Since many businesses in the fresh produce industry have been around for decades and business owners have mastered their own traditional ways of running them, some may not see the need to upscale their processes or embrace newer technology.
However, upscaling is important, especially these days, if you want to stay ahead of the competition. Your business can become outdated if you fail to adopt new strategies, embrace up-and-coming tech, pay attention to consumer buying trends, market insights, and react accordingly.
This article highlights important tips for growing your produce business and staying relevant in the market. These tips focus on how to improve your business managerial operations, trading, communications, and finances. An upgrade to these business units can make your business more efficient, profitable, and improve your customer experience in general.
You can set the tone for this growth by integrating a produce software like Silo into your business workflow. Visit https://usesilo.com to learn more about how it can help stakeholders in the fresh produce industry.
Implement the following tips and watch your produce experience unparalleled growth.
1. Sell smarter and faster
Customers love efficient and quick transactions. It is important to put systems in place that simplify your business flow and make it quick to process. Receipts should be made available, accessible, and as quickly as possible to customers. This will boost their confidence in your company’s operations and productivity.
Automated invoices are the best way to achieve this. Produce businesses should therefore have their invoices electronically generated. Automated software, like an ERP, can quickly pull up inventory information and automatically create invoices.
A key part of smart selling would also be smart pricing. After considering current market prices, the most profitable prices are obtained by setting margins that favor the customers and the business.
Set your price too high, and customers may opt for other options. Set it too low, and your produce business risks running at a loss. Therefore, one must be aware of recent price changes and adapt to avoid falling into either category.
2. Make informed purchase decisions
A business that wants to thrive must be able to make healthy managerial and financial decisions in time. Without accurate data, it is impossible to make the right decisions. Information is also key in making good purchasing decisions.
In this regard, it is critical to access and frequently reference your business’s inventory. A lot can be corrected, and mistakes avoided, when the inventory is easily accessible. Any disparity between inventory counts and physically-present stock can have wide effects on your routine operations.
With proper inventory counts, you can tell what produce is already understocked and which is overstocked relative to its demand. This will guide your buying and selling decisions down the line.
3. Ensure accurate, seamless, and inclusive communication
Excellent and inclusive communication can help your produce business grow immensely. It strengthens the bond between growers, suppliers, wholesale distributors, shippers, customers, and other key stakeholders in the produce supply chain.
A good communication channel makes it easy to share information and act on it quickly. Internal teams and external teams can easily assess situations, provide solutions, and work on them cohesively. They can also assess the performance of other business units and monitor how each team meets up with their KPIs without necessarily meeting each other in person. This, no doubt, boosts productivity and efficiency.
Vendors can easily and quickly receive and send communication from and to their customers. Price lists can be automated as the changes are made, updating them before their next purchases. Operational changes can also be communicated effectively and quickly to avoid disrupting the customers’ schedules.
Customers can also alert vendors on issues relating to delivery or the produce itself. They can lay their complaints assuredly, knowing that the vendors will receive them and respond promptly.
You as the business owner also benefit from this as you are able to oversee, in its entirety, the movement of work from one department to the next. Operational and management changes, assessments, and progress reports can also be shared accurately and on time.
Efficient communication builds trust, which is essential in building and sustaining work relationships. A strengthened relationship between all involved in a produce business will lead to its productivity, efficiency, and growth.
4. Access to capital
Capital is important to starting a business and fundamental to expanding your operations too. A produce business concerned with consistent growth must be ready to ditch its manual processes for automated ones. This conversion requires additional capital.
Therefore, every produce business needs to have a well-managed cash flow system. This begins with ensuring that invoices are settled on time and that there are no delayed or missed payments.
There are various ways to procure funding for your produce business. You can obtain a loan from a bank or online companies. However, there are many requirements to be met before you can get approved for a bank loan, and the interest rates on online loans are a little too steep. An alternative is approaching credit unions or using produce solutions that provide credit to their users.
5. Accurate and efficient bookkeeping
Poor bookkeeping practices, not only hinder the growth of a business, but puts it at risk of going under over time.
A produce business should streamline its bookkeeping processes by, again, automating as many processes as it can. This way, all the entries are centralized and automatically updated in real-time—giving you an accurate overview of expenses, payments, withdrawals, and deposits made.
Losses and profits should be easily tracked and payments verified based on their dates, purchases, and units moved.