BUSINESS IDEA – GREENHOUSES
10th, April, 2013
The business idea that has been developed in this case is concerned with greenhouse farming. Greenhouses ensure constant supply of food, if well managed. For instance, the Gotham Greens in Brooklyn sustained their food supply, even during the Hurricane Sandy period (Sustainable Business News 2013). Nonetheless, this will involve planting crops in greenhouses on rented land. There will be a restricted use of synthetic fertilizers and other chemical elements in the growing of crops, since this mainly aims at the production of organic produce. Upon maturity of plants, customers will be expected to visit the farm and make their preferred choices of the products they need. The main target consumers of this business plan are urban moms, since these are responsible for purchase of food in their families. Most urban moms value organic food, and are willing to spend their money on it, as opposed to inorganic food. This is because they consider organic food more ethical, environmentally friendly and healthier (IBISWorld 2013). This business idea thus belongs to the Whole Foods Market, as this will ensure that the produce that are sold to customers are fresh, grown locally, and safe for human consumption.
A recent survey by CommonGround in the United States showed that more than 50% of women are concerned with how the food they purchase was grown and raised (Food, Nutrition, & Science 2012). Therefore, these desire to be part of the business process, in order to clear their doubts about the food they purchase. On the other hand, urban moms are in charge of approximately 80% of the household spending (Market Research.com 2003). Therefore, these are the main decision makers on the choice of food to be consumed in the family. Urban moms have great interest in healthy eating; therefore, most will prioritize organic food, which they consider safe, healthy, and nutritious for their families.
Urban moms desire to know the growth process of the food they buy, in order to determine whether it fits their health standards or not. Therefore, this business will involve urban moms in the different business projects either directly or indirectly. When these are invited to the farming site to check out the produce and place their order, they will have the opportunity of witnessing the growth process of crops on the site, and this might help clear their doubts about the safety of the produce. In addition, some moms will be offered tenders to supply food wastes for organic fertilizer (ZeroWasteSA 2011), while some part of the business land will be rented to others to sell our organic produce. According to GardenWeb (n.d), wastes such as coffee grounds are important sources of nitrogen in composite manure. The business will consider organic manure due to its myriad of benefits. For instance, besides serving as fertilizer, this also serves as soil conditioner (Organic Gardening 2011). According to Flynn (2013), 70% of urban moms question the processes involved in the growth of food they buy. Therefore, this business will consider involving some of them in the business chain to ensure that they are familiar with the growth processes of the crops. This will help the business to achieve customer loyalty, which is important for increased sales.
Organic food production bases on the factor of healthy eating, since it aims at minimizing use of synthetic fertilizers and other chemical use in the crop growing process. In the United Kingdom, more people are aware of the benefits of healthy eating; therefore, seek to buy food that is safe and natural. Evidence of this fact is presented in the high demand levels of fresh organic produce, including fruits and vegetables in the United Kingdom. Many companies have therefore, ventured in the whole foods market, which is considered profitable today, due to the high demand of organic food by a greater portion of the UK population. In this case, therefore, this business will experience considerable competition from other producers of organic produce (IBISWorld 2013).
According to Caputo (2008), it is imperative that a small business identifies its main competitors before setting out in the business process. Supermarkets are the major competitors of this business. In addition, other organic food markets will also present considerable competition to this business. A recent report by Soil Association shows that in the UK, the online retail and independent outlets have registered high growth level. Most consumers of organic food in the UK prefer convenience and variety. Therefore, the online retailers and stores have won over more customers compared to supermarkets. Among such brands are Ocado, Abel, & Cole, and others, which have gained increased sales over the past years. Large chain stores in the UK such as Tesco, also exhibit a wide range of organic products, thus, attracting customers based on their diverse organic products (Soil Association 2013).
