Full-time or commercial beekeepers seem more likely than hobbyists, or even sideliners, to view their beekeeping activities strategically.Many commercial beekeepers obtain some of their beekeeping assets and capital by the traditional approach of writing a business plan and using it to secure start-up financing.
These commercial beekeepers might have secured partners or investors and/or financing assistance through a bank, the Small Business Administration (SBA), or other governmental loans or loan guarantees.
In developing a business plan to obtain needed financial support, commercial beekeepers probably described many of their financing, operations, and marketing strategies.
Sample business plans found online hardly ever recommend a value or the basics of contingency planning.
As helpful as existing online templates for business plans, or even one-on-one SBDC or SCORE advisory assistance, could be for sideline or commercial beekeeper planning, these resources seldom reflect an awareness of regional or local beekeeping history, cultures, clubs, and relationships.
Describing sideliners versus commercial beekeepers largely in terms of differences in the numbers of hives that they manage can ignore some of these huge differences.
Some sideliners do follow the example of many commercial beekeepers in approaching their sideline start-ups strategically by developing a traditional business plan and trying to secure investments and loans.
However, many of these sideliners do not, and some could best be referred to as “shoestring” sideliners.
Shoestring sideliners often start as hobbyists and gain increasing beekeeping knowledge and experience.
Some will purchase nucs, packages or hives and try their hands at managing a few hives.
Over time, they can have poor experiences or bad luck with their efforts, find that beekeeping isn’t their cup of tea, or just lose interest eventually in keeping hives and going to meetings.