In this section, you will look at the state of the industry for the product(s) that you are interested in making. You’ll also look at the niche that you will be filling.

A. The Industry

In this section, you should outline what the cheese industry is like in your state. Are you the only one? Would you be the only farmstead operation? Are you in the state where farmstead cheese is rapidly becoming popular?
Always start with a summary of:

  • Industry in general – you can get this information off the internet. Search farmstead cheese, milk, yogurt, or whatever category of dairy products you are looking at making.
  • Farmstead or artisan production in your state or region. You can look at the number of operations that were open, say 10 years ago vs. today. Talk about the size and scale and how it relates to your business.
  • Local production. In some areas there will be a lot of dairy processor or you may be a pioneer in your area. You can outline some challenges if people have not done well, but counter that with why you are going to be great! You will also be noting all of the people with like product in your area. Identify scale, breeds (if possible) and how they relate to your particular business.

You do not need to be much more than a paragraph or more for each category.  Be sure to end on a positive note.

B.  The Niche

In this section, you will explain who you are and why your business will be unique in the marketplace. Any Eco-Labels should be noted and clearly defined as it relates to your business. Some of them include:

Just saying that you are natural or antibiotic free may help in a local community marketplace, but it will be important for you to be certified by a third part body if you are selling to a broader audience. As a note, unless you are certified by a third party, some states may NOT allow you to use words like “Natural” or “rBST free” without specific proof that you are in fact true to those label statements. Keep those things on a website or as point of purchase language (signs, brochures etc.).  Keep the label as free from that language as you can.

You can have all the words to talk about your philosophies, but make sure you have a quality tasting product in the marketplace. That always sells itself more than pretty packaging and the right words. This section of the business plan should only be as long as you need to explain how you are unique in the marketplace. Aim for no more than one page.