Intermodal FarmsEvaluating Farm Growth Opportunities Linking Farmers to Investors:The expansion of food growth opportunities in the devel- Customer development for farm growth is the mostoping countries of the world has dramatically increased important activity for developing a sustainable farmin the past few years. Small farmers and cooperatives face enterprise. The simplification of the RFA form can en-challenges to develop and package food products for sale able investors, NGO’s, practitioners, Food Aid and Farmin their local economies and to export into developed Development Organizations, the ability to quickly evalu-countries. ate potential funding of projects based upon the analysis parameters of the RFA.Many of these farmers lack the resources, education orexpertise for understanding the dynamics of the complete Business Model Dashboardfood value chain and customer development process. A Value Chain Practitioners GuideResource and business management are two of the keycomponents of sustainable business planning for the food A value chain practitioner provides expertise, computa-enterprise. The western countries spend billions of dollars tion and analysis of the value chain. This includes travel-per year in food Aid research and development, conduct- ing to remote areas and performing field studies anding studies, writing reports, and establishing small-holder reports. The business model dashboard, provides a metricprojects for poor farmers. With the access to capital and worksheet that can be easily used in the survey field fora financial market in a downturn, farmers are faced with establishing a reference and development worksheet forchallenges to finance expansion and sales of their food determining the business model of the food enterprise.resources. Completion of the complete metrics of the Business Model takes time and thorough research, and resourceA simplified method for understanding the potential of support from the company or organization requestingfarm products has been developed. This process utilizes 3 the analysis. Some of this information may not be readilybasic components for evaluation of the food challenge. available in the field. 1. Customer Development Key elements of the business model are explained in 2. Business Model Categories Simple English. End-to-end value chain analysis and data 3. Cause, effect and problem resolution. provides a starting point for construction of simplified metrics of the business model. These categories pro-Combining these subject areas into one form simplifies the vide further understanding of the potential operationaloverall approach to farm evaluation by: success, and status of a farming company. Using simple charts, the practitioner can provide productive recom- 1. Determining the progress in the customer develop- mendations for implementation of customer develop- ment cycle ment planning for the food enterprise. Departments’ of 2. Listing the hindering causes of a farmer’s inability to Agriculture can also benefit by quickly assessing the over- sell or process food products all value proposition of their agriculture producing lands. 3. Prioritizing solutions of these categories to establish an action plan for customer development of the food Small scale customer development services enable product the farmer operator/owner to validate their resources through customer engagement and product prototyping.This method is called the Rapid Farm Assessment. Practitio- Customer Develop provides the entrepreneur an afford-ners can easily apply this methodology in the field without able pathway to success by prototyping food productscomputers, complicated mathematical models or data anal- without financing a full-scale factory to survey customer’sysis. This form can be completed on 1 page, and be utilized needs.as an action items roadmap.
Customer Discovery Stage Product development and prototyping is commenced and product attributes are deter- mined for developing the first product prototypes. Cause and Effects analysis: The Causes and Effects are compared to the progress of the company. Proposed solutions of the business model are hypothetically summarized during the customer disovery stage. A factory or production plant hasn’t been built. It is possible that the en- trepreneur of the food enterprise is in discussions with a contract factory to make theirB product. A preliminary high level value chain analysis has probably been performed, but no fixed or contractual arrangements have been made about transportation. Proposed Solution comparison Minimal infrastructure requirements must be determined. For example, if no energy or water supply exists at the proposed production site, these issues must be addressed and an action plan to satisfy solve these solutions must be determined. Without energy, clean water, and a sustainable transportation network, customer development efforts could be in vain. If the agriculture suppliers are not organized or do not have a coopera- tive established, a plan must be implemented to establish a stable supply and pricing model for raw materials for production. Cause resolution All critical causes limiting the development of the company must be remedied by the customer creation stage. That is, all supply, value chain, shipping, labor, warehousing and processing must be continually evaluated against the prototype product for sus- tainable development of the products offered.Causes and Effects: Problem Description: Summary Description of the Causes: 1. Food Safety Challenge ←No processing facility ←No cold storage ←No harbor warehouse 2. Transportation Network ← no close contract trucking companies←rural roads 3. No established farm cooperative ← no standardized planting or harvest plan 4. No customers ←no niche product ←price competition in South Africa 5. No INTL export cold chain hub ← no Air Transport ←no volume transport commitments 6. No local cardboard supplier, cardboard available at good price from South AfricaProposed Solutions: Main items to accomplish for business opportunity development 1. Establish uniform planting plan for pineapple farmers through local university 2. Teach and establish knowledge transfer of farm cooperative development through university 3. Finance pineapple harvester for uniform harvesting and packaging. 4. Develop customer development plan and budget for pineapple juice customer discovery and creation. 5. Seek funding source for customer development project. 6. Establish transportation and warehouse once customer creation is accomplished.
