Business Planning

The AGRI team have expertise in many areas specific to the agri-tech and food & drink production sectors and whilst we can help companies to develop new and innovative ways to work or to streamline their systems and processes, basic business planning should not be overlooked.

When starting a business, one of the first things we are told is to write a business plan. There is no one size fits all as to what will work best for you, but considering what sort of thinker you are is useful. Are you a visual thinker? Are you an analytic thinker? Are you a bit of both? If the goal of your business plan is to attract investment, you may need to follow a specific format, but if your business plan is just for you, to keep you on track, then go with what works best for you. If a story board approach works best, use that. If a mind map works best, use that. If a traditional business plan template works best, use that. As long as you have mapped out your business journey in some kind of document that you can refer back to, update and refresh as required, then that is just fine.

Even as a trading, successful business, revisiting and keeping sight of your business plan is a good habit to have. Keeping it up to date and refreshed is great for staying focused and making sure you don’t lose sight of what motivated you to go into business in the first place. It also allows you to make sure you are still current, still addressing a consumer need, and not afraid to modify or change the direction of your business as trends in the market shift.

Just a few of the tools / models we quite like are:

1) Business model canvas. Using 9 building blocks you can start to map out your business model being prompted by the headers to think about things such as value proposition, customer profile, distribution channels and revenue streams. It’s not for everyone but can be adapted to suit your own style of planning in a reasonably simplistic way. This model works as a business planning tool but can also work well as a way to develop specific products, processes or systems.

2) BUY-FROM. Our friends over at BUY-FROM have some really great free toolkits on their website. Although the toolkits are primarily focused on helping you to market your business, because they get you to identify things like your customer journey and what your core values are, it really helps with keeping your business plan current too. We particularly like ‘The Brand Builder’ toolkit. The toolkits work well for any type of business but particularly well for creative and artisan businesses looking to build and promote a visual brand.

Lastly…

3) Recently we were introduced to the Triple Chasm model – quite in depth and not something you can skim over, but the concept is really interesting as they identify the 3 key hurdles or ‘chasms’ that businesses need to cross with the second chasm being the most challenging and also the one that statistically more businesses fall at. The second chasm often takes a number of attempts to cross but it does highlight that it is perfectly normal to fall and have to get back up and dust yourself off. The tools on their website are useful for tech focused innovators looking at commercialisation strategies.

The support offered by the AGRI Project is free to eligible businesses. We are always happy to hear from companies we haven’t worked with before and love nothing more that helping to work through challenges you may be having. Feel free to get in touch with us if you’d like a chat about ways to introduce innovation to your businesses.

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