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Bullard Cattle Company

SBA Helps Woman-Owned Cattle Business Expand Boundaries

Background:

Ranching isn’t for the faint of heart and when you think of ranching—it’s not just a man’s world.  Bullard Cattle Company started in 1996 by Gary Bullard who purchased two cows to start a legacy similar to the one his grandfather had built over seven decades prior. His grandfather, Herbert Brast, ran a dairy farm in the early 1930’s and 40’s servicing the Kruse’s Creamery which later became Blue Bell. 

After her husband’s passing, Rhonda Bullard took over as Owner and Operator of the family-run business. Today, the company has over 2,000 head and growing with access to small grass-fed operations in the gulf coast region allowing for scaling as needed. 

 

Situation:

And scaling is exactly what was needed when Bullard Cattle Company was selected as one of 50 companies to participate in an inaugural class sponsored by Houston Community College and Amazon. The previous business model of the company was selling grass-fed beef boxes and larger quantities of pasture raised hamburger for restaurants in the Houston and Austin areas. Therefore, Bullard needed assistance with launching a product that could be sold and held at one of Amazon fulfillment centers with no refrigeration, while staying in the beef theme of business.

Simultaneous to the 8-week Amazon course,  Bullard set out to feverishly get the recipes and manufacturing coordinated to distribute her new product line—gourmet beef jerky. Bullard knew that launching this new facet to the business required assistance with redirecting marketing for online sales, how to manage her business finances, and additional funding to pivot her business model. This is when she turned to the WBEA Women’s Business Center for the assistance she needed.

 

Solution:
The company received business counseling from the WBEA Women’s Business Center in 2019 and then counseling in 2020 from both the WBC and SCORE Houston. Both organizations assisted by meeting with Bullard to help coach her through the business and to provide focus on growth opportunities. 

“With the support of WBEA WBC counselors, along with SCORE mentors, I was able to fast track the process.  I was definitely in over my head from writing the business plan to financials,” said Bullard.

Struggling with the financials of the business, Bullard had the opportunity to participate in the WBEA’s Master Class series. Bullard states that the presenter “conducted the class in such an eloquent way that even a layman like me could learn.  I was separating all these factors of the business financials, and she was able to take each piece and define them clearly.”

Along with assisting Bullard in understanding how to manage her business, the WBEA Women’s Business Center also assisted in obtaining an $11,000 EIDL loan to aid the pivot of the company’s business model and launch their gourmet beef jerky product line. 

Bullard also credits Shirley Brooks,  WBEA-WBC Director, for not only her help and expert coaching, but for introducing her to her biggest support system—The Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). She mentioned that the WBENC allowed her to be “surrounded by other, like-minded, and strong women who are your best cheerleaders. If you are ever feeling doubtful, you can call, and they are willing to help.”

 

Impact/Outcome:
Bullard Cattle Company is grateful for their recent success and thanks the SBA and the WBEA-WBC’s expert advisers for its assistance.  It’s with these powerful and knowledgeable advisers that Bullard states she was able to go from doubtful to confident. She mentioned that the WBEA-WBC Master Class assisted her in being able to implement her methodologies and work with spreadsheets to adjust the company’s business model to become more profitable. In fact, the WBEA-WBC assisted Bullard in increasing its employee count from one to three employees (with occasional contracting of 1099 employees) and growing sales by almost double in just one year.

Through the assistance she has received, Bullard Cattle Company has been able to shift to selling more quarter and whole cows instead of by the pound. The company has also recently expanded operations and supply pasture-raised beef jerky to small and large box retailers, the entertainment industry, hospitals, Amazon, and other e-commerce clients. In fact, the company has signed up for distribution for global sales for beef jerky and is currently in conversation with Canada for further expansion.

To further its success, Bullard is looking to expand into other retailers such as Wal-Mart, HEB, Costco, Disney, Landry’s, and the Golden Nugget. Bullard is also interested in growth through mentorship, government contracting opportunities, and obtaining government certifications to be able to successfully expand her business.

Company Name: 
Bullard Cattle Company
Location: 
Houston, TX
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