AgMRC Provides Information on Starting a Business in a Downturn
Economic downturns spark innovation and entrepreneurship. According to recent research by the Kauffman Foundation, more than half the companies on the 2009 Fortune 500 list were launched during downturns. Why? Perhaps layoffs released entrepreneurial talent, or the demise or an industry created opportunities in new ones. Creating a viable value-added agriculture business involves finding an idea or opportunity in the marketplace and then building a viable business to take advantage of the opportunity.
However, entrepreneurship in an economic downtown is not easy. Information from the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center (AgMRC) at Iowa State University can help.
Experts at AgMRC suggest the following steps as a guide.
1. Write a business plan. This document should include the focus of the business, marketing, governance, finances and other details. Writing the business plan will force you to think through issues of how you are going to create a successful business or business expansion.
2. Choose a business carefully. Financing your value-added business is a major aspect of business development whether you are starting a new business or expanding an existing business. Purchase second-hand; rent equipment or furniture and consider starting your business while still employed.
3. Do research. Find out everything about your competition and determine how you can be better. Follow market trends. What is the success/fail rate for your type of business in your area? These are all things to consider.
4. Market aggressively. Use as much free marketing as possible – emails, networking, word of mouth, press releases, etc. Make customers believe they need your product. Evaluate your marketing strategy constantly to assess results.
5. Network. Find business mentors and join your local Chamber of Commerce, local industry group and statewide trade associations. Finding customers and business peers will benefit your business.
6. Customer is king. Go the extra mile for your customers. Positive interactions encourage people to come back and spread the word about your product.
For additional resources, visit the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center (AgMRC), a virtual value-added agriculture center operated by Iowa State University and partially funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), at: http://www.agmrc.org/.