Customer Validation Stage Product prototypes are evaluated by customer product evaluation. Major and minor product changes must be implemented until the product features and benefits meet the minimum customer feature set. Target Customer satisfaction and survey goals should be clearly documented to establish a customer/product fit of the proposed products. What are the minimum amount of satisfied customers or favorable customers of the product required to establish investors? Although product protype iterations couldB change rapidly, it should be clearly understood and agreed by the founders what the customer base goals are. How many customers are satisfied with the product features? How many preliminary verbal purchase commitments been made? There must be enough commited customers to obtain enough critical mass to seek future investors. Cause and Effects analysis: The Causes and Effects are compared to the progress of the company. Proposed solu- tions of the business model are hypothetically summarized during the customer valida- tion tage. All customer feature requests should be evaluated against proposed production, value chain and shipping costs. Feature costs should be established during this phase, and should be evaluated on the profit potential versus production and supply chain costs. Proposed Solution comparison The minimum proposed solution list must be documented and achieved by the end of the customer validation stage. Product features must solve a majority of the original proposed solutions for the startup to continue operation.Causes and Effects: Problem Description: Summary Description of the Causes: 1. Food Safety Challenge ←No processing facility ←No cold storage ←No harbor warehouse 2. Transportation Network ← no close contract trucking companies←rural roads 3. No established farm cooperative ← no standardized planting or harvest plan 4. No customers ←no niche product ←price competition in South Africa 5. No INTL export cold chain hub ← no Air Transport ←no volume transport commitments 6. No local cardboard supplier, cardboard available at good price from South AfricaProposed Solutions: Main items to accomplish for business opportunity development 1. Establish uniform planting plan for pineapple farmers through local university 2. Teach and establish knowledge transfer of farm cooperative development through university 3. Finance pineapple harvester for uniform harvesting and packaging. 4. Develop customer development plan and budget for pineapple juice customer discovery and creation. 5. Seek funding source for customer development project. 6. Establish transportation and warehouse once customer creation is accomplished.
Filling out the form Evaluation of the OpportunityA Problem Description-Describe the main cause pre- venting the farmer or food enterprise that prevents The Proposed Solution—Item D. The proposed solution is a action plan list of items that or hinders the farmer from getting their agriculture must be remedied, established or created to remedy the product or resource to market. problem description in Item A. If 2 or more items from the 7 Business Model Categories are not established for the food enterprise, the customer development project mayB Customer Development Stage-Fill in the check box based upon the following company stage descrip- not be sustainable. If 2 or more items of the 7 categories are not established in the local commercial area, infrastruc- tions. ture support must be established to continue the customer development project. The 3 most important infrastructure1. Customer Discovery—This is accomplished by found- items that must be present are 1. Energy, 2. Water, and 3.ers of a company. During this stage the founders of the Transportation.company visit or gather information from customer needsfor product or service development. 7 Categories of the Business Model explained.2. Customer Validation—Entrepreneurs or product build- 1. Key Partners—suppliers or strategic relationships thaters meet with customers by presenting product prototypes provide a value added service, raw materials or compo-and feature concepts to customers. The customer provides nents for the success of the company product offeringfeedback to the prototype builders. The product is evalu-ated to meet the customer needs. 2. Key Activities—Activities in the supply chain that con- tribute to the sustainable competitive advantage of the3. Pivot—The entrepreneurs or creators of the product companyutilize these lessons learned to change the product offer-ing through engineering, re-prototyping, or rebuilding 3. Key Resources—raw materials or capabilities that shapethe product. These are rapid changes to achieve customer the sustainable competitive advantage of the company.satisfaction of the product offering. This cycle, or PIVOT,is repeated until a repeatable product feature set is estab- 4. Value Proposition—A description of the compelling fea-lished through satisfied customers. Once the repeatable tures or benefits that drive customer’s purchasing behaviorproduct offering is established and a profitable pricing for the product or service offering.structure can be maintained, customer creation is initiated. 5. Customer Relationships— A description of the ‘custom-4. Customer Creation— increase customer demand from er satisfaction relationship’ the company’s product anda few customers to many by filling the sales pipeline support establishes with the customer.through promotion, advertising and marketing. 6. Channels—Methods, companies, and/or sales activities5. Company Building—Company building is initiated that connect the factory producer to the sales transactionwhen sales orders of the product feature set are repeat- of the product.able, and believed to be sustainable for a duration of time. 7. Customer Segments—A group of purchasing attributes6. Market Status- Is the food product or competing food that are common among different customers that en-products currently being sold in the food marketplace. i.e. able the company’s product to be marketed to a commonis there existing consumer demand for the food product? group of people.C Causes and Effects—List the main hindering causes that establish the problem description in item A. 8. Cost Structure—The structure of the value chain costs, and those that are most important or sensitive to the over- all competitive advantage of the product offering.D Proposed Solution—List the main items of the proposed action plan that must be established to 9. Revenue Streams—A product or product group that are initiate or continue the sales of the food product. marketed together for generating profit through orga- nized company resources and activities.E Agriculture Value—Plot the value of the annual food product production, processed value of the food product, and the monetary value to the farmer For a thorough evaluation of your food expansion project, or cooperative who grows the product. contact us for more information. Intermodal Farms http://intermodalfarms.com/