If you run a food production business and want to know how you can grow it the professional way, keep reading!
We will share with you the 4 basic questions you must ask yourself constantly to really get to know your business.
You must be thinking: What? To know MY business?
Yes, if you are an entrepreneur, run a family business, or a developing company, chances are there are still fundamental pieces of information that are slipping through your fingers, and holding you from achieving sustainable growth.
The rush of getting things ready for the next delivery, the next harvest, the need of solving the problem that came up last night when the bottle taps didn’t arrive, or any other thing you can think of, prevent you from taking a step back in order to look forward, beyond next week, month or year. To decide strategically. To tackle uncertainty, and take calculated risks, without losing course.
So, if you don’t feel certain about how well your business is performing, if you often wonder if you are missing on opportunities and getting the most out of the market conditions, or if your business is moving on a direction different from what you would like, you need to analyze and know for real what is happening in your company. Now, let’s get to it!
1. Question #1: What am I doing?!
The best starting point is to evaluate what you do now. Your main activities, the broader description. And of course, you know about the daily tasks. But in terms of strategy, don’t forget to constantly analyze what is it that makes your products successful, if they are all profitable and worth producing.
All your products should be fulfilling their purpose within the business, and no, it may not be only profitability (more on this in a near future post).
The part that we find most businesses don’t really know for certain: how much does it actually cost producing what I sell?. It can be frustrating to realize that a product that maybe is a favourite of yours, is actually making you lose money. But it can also be eye opening and bring you to redefining your operations, saving time and money, and growing the business.
The first step to bring your business to a more professional level is to take a deep look into your current operations. Analyzing and evaluating your performance and profitability.
2. Question #2: How good are you at what you do?
If the business is running, you must be good at it right? Constantly questioning this, is how you realize if there are internal factors holding the business back. There is always room for improvement, no matter how good you are.
Ask yourself ff everything you do is really necessary to run the business successfully; and if you have the necessary people, technology, facilities, knowledge and skills to adequately operate. In other words, make sure you are not wasting resources, and that your assets are flexible enough in case there was a need to grow or cut back.
Don’t ever get comfortable! Remember, continuous improvement is key for sustainability.
Every day we are presented with new technologies, materials, and tools, that can make entire industries discover new ways of doing things. And you don’t have to implement each and every new thing that shows up. But constantly questioning how you can do things better, more efficient, or even how can you do less, helps keeping your operations lean.
3. Question #3: Are my numbers in line?
In business, as it is with individuals, having an accountant and paying taxes is NOT equivalent to financial planning.
Having your finances in order not only keeps you afloat, but it also opens the door for growing opportunities.
Be fully aware of what your cash flow situation is and do cash flow forecasting regularly.
Things like knowing where you are in terms of debt, planning for inventories, and NOT mixing personal and business finances, like lots of business sadly do, will make it so much easier to set money aside to grow your operations.
Let’s say a new funding opportunity came by today to your door. Would you have properly documented information to back up the fact that you are the one to get it? Or, if a big new client is offering you a big new sales contract, do you have the flexibility to make it happen?.
4. Question #4: Who and what else is out there?
We’ve looked only inwards so far. However, we must never overlook the revolving environment.
Your business, your products, have a place in the market. Do you know what place that is?
Constantly checking on who are your competitors and what are they doing, and reminding yourself what makes you stand out, will keep you proactive instead of reactive to situations. It’s the only way you can stay ahead in the game. The only way to actually evolve and keep up with the market.
Check different sources of information to research and update your marketing strategies. Always look beyond what is familiar to you. And please, in terms of marketing, avoid that situation where you find yourself doing what everyone else is doing without knowing if it really works for you.
There we go, those are the 4 questions you MUST ask yourself, at least, on a monthly basis.
We want you to know your business so well, that you start taking real control of it. To be confident, because you know that no matter how big the storm is ahead of you, thanks to this basic, yet so important information, you can navigate it successfully.
Now that those questions are revolving in your head, set apart some time every day to answer as many as you can, or to think and find out how you can start answering them.
If you get stuck, follow us on social media to get more resources, and continue working.
If you need a hand, we are here for you, AT YOUR REACH, ready to help making your operations more professional.
LET’S GROW YOUR BUSINESS TOGETHER!
Do you have more questions on how to start growing your business? Go on to the "Growing Food Producers" LinkedIn Group and let's start the conversation!
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