While starting anything in F&B, the first step is to be absolutely clear with the business plan
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Food is a primal requirement for life on the planet. F&B is the oldest business in the world and this business neither has off days nor off-seasons. Everyone needs to eat every day. In the Asia Pacific, revenue in the Food & Beverages segment amounts to US$44,176m in 2018 and is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2018-2023) of 10.8%, resulting in a market volume of US$73,888m by 2023 (source: Statista). Therefore, it is no surprise that the F&B industry is one of the favoured businesses for most entrepreneurs.
Every such entrepreneur has a dream of building a long lasting and successful business! Everyone wants to make it big and to be remembered for shaping something special! But how many of us really do it. Statistics show that more than 90 per cent of start-ups don’t survive more than 3 years. Do the few successful entrepreneurs who make it big share something in common? Of course, they do. Learning and implementing from them does not guarantee you a path to success but for sure increases the probability.
The elementary rules for an entrepreneur are the constant no matter what the businesses are including F&B. It is a must for an entrepreneur to possess a non-wavering and strong vision. The motivation to start a business can stem from different streams for different people. For some it is about offering something special to the customers and making a difference, for some it is being remembered for their achievements, for some it is the thrill of running a business and handling everything which comes with it and for some, it is a model of wealth creation. No matter what motivates you, it must drive you. You will never give up if your motivations are stronger than the issues which harm the business.
The Business Plan
While starting anything in F&B, the first step is to be absolutely clear with the business plan. Every business needs to serve some end goal of the customer and it is imperative to identify the same. F&B is a huge industry on its own with various segments of products and services coupled with endless mediums of sales. It is important to identify your own niche and make sure the strategy and business plan are aimed at catering to that specific market need. This means a substantial amount of effort has to be put into the initial market research and couple it with a detailed analysis of the strengths and capabilities of you as an entrepreneur and your resources. And this knowledge will go a long way to help you in your decision making and will be the difference between a risk and a calculated risk. It will also keep your mind clear and your confidence in your vision intact when you are bombarded with varying inputs and opinions along the journey.
At any point in time, the real value of your business is only going to be proportionate to the value added by your venture to the market (this is the end customers). So, it is vital not to forget the core your business, and continuously dedicate your time, energies and resources to enhance it. For example, if you start a restaurant, the quality of the food and service is your core and sustaining the same consistency is the essential factor which defines the long-term success or failure of the business. Therefore, you will need to make sure that your business is as SOP driven as possible. Investing early into operations and making sure dependencies on very specific individuals is minimal gives the entrepreneur lesser headaches going ahead. Added to this, the technology available compared to a couple of decades ago, makes things much easier.
Visibility And Marketing
No matter how good the product or service is, you will not attract the customers you need unless they know about it. Marketing and visibility of the product/service and making it a brand is important in order to get the numbers you require to make the revenue needed for the sustenance of the business and profitability. At the end of the day, it is important to remember that no matter how much passion leads to the making of a product, It needs to reach the end customer in order to realize its value.
All the aspects mentioned required a substantial amount of effort and funds. It is important that they are factored during the initial stage of planning. You don’t want to get stuck after a year or two of hard work and come to a standstill due to lack of planning. You also need to understand that even with detailed planning you will be able to control less than 70% of the road map, the remaining depends on how adaptable you are and how quickly you can analyze and come up with solutions for the problems thrown at you. This is where the strength of your vision and the belief in your inner-self comes in play. Most entrepreneurs fail not because of the idea, they fail because they give up too early. So stay there and make it work.