Like all initial start-ups we had a whole bunch of mistakes we made. I feel it is necessary to talk about our mistakes so that you don’t end up making the same ones! Also, to tell everyone, if you’re entering into a new arena, there are going to be mistakes! That’s how we all learn!
We had initially decided to make it for-profit venture: While its a great idea to have a for-profit food processing business, its not a very good idea to have basic agriculture/farming for-profit venture. (Not-for-profit organization does not mean that we cannot earn profits. It means we cannot distribute profits.)
There were couple of things that went wrong with the for-profit venture. First and foremost, we didn’t have a for-profit model. We had a business model, there wasn’t just enough for us to give our investors an insight into projected turnover, revenue, the valuation of their equity (or debt). Agriculture being full of inherent risks(being dependent on monsoon, vulnerable to pest attack and sudden climatic and seasonal changes) there just wasn’t enough to give a particular projection. We tried making it work but failed miserably. we could not assure them a certain percentage of return, which the investors generally expect.
Secondly, and more importantly, we came across as just another business, or even worse, people somehow got an ugly picture of corporate-farming, where we are exploiting natural resources for minting profits! The whole underlying idea of sustainable agricultural model took a back-seat!
That was our first and biggest mistake!