7 guidelines for effective agribusiness innovation

In Agribusiness, Innovation on July 31, 2009 at 10:12 pm

While there is no foolproof formula for successful innovation, there are a few guidelines that can help increase your likelihood of having a successful agribusiness venture.

  1. Start with a plan. Anything worth doing is worth planning and there is a process to planning for success. Start by doing your research to discover the gap in the market you may fill with a new or better product or service. Then arraign the necessary resources.
  2. Determine your idea’s feasibility. Arrange for an independent party to help determine the technical, operational and economic feasibility of your idea before you pursue it very far and waste time and money.
  3. Make it your business to know everything about your customer. Remember, everything you do is for your customers, and they are the sole reason your product or service exists. Ask them early and often for their advice and feedback. This will increase the likelihood that your product or service enjoys a long, profitable life.
  4. Instill marketing into everything you do. Marketing shouldn’t just be at the end of the value chain. It should include your approach to buying inputs, how you make the product, how it’s delivered and, of course, how it is priced, promoted and sold.
  5. Hire the right people. Most of us are pretty good at figuring out which building to build, which equipment to buy and how much to pay for inputs. But sadly, we don’t spend enough time and effort identifying, selecting and developing the people who make the products and carry out the services that we create. Soft skills can set you apart from your competitors.
  6. Know when to say, “when.” It has been said that not all entrepreneurs are managers and vice versa. It may be that you’re an inventor and innovator but not necessarily destined to manage the product or service deep into its life cycle. And that’s OK. Just sell it off to the highest bidder and get started on your next idea.
  7. Get to know investors. It takes money to bring products and services to market. Every inventor needs to get out of the lab once in awhile and press the flesh to cultivate relationships with people who might help their business succeed.

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