” when it comes to producing quality products. When you can turn out good quality products in a consistent and sustainable quantity, then you can also be “the boss” when selecting the marketing paths best suited for your business.

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