Seven (7) Important Things To Know Before Starting Your Pig Business
SEVEN (7) IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE STARTING YOUR PIG BUSINESS
Seven (7) Important Things To Know Before Starting Your Pig Business
Just like in every business, the fundamental requirement for success is ample knowledge and experience. I am a graduate of animal sciences but I wouldn’t trade that for practical hands-on experience in any agric-business venture I want to undertake. There are usually several nitty-gritty of a business you might not be exposed to till you actively participate in it. To further buttress what I am saying, as I write this article, some agric tech startup is presently on the verge of collapse because the funders did not get some basic things right with their business model. Sometimes some of these seeming ‘failures’ are because the CEOs of these firms refused to heed some warnings or put some necessary checks in place. Either ways, you don’t want to lose your business because of a fault you could have surmounted. As I write this piece, I am reminded of Malcolm Gladwell’s explanation on plane crashes in his classic book, Outliers. Disasters are usually a result of several things left unattended to and not usually one. Today, in this piece, I am going to give an external observer view on seven (7) important things to know before starting your pig business.
- Know your market. Be intimately aware of the market players. This is a field most people who want to start or expand a business overlook. You practically have no one who knows you or what you do. You do not know how to interact with or identify the market you want to sell to yet there is this confidence that the business will just do well. I can tell you for free that the average entrepreneur usually underrates the market. We do not consider how much effort it is required to get the attention of the right market for our businesses. This ought not to be so. If I will go a step further, you should consider what you will do differently that will make your potential customers or clients buy your own products and not that of a competitor. This is very fundamental for your pig business success probably more important than a business plan. Let me add, part of been aware of the market player is knowing who the major suppliers of valuable ingredients are also.
- Be in love with the pigs and the business. Don’t just do it for the money. Passion is really important for succeeding in a business. In my analysis of a choice of business, four (4) things usually stand out namely, market potential, passion which usually translates to ample knowledge and experience, profitability and scalability. Most people know the need for business profitability (or how else do you pay the bills). However, you don’t want to be in a business just for the profit. Profits are a byproduct of a rightfully chosen business. You must love the business and the products in this case pigs. Like I said, this will translate to knowledge. You can test your passion by how much time you spend on the business will definitely translates in how much you know the products and business you are in (note, observed how I interchange products and business?). Do you know the different kind of breeds of pigs there are? Do you know what they feed on ( I mean recent discovery on low cost effective pig feed)? Why pigs wallow in the mud? Do you know pigs are one of the cleanest sets of domestic animals? Do you know their different measurement indices, FCR, gestation period, weaning dates, feed ratios, housing pattern, etc. there are definitely lots of things you should be aware of. If you have passion, you will know them!
- Get ample knowledge, possibly unfettered hands on experience at a successful pig farm. If I were you who wants to start a pig farm, first thing I will do is to come up with is a checklist. A comprehensive checklist should contains all the things to know before starting out in their order of priorities. Before you complain you need money or capital, get knowledge first. So, after you have a checklist verified to be sufficient by at least 2-3 independent sources (a blend of academics and industry should suffice), then you can begin to seek to have practical sessions at a reputable pig farm. A random search through Google will show you all the major pig farms in your locality. Although you must be careful to visit a farm that uses the latest technology and have a good knowhow of modern way of raising and conducting a piggery business.
- Know what metrics to watch. You should already have some of this metrics in your checklist but it begs to mention them as a separate point. Some of the metrics I could list off my heart right now is parent stock vitality, selected breed gestation period, feed conversion ratio (FCR), housing density, temperature, feed and water change frequency, and lots more. Like I said, your verified checklist should contain most of these. I’m sure you know it is a given that you will require the services of practicing expert animal scientists and farmers to help you with all you need to know.
- Carefully plan your beginning, growth and expansion. This is very important. Because you are new and already bubbling with lots of knowledge, there is that temptation to think you can do a whole lot from the beginning. This is always not so. Yes, there is economics of scale when you start big but don’t fall for that. In the same way you can gain big when you start big, you can also lose big when you start big. So it’s good to start small while having the big picture in mind. Starting small will allow you to practice astute management even with little. It helps you to hone the skills needed to manage a big business. Starting small also helps you to learn to manage some mistakes. The stakes are little.
- Be involved and put structure to the business early enough. This is basically to safeguard you against losing your hard earned funds. As much as putting people to run the business is good, money can’t do it all. You need to be present. Those who work for you need to know you have skin in the game. They need to be aware you are actively concerned for the growth of the business. They need to also know you don’t toy with putting in place the right business principles and practices. You have to show you really want to build a thriving world-class international business if not no one will take you or your business serious and you could lose it all if you are not careful.
- Know how much money you can burn away. Things do happen in business. The unexpected happens. For instance, most persons who shouted Happy New Year in 2020 never knew the COVID-19 Pandemic will happen or the impact it will have on their business and its okay (sometimes). So, it’s only sensible that you don’t put all your eggs in one basket, like they say. You want to be sure your investment risk are modest and you are not putting your entire family in jeopardy because of your optimism. Perhaps part of knowing how much money to burn is to know how soon you can get your investment back (what accountants call Payback Period, an offshoot of the concept of Return on Investment (ROI)).
This is the bit I carry today. I trust it has been worth the read and you’ve found some of the advice given useful. If yes, please share to your friends and family. In conclusion, I will end my article with this; ‘Don’t just be (or aspire to be) a pig farmer, be an entrepreneur. Based on appropriate market condition, have plans for backward and forward integration of your business. Commit to building something really worthwhile that can become a business that folks many years from now will be proud to work with and be willing to give their utmost best to. Enough of having small cottage businesses in Africa. Let’s build truly remarkable trans-generational businesses. It begins with you and I.’’
Trust this article has been enlightening. Please do comment and let us know your thoughts. Get Access to More Than 100 FREE Nigerians Business Plans Executive Summaries here. I hope to hear from you soon.
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