As farm diversification becomes increasingly popular, Rob Browne looks at the recipe for success when looking to create a new business.
Whether looking to bake a cake or pioneer into a new niche market, to be successful in anything you must first consider the recipe. Despite being an overused cliché, logic suggests that you do in fact need a recipe for success. Whilst at home we may follow granny’s recipe for a lemon drizzle, in the business world we replace a recipe with a business plan. All recipes require preparation, ingredients and a method, which vary based on the time and budget available.
Before setting off in a fresh new direction, preparation is key. As with many new ventures, capital will need to be raised to get the project off the ground, securing investment from a bank or perhaps family member. It should not be underestimated how long this preparation will take – it will vary considerably from one proposal to another but should not be rushed. At the very least, those looking to diversify should be able to answer the following questions:
- What is your product?
- Who is your target audience?
- What will this enterprise add to your existing business?
- Does this enterprise complement your existing business?
- Have you undertaken suitable market research to support your proposals?
- What skill set is required?
- What does your competition look like?
- Have you identified and undertaken relevant training?
- Are you truly committed to seeing this idea through from conception to reality?
- Have you involved experts to assess whether this proposal stacks up?
- How quickly can you start?
As the questions are answered, you will quickly start to identify the ingredients for your recipe, for example:
- Skills and training
- Existing assets and new infrastructure
- Determination and focus
- Appropriate planning and research
- Solid existing core business
You have now spent months, if not years, preparing to launch your business, carefully selecting the ingredients and gaining funding to take the business forward. However, the hardest part is yet to come. As with preparing a food recipe you must write, test and amend the methodology. A business will not be without its teething issues, so it is key to get the foundation ingredients right at the outset.
Check the method against the ingredients – do they all coincide and complement one another?
You should list the ingredients in the order that they appear in the method. Be clear in the methodology and don’t presume that others will immediately understand how it will all work. The concept may have been in your head or on the back of an envelope in the early stages of conception, so ask someone to read through the method, and sense check it. Take care to clearly describe how the ingredients should be prepared and remember that small inaccuracies in certain elements of your recipe, be it time or an ingredient, can influence the end result.
Finally, know your audience. Whatever you are preparing, make sure there is a clear focus on the end consumer.