Food passion grows a bush business

30 Jun, 2018 04:00 AM
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Sharnee Beard talked about her success with Wild Strawberry Catering at this year's Liebe Women's Field Days.
Sharnee Beard talked about her success with Wild Strawberry Catering at this year's Liebe Women's Field Days.

PASSION, planning and priorities are the three foundations of a business according to Sharnee Beard.

As a mum of three, the wife of a farm manager and the owner of Wild Strawberry Catering, Ms Beard certainly has her hands full.

Ms Beard is passionate about great food, life in the bush and rural women in business.

Over the years, her passion for cooking grew and she set about creating her business out of this love.

After identifying a huge gap in the market for fabulous food and catering in the Wheatbelt, Wild Strawberry Catering was born.

In her career she has catered all over the Wheatbelt for all styles of events, from private dinner parties to large conferences and has grown to include custom cakes and cooking classes.

Ms Beard grew up on a farm at Mukinbudin with her family.

“I feel like my business journey started when I was a child and that’s because I was a farm kid,” she said.

“I remember going around in the ute with my dad and he would make me do mental maths.

“So I would be adding these numbers, and when I first started doing it I had no idea what he was going on about, but I quickly learnt that I was adding up the hectare numbers of the crop that year.

“Then it progressed to me working out how many tonnes he hoped to produce that year, then he talked to me about how much money he would get per tonne, how much we would make per hectare, he talked about profit margins and he would talk about the break even point.”

Ms Beard said she felt from a very younger age, being an entrepreneur and thinking about money and finances had been deeply engraved in her.

“I did come back on to the farm, which I loved, but I realised my passion was in cooking and I set out finding a way I could have a business around food,” she said.

“Passion comes first.

“We have something that we love and the old saying, love what you do, do what you love.

“Often businesses start with someone being passionate for something.”

Ms Beard said when people start a business they are thinking it’s going to be successful.

She said in reality you don’t start and go straight up, it’s more ups and downs.

“In business you learn as you go and often it’s down to trial and error,” she said.

“You learn a lot from what you get wrong rather than what you get right.”

The best way to start a business is to turn your passion into a product or service.

“When you have something that you love and you want to turn it into a business, remember most businesses are there to solve someone’s problems or pains,” she said.

“For me, I wanted to cook and I wanted to make money from it in my location, therefore my business is all about my location and food.”

Ms Beard said it’s all about identifying the gap in the market where you can make money.

Her gap was the lack of restaurants and caterers in the Wheatbelt.

Although passion drives a lot of what Ms Beard does, she said money matters.

“You may love what you want to do in your business, but if you don’t make money out of it you very quickly run the risk of losing passion,” she said.

“A business is not a hobby.”

Ms Beard said planning is the hard yards in the business and it’s about putting all the details together and planning to get your business right.

Ms Beard’s advice to the women at the field day was to “treat your business like it’s worth

a million dollars”.

“Your best friend is research, so focus on your idea and study your competition,” she said.

“Find your point of difference and seek the opinions of others.”

Ms Beard said your business plan should consist of a mission statement, an understanding of what your product or service is and key words of what you want your business to display.

Sometimes a business plan will change and as your journey with your business changes, your life changes as well.

Ms Beard said certain priorities may put the business on the back burner for a short period of time. Ms Beard’s final advice for the women was to “Just be you!”

Wild Strawberry Catering supplied the food and catered for this year’s Liebe Women’s Field Day.

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