Strategy – A Call to Action
Strategy is a word I have been using constantly over the last few years. It all began one day in Dublin at a Bord Bia workshop when we gathered to explore the strategic thinking of several food companies from across the country. While we had no documented strategic plan in place at the time, I was astounded at the number of large companies who seemed to have no idea of where they wanted to go. I decided there and then to put a plan in place.
Our new found strategy is now a high-level plan which is helping us to achieve our goals under conditions of uncertainty, and boy do we have many uncertainties in the business of fish farming! After the summer we have just experienced no one could have predicted the high temperatures over such a prolonged period of time. On a positive note no one could have predicted the huge surge in demand for our fresh fish in Ireland and across the globe. This demand is something we see going from strength to strength.
Goatsbridge Trout Farm is at a very critical stage in its life and we are aware companies that grow for the sake of growth, or that expand into areas outside their core business strategy, often stumble. On the other hand, companies that build scale for the benefit of their customers more often succeed over time.
I feel the most important thing is to build a compelling vision, a comprehensive strategy for achieving that vision, and then a relentless implementation plan. The biggest strategic risk that is guaranteed to fail is not taking any risk.
So, what is the plan?
Goatsbridge Trout Farm have worked relentlessly over the last number of years building a very strong recognisable brand and reputation. We have developed a range of high-quality products that have won many awards. We have tested the Irish market to build growth, working with all the major retailers in Ireland, including the two largest so-called discounters.
The reality in Ireland is the prize is small in terms of market share because of the small population of fish eaters. On top of this we have discovered that the cost to service the Irish people, in a market that has too many shops per capita, is extremely high. As a result, we will allow the sale of retail products to grow organically in this country, minimising the financial support to grow this market.
I am therefore happy to announce we will take the risk and launch into Sainsbury’s, the 2nd largest chain of supermarkets in the UK, on 14th of November to test this high-volume market for our added value trout range. Time will tell whether we have a place in mainstream retail at all and we will make the brave decision to pull out if this is the case.
We now look towards our newly acquired production sites and investigate the many possibilities to grow production in a sustainable manner, having identified a world screaming for high quality fish.
One such project is taking place in Mount Lucas, the biggest wind farm site in Ireland owned by Bord Na Mona.
Goatsbridge Trout Farm believe this is a truly sustainable and innovative method of fish farming modelling itself on the production of Catfish in The States. We hope to grow Duckweed to act as a natural biological biofilter, use air to move water around the pill ponds, and run these airlifts using energy taken from the nearby wind turbine. How cool is that!
Will it work? In the words of Samuel Beckett:
“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”
Watch this space!