I am a business consultant. I help startups and small businesses prepare business plans, Feasibility Study, financial projections, cash flow and how to project yourself well to Investors.
I am also a FARMER (don’t be surprise). So I will be talking based on practical experience both of myself and clients I have worked with overtime.
The first point I will like to make is that Business is an Art not a Science. Scientific laws are constant anywhere if the conditions are met but business depends on individual ingenuity, creativity and some external influence or factors. You cannot copy someone’s style and process in business and get the same result. ONLY copy someone’s strategy as a foundation to develop yours.
Secondly, when starting out a new business, no matter how many books or trainings you have attended on that line of business. Still believe you are entering with zero experience. This will prepare your mind to act swiftly on any challenges. It also mean you will have to keep asking questions from people with practical experience in such business.
It will also mean you have to start with minimum possible investment. Over-optimism may lead one to a brick wall. Separate your business from your personal finance. Try not to live on a new business. Put yourself on salary and include your salary in your financial plan. Don’t launch a new business based on your assumptions. The market may not react as you Expected. Try to conduct a Feasibility Study on the business no matter what kind of business even if its selling fish.
Conducting Feasibility Studies is not a big deal as many people think. You can do it in the following ways.
1. Go and ask questions randomly from your potential target market. Or
2. Discus your ideas with trusted mentors and friends and let them ask questions and critisize you.
3. Start small and observe the market behavior then start gradual scale up as you understand your market appreciation.
Another way to succeed in business is to place customers satisfaction before profit making. Means your Profit making is important for your business to keep running. But money itself does not have a personal identity. It is a representation of value. So to make wealth in business, focus on creating more values. As you amass value, money will be running after you no matter how humble you want to be.
Lastly in this section, * mind you* When you start making profit or leading a market segment, keep watching customers reviews comments and reactions and continue to use that to provide new innovations. This way competitors will not easily catch up with you.
In the 2nd session I will talk briefly on Agriculture and myself. Like I said earlier I am a business consultant but farming had always been part of me because its a family occupation. I ventured into commercial farming last year and it had been both sides of the coin. Despite growing up farming and reading a lot of materials, I still encountered some challenges. But as an entrepreneur, start with your endpoint vision clear in your eyes before you start. Your greatest source of strength and motivation should be your vision and nothing more. If you are not clear on your vision before starting, you may quit before you have a chance to succeed. I made loss in my first 2 attempts but bounced back due to my resilience.
To start a farm, don’t start by cultivating a land, start by identifying a market for the proposed products. Ask questions, know how they sell and all the politics involved. If your crop is ripe for harvest before you approach your market, you will be at the mercy of market women. I experienced this when I started producing dry season vegetables last year. It was a great lesson for me. Select a crop you have at least little knowledge about, then study it and ask questions. Timing is also important in Agriculture. Know when some crops are expensive and when they are cheap then plan with that. Even if you have all the money, pls don’t start with large acres of land for the time. Try 2 or 3 plots for your first commercial farm. Labor is a major problem in farming, work out your plan for labor before starting. People will try to extort you if you get under pressure for labor to save your farm.
For large scale farm, due soil test to know if your soil is good for your proposed crop. Don’t start farming by buying land, Start with lease. Using agrochemicals will reduce your work load but proper use is very important. There are different types of Agrochemicals. We have preemergence and post emergence.
Pre emergence is used before weed grows, post emergence is for growing weeds. There is contact and systemic herbicides. Contact herbicides drys up the leaves it comes in contact with while systemic will kill weeds from its roots. There is selective and non selective. Selective is for certain crops while non selective will kill all weeds and crops. You can call me if you need details my contact is at the closing segment of this article. Wrong use of herbicide was one of the major reason I made loss while starting. I also had problems with getting proper seed. I have made loss before I new I could get the Okra seeds from Nihort and IITA. There’s also premier seeds and technisen selling quality seeds.
Generally as an entrepreneur, When you encounter a problem and you notice others too facing similar problems, you should think about providing solution as that may be an unexpected breakthrough for you. After my tussle with farming last year especially on how to get quality seeds or purchase fertilizer I began to attend trainings and talking to farmers. With that I am able to get to know sources for such inputs. I have decided to create a platform where farmers can order for farm inputs and get them delivered to them either from our website or mobile app or using ussd and sms.
I will start market review of the site next week and hope people on this forum will like to participate in helping us with review and feedbacks. There’s too much to say but I will stop at this Junction.
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