Convenience and diversity of the produce are therefore, two major factors that might help organic retailers to attract customers. These have been adopted by the potential competitors of this business, and have resulted in positive growth. Although supermarkets are also competitors to this business, online stores perform better than they do, thus, more competition will be from the online retail stores. According to Soil Association (2013), the availability of organic products in supermarkets in the UK has dropped in the past year, therefore, influencing their sales negatively. In 2012, Ocado was ranked the fourth largest organic retailer in the UK. This online retail store increased its sales by 6.4%, taking over a position that was previously held by the Morrissons and Asda. The competitive advantage of this retail store lies in its convenience, as customers can shop online, and place orders, which the company home delivers to them. The report by Soil Association also shows that more online organic retail stores such as Riverford and Sainsbury experienced increased sales (Soil Association 2013). From this competitors’ information, it is clear that for this business to grow and compete favourably in the market, it is important to consider aspects of convenience and diversity in produce.
Internet and social media is core to any business today, due to the digitalization of most processes, including communication (Gay, Charlesworth & Esen 2007). In this business, a Facebook page and a website are the main considerations that have been put in place. These will help in marketing the business, especially to the urban moms, who are the target consumers. According to Attewill (2013), young mothers in the UK today seek advice about family care tips on the internet and social media, compared to the past, where they would call their mothers and female friends and relatives. Attewill (2013) also reports that in the UK, nine out of ten married women use the internet to look for information. These also spend more time on the internet and social media, compared to the other people in the population. Most of them also use social sites such as Facebook and Twitter to connect with their friends and family (Attewill 2013). This therefore, confirms that urban moms have easy access to the internet; therefore, it is easier for the business to reach them through the internet and social media.
Since urban moms value organic produce, this business will therefore, reach them through the internet. A website will be set up for the business. This website will provide detailed information about the business, the produce of the business, activities, and events, pricing, among other aspects of the business. This website will therefore, help in popularizing the business among urban moms, and other potential consumers. On the other hand, a Facebook page for the business will also help to promote the business. This will also comprise information about the business and its location. On this page, the business will share photos of the produce, as well as videos of various processes undertaken in the growth of the crops. This is important for marketing, building ties between the customer and the business, as well as familiarizing customers with the different processes in the business.
Furthermore, most urban moms have a restricted schedule, as these are greatly involved in caring for their families. Therefore, this business will put this factor into consideration, and implement online shopping for its customers. Customers will place their orders online, and these will be home-delivered to them. Therefore, this will increase the aspect of convenience for customers. This is a strategy that most online organic retailers in the UK have adopted, and achieved positive results. Therefore, this is most likely to lead to positive results for this business, as well. Nonetheless, if all the discussed factors are well strategized, it is possible that this business idea will come true, and realize the targeted goals and objectives.
Attewill, F 2013, “Social media is a ‘lifeline’ for new mums searching for childcare tips,” Metro
News, 20 March, Viewed 11 April 2013 <http://metro.co.uk/2013/03/20/social-media-is-a-lifeline-for-new-mums-searching-for-childcare-tips-3552203/>
Caputo, C 2008, “The Small Business Start-Up Kit.” Nolo, New York.
Gay, R., Charlesworth, A. & Esen, R 2007, “Online Marketing: A Customer-Led Approach,”
Oxford University Press, London.
IBISWorld 2013, “Organic Food in the UK: Market Research Report,” Viewed 11 April 2013
Flynn, K 2013, “70% of Moms Have Questions about How Their Food is Grown,” Viewed 10
Food, Nutrition, & Science 2012, “Farming Women Connect With Urban Moms,” Viewed 11
April 2013 <http://www.foodnutritionscience.com/index.cfm/do/monsanto.article/articleId/640.cfm>
GardenWeb n.d, “Coffee Grounds and Composting,” Viewed 10 April 2013
Market Research.com 2003, “U.S. Mom Market: A Ground-Breaking Profile of Mothers as
Consumers and Family Decision-Makers,” Viewed 11 April 2013 <
Organic Gardening 2011, “Organic Fertilizers,” Viewed 10 April 2013
Soil Association 2013, “Organic Market Report,” Viewed 11 April 2013
Sustainable News 2013, “Whole Foods goes ultra-local with Gotham Greens greenhouse in
Brooklyn,” 5 April, Viewed 10 April 2013 <http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2013/04/05/whole-foods-goes-ultra-local-gotham-greens-greenhouse-brooklyn?page=0%2C1>
ZeroWasteSA 2011, “What can we do about food waste? Fresh facts for restaurant, catering and. . . .” YouTube, 26 October, Viewed 10 April 2013 <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntxnb3HyHV8>
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