Most entrepreneurs often fail to proceed to the implementation stage after having identified different opportunities that are lurked up in agribusiness. It is not just identifying an opportunity or developing an idea/concept that matters, it is being able to convert those spotted opportunities or conceived ideas into reality (products, services, etc.) that matter and that’s what guarantees success in any business enterprise. It is not enough just having an idea and just keeping it in your head or probably doing the planning in your mind, one needs the help of someone that has a track record in business planning and execution. As a young entrepreneur, you need the help of some high achievers in the business you are planning to venture into for guidance and mentoring towards avoiding mistakes that could endanger your proposed business. Notwithstanding, you still need to take some reasonable level of risks because “Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained”. Similar to the process of identifying market opportunities, also their setting in place may involve the explicit use of tools that ensure quality work in this domain:
1. SWOT Analysis
A SWOT analysis evaluates the overall Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of a business. Strengths and weaknesses are about where the business is now compared with its competitors, while, opportunities and threats are about where the business is going. This means opportunities are attractive areas for action where the business is likely to have some advantages or make special contributions. Threats are critical trends or specific disturbances in the environment that could lead to stagnation, decline or demise of the business or a part of it. The SWOT analysis allows identification and visualization of market opportunities and gaps, which should be considered when marketing activities are planned.
2. Business Plan
A business plan presents all aspects of a new business in a simple, comprehensive way. In this sense, it involves much of the information obtained and assessed through the different tools presented up until now: marketing concept development, rapid market appraisal, focus group research and SWOT analysis. When put onto paper, a business plan is a strategic document that describes all aspects of the development of a market opportunity:
· It states a set of business goals and the plan how to reach them.
· It clearly defines all relevant business activities and how they relate to each other.
· It specifies responsibilities among actors directly and indirectly involved in the business.
· It shows examples of how to make a business profitable by planning costs, income creation and marketing for a business.
· It includes projections of how different scenarios might influence expected profitability.
· It shows the steps necessary to implement operations and define the roles partners should play
Purposes of Business Plan
· It serves as a planning and decision-making tool, providing a clear concept and proof to a business before starting it.
· It serves to persuade new actors to get involved, particularly new financial partners.
· It serves to better manage unexpected forces because you have given them consideration during a well thought-out plan.
All in all, when planning a new venture, such as an organic business, or when an existing business is to assume major change, business planning is essential. You may visit the following link to learn how to write a well-structured and catchy Business Plan: http://kasfarintheagropreneur.blogspot.com/2013/11/write-catchy-business-plan-for-your.html
3. Marketing Plan
For market opportunities that involve important sales and promotion activities to be successful, a special marketing plan will be helpful to ensure that these activities are well-defined, from a strategic and operational point of view. In this sense, a marketing plan is a detailed document that specifies the planned interventions in the area of marketing, being consistent with the ideas presented in the business plan.
The Marketing Plan has basically two parts:
1. In a first part, the marketing plan contains detailed information about the market situation and outlines concrete marketing activities to achieve concretely defined objectives mentioned in the document.
2. In the second part, it contains a detailed overview of the planned marketing activities relating them to resources required for their implementation, the schedule of implementation and persons responsible for each planned action. Since marketing objectives must be evaluated (re-assessed) and regularly adapted, also the marketing plan must be revised and updated from time to time. Changes often occur when outside factors, or things out of our control such as a flood or other disaster takes a business in a new direction or when marketing objectives have not been achieved within a defined time frame.
Structure of the Marketing Plan
Part I Strategic Information Related to a Specific Market Opportunity
Type of customers: Who are buyers of the products; consumers, traders, wholesalers, retailers? Are they local, national or export-oriented? What are their requirements (e.g. in terms of quality and quantities)?
Competitors: Who else if offering similar products like you are offering? What are their strengths and weaknesses? Which of their weaknesses can we turn into our strengths?
Suppliers: Who will supply us with the materials we need? Do they have the right quality and quantity we need?
Other stakeholder and key actors in the chain – Who are the other groups or persons that have an interest in our business, for example, NGOs that may support us? Support the implementation of this plan?
Human resources: Do we have the people to manage and support the implementation of this plan?
Financial resources: Where shall we get the money we need for our business? Is it bank loans, loans from the government with a reduced interest rate, money from private investors or any other funders?
Raw materials: Can we produce all the raw materials we need? How can we increase the amount of raw materials? Who else can supply us in case we need more raw materials?
Part II Operation Information Related to a Specific Market Opportunity
Target markets: number and location of places that are targeted
Sales target: sale of amount x of product y during period z?
Product specifications: definition of exact products that are to be sold, in what form and with what services?
Promotion: what is exactly planned in terms of activities related to promotion, and when?
Distribution: how will the logistics be defined and managed? Who is responsible for what?
Pricing: what are the prices that consumers and the different market chain actors obtain, ensuring that everyone is benefiting?
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