August 17, 2016

AGRIBUSINESS:

APPLYING THE BASICS AND 
ENJOYING CONSUMERS’ OPEN 
EMBRACE By FRANCIS AGRONIGERIA 

While agriculture continues to remain a guaranteed source of income if well explored, there seems to be massive negligence of some basic guidelines which form the bedrock of its actualization.
Several feasibility reports have been shelved without hitting the implementation stages. This may not have resulted from poor research findings or insufficient take off funds but largely due to deep vacuums created by a faulty relationship between the dream and the dreamer. There has also been an erroneous mix-up on the difference between passion and hobby.
While hobby could be juxtaposed with passion in some cases as entertainment and sport, the reverse is the case in agribusiness as the dividing line needs to be clearly spelt out to avert investment catastrophe.
There are some rules that need to be followed if an agribusiness dream is to emerge into a bountiful business.
Have A Plan
The first business strategy after nursing an ambition or dream is a plan. This is one of the most vital in ensuring longevity and success in agribusiness. A plan in business is different from voiced out intentions people usually utter. Whatever visions and dreams that had metamorphosed into a quest for an agribusiness investment should be written down into strategic and deducible templates. The plan forms the pivot and launch pad upon which the dream becomes reality.
For example, if the business is intended to run for five years with specific financial expectations, take off manpower, location of business etc, they need to be documented in a format that can be intepretable and implementable.
Whatever ideas you have nursed as the visionary of the business after having been written down in primary terms is expanded in what is known as feasibility reports. This technical stage is usually done by experts in survey and research. They help to interpret and enlarge the scope of your plans into advanced formats while also unveiling the future of the business given the factors of production available from your preliminary plan.
It is important to break down the plans into manageable portions because being overambitious will lead to frustration and discouragement. Write the steps to achieving your dream or short term goals. List down 5-10 things you need to do to realize the steps or objectives, which must be simple, measurable (quantify to enable monitoring of progress), achievable within your resources and abilities, realistic and not out of this world, with time frame or deadline for each objective
Identify A Need And Pursue 
Uniqueness In Meeting Those Needs
Just like the saying ‘The sky is wide enough for every bird that desires flight’; there is always a market for every well planned agribusiness. One major trick that needs to be paid attention to is that identifying a need takes you steps into living your dream.
So many agribusinesses have crumbled while many are neck deep into competitive tussles all because they either didn’t identify a major consumer need or the strategies of meeting those needs were not original. It is advisable to create a unique style or approach of your own without copying a brand. It is allowed to ‘learn from’ than to ‘imitate’ existing brands or competitors. Surviving a healthy rivalry stems from a well rooted degree of originality of the competing brands. However, you can cash in on the weakness of your rival brand and soar into success.
Who Are Your Customers?
The worst mistake to make is setting up a business with no customer in mind. It is therefore advisable to have a clear picture of a target consumer group for your produce or products before commencing production.
For example, why cultivate hectares of tomato without having a market for them? These are perishable crops which do not have very friendly shelf life. This will spell doom for any investor as the resultant loss will be huge.
It is advisable to find out who your target customers are or will be either on the short term or long term so that your products do not rot in the warehouse or perish on the fields.
Human resources, CRM, data mining and social media concept – officer looking for employee represented by icon. Gender discrimination in employees selection.

Draw Up A Marketing Plan
In realizing your agribusiness dream, marketing of your products need careful strategies and planning. Attaining a comfortable level of dominance in the market is the wish of every business owner but several businesses with bright prospects do not reach their target consumers because of faulty plans.
Why book a stand at an international fair without first getting your products to the small retailer on your street? Why book an hour on a radio show when your products could be first showcased in small hand bills in traffic or public places.
It is risky to place the cart before the horse if an agribusiness is to survive. If your target consumers are in riverine and marshy areas, the plan of getting canoes should follow instead of booking for convoys.
If your consumers are kids, why select a road show without a clown or jester? If your products are to be consumed in a hotel, why waste your time trying to convince a school to buy them.
How you carry out your marketing determines how far you will go in sales. The marketing plan is your master plan and it should be consulted more than any other document.
Market research need not be complicated
as it simply involves – asking the right questions, getting information and making decisions based on the information. Questions to address during market survey include: What market am I targeting? Who will be my major customers? E.g. households, supermarkets, school children, people in estates etc.  What are the customer’s preferences or what are they looking for. What are their needs? Remember people will only buy what satisfies their existing need. Is there any competition in the area for the product / service which I want to offer? What are the strengths and weaknesses of my competitors? Take advantage of the competitor’s weaknesses. How much must I sell per month and at what price to break even and make profit?
Also, the price of your product or service should recover the cost of production and earn a profit. A profit of between 20%-50% can be earned depending on the purchasing power of your customers, the price of competitors, and the inflation rate. Sale tactic – what will be your sales approach or tactics? What would you do with spoilt products?  How will you advertise your product /service? e.g. through radio, internet, newspaper, word of mouth etc. How will you deliver the product / service to the customers? Bicycles, vehicles, internet or short message service can be used. Market dynamics – the Market survey questions may change or require modification any time during implementation of the project.
Draw Up Your Income And 
Expenditure Budget
A successful business is that one that gets more than it spends. Therefore it is vital to have a projection of the income and expenditure of the business. It serves as a reminder for filling loopholes in the production process and also to access the pathway of the business.
If your capital is a grant that needs to be settled, draw up the plan to include that.
Expect Turbulent Times
A ship leaves the harbor with its calm, friendly waterfronts into fiercer turbulent tides. The captain before pulling up the anchors makes sure that his wind vanes and other gadgets are functional and can correctly indicate the direction of the wind. He also expects that there may be icebergs along the raging sea among other unforeseen risks while the voyage lasts.
This applies to agribusiness as there can be change in demand, change in taste, legislation and other factors that can pose threats to the business. Having these in mind will keep you focused just like the captain until you can sight your destination after the harsh sea waves and throw in the anchor to berth.
With the global economic downturn and drop in global oil prices, the agricultural sector promises diverse options that could guarantee food security while creating entrepreneurs. Just take that bold step and flap your wings for the flight into the market.
Well,as you venture into this investor friendly sector- agribusiness, this is wishing you good luck and see you at the bank.