Developing a new agriculture product — and making a profit

Alberta Agriculture offers a business coaching service for those developing new farm products

An Alberta Agriculture specialist says that, when developing a new farm product, there is a process that is important to follow to ensure the investment makes money.

“No matter what business idea you decide to pursue, thinking through the development process makes business growth a smoother process,” says Jan Warren, new venture coach, Alberta Agriculture, Lethbridge. “And by finding out what regulations affect developing a new ag product, and the proper safe and market requirements, you can develop a future for your family.”

Warren says there are four steps that should be followed when starting a new venture.

Design a distinctivebusiness idea

What value or unique features do you bring to your customer, and how will you sell to your customer needs?

Who will buy, and what municipal, food safety, and marketplace and labelling regulations might arise in the places you intend to sell?

Consider your competition, and work with any commodity group information that might impact your sales. Search for supportive groups such as Alberta Farm Fresh producers Association, Farmers Market Associations and organizations related to where you want to sell.

Review the costs of production and delivery options and related costs to make sure there is profit in this idea. Review the marketing plan and the steps necessary to comply with the regulations.

Build a strong management team

Most valuable key in any organization is good open, honest communication. Keep the spirit of constantly asking.

The management team should be a reflection of the skills you are weak in. Organization team members should be a well-rounded team of marketing, production, bookkeeping etc. When key partners are connected to the resources and supplies you are more likely to succeed at your chosen activity.

Product technologyor operations

Consider facility structure; plan to include support for production and deliveries, IT systems and financials.

Plan your production layout to allow for future growth and development of revenue streams.

Develop your strategy

Will you require a carefully developed image designed to reach out, communicate and promote your product or service?

Develop your strategy for the sales and marketing team to get and maintain the customer base you will need. Build in the costs of marketing to help you grow business.

“Developing a new value-added agriculture product depends on your ability to seek out all the information you need in the early stages,” says Warren. “You can access the publication Starting and Growing a Business – Business Considerations on Alberta Agriculture’s website for more links to the rules and regulations you need to know.

“As well, Alberta Agriculture provides a business coaching service for those developing new farm products,” adds Warren. “Strengthen your opportunity’s success by contacting a new venture coach for links to regulations, resources, and a network connecting you to others with a similar interest.”

For more information on starting new agriculture-related business opportunity, call 403-310-3276 toll free and ask to speak to a new venture coach.

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