If M-Net’s Sharks Tank has taught us anything, it’s that finding funding is tough. Too many business owners don’t know their numbers, haven’t found product-market fit, or are just plain unprepared. Business is tough. And yet a grade 7 young entrepreneur from East London is getting the basics right, and even though Jarrod Hatton wasn’t a Shark Tank contestant, we’re convinced he would have wowed the Sharks if he was. Here’s how his organic chicken farming business ticks all the boxes.
When Jarrod was younger he wanted to be an architect. He has since taken up entrepreneurship, but those architectural aspirations have been put to good use as he builds and grows his organic chicken farm OD’s Forest Fowls.
“I thought about what business I could do to make money and also help the poor with food and jobs in our neighbouring communities. One day I was looking through a copy of Farmer’s Weekly and read about an organic chicken farmer. I learnt that it’s easier and healthier for the community,” he explains.
Barely into his teens, Jarrod can teach you a thing or two about growing your business to the point where investors cannot ignore you. How does he know so much already? He’s asking for advice, paying careful attention to his numbers, and adjusting his model as his business develops.
Here’s how Jarrod’s ticking all the boxes the Sharks consider elements of a winning pitch.
1Know your business inside out
Jarrod has devised a business plan with the help of his stepmom Jacqui and his dad Grant in an effort to work out how to run the business in a way that could earn him money and also help create jobs. Jarrod’s extensive business plan doesn’t just tell the story of his East London farming business, but tells you exactly how much he’s put in, how much he’s spending and the amount he requires to grow his business.
Shark Tank judge Vinny Lingham isn’t fussed about how well you recall every detail of your business plan, however knowing your numbers is essential for him to consider putting an investment forward.
“I don’t expect entrepreneurs to memorise a 36-month plan but they need to understand the production costs, margins, overheads and cash flow cycles of a business,” he says.
2Show you can do it before asking for funding
“If you want a business, you need traction,” says Shark Tank judge Marnus Broodryk, who himself started his entrepreneurial journey at young age.
“If you’ve got interested clients and signed orders, that’s a business.”
Thanks to his meticulous planning, Jarrod has earned his business clients, guaranteeing the sale of at 350 chickens monthly.
Impressed by his drive, his school encouraged and supported his efforts by assisting with financial guidance. “The school helped him a lot in terms of costing and accounting,” explains Jacqui, who says her stepson has high hopes of growing his business because of how well it’s doing.
Related: How To Start A Farming Business
“He wants to buy his own farm before he’s in matric. He just needs funding, training and mentorship.”
“My parents have taught me that if I fail to plan, I plan to fail.”
3Learn from setbacks and prepare for them
“The biggest thing my parents have done for me is push me and it’s helped me to not give up even when we hit difficulties, like the loss of some of the birds,” says Jarrod.
“We’ve lost 10 to 20 birds. Some from natural causes, other from illness and even being preyed upon. You can’t hold onto everything.” But preparation is key and Jarrod as learnt to roll with the punches.
“My parents have taught me that if I fail to plan, I plan to fail, so I have improved my time management thanks to my business,” says Jarrod, who will be off to high school next year.
But the increase in his school workload isn’t fazing him or his parents. “He’s a tenacious child,” says Jacqui. “His marks have actually gone up as he’s learnt to manage his time better.”
4Don’t stop. Just keep hustling
The entrepreneurial spirit seems to have come to him at an even younger age, as Jacqui explains. “Jarrod’s forever hustling. He made his first sale when he was six years old. He sold his skateboard for more than we had bought it for. But having said that, he’s a wise spender, even from a young age. He turns over his coins several times before buying anything,” she adds.
Related: Agriculture Business Plan Sample
“Jobs are scarce and he knows that you have to make employment for yourself.”
Jarrod Hatton may not have gone to business school or had years of business mentorship, but he knows that a solid plan, preparing for challenges and having a clear plan of where you want your business to go will not only get you attention, but give you a greater chance at success when faced with a funding issue.
Have a look at Jarrod’s business plan here.