10 Vital Steps On How To Start A Seafood Business And Make It A Success

With the advent of time, more and more people have started valuing seafood as a good source of protein and other nutrients like omega 3 fats.

With the demand for more and more healthy food alternatives, there is now a growing gap between demand and supply that can be provided by seafood businesses. 

The graph below shows the very wide gap between as indicated by the search data comparing search for “Healthy Foods” and “Seafood business” on Google Trends for the period between 2004 and 2020.

comparison of Google search data between Seafood Business and Healthy Foods trend
comparison of search data between Seafood Business and Healthy Foods on Google Trends for the period 2004 to 2020

As you can see, this creates a huge business opportunity for those interested in learning how to start a seafood business!

Which makes a lot of people question, is the seafood business profitable?

The answer is yes, 100% profitable!

And after hearing that it is so profitable, we immediately get asked, how to start a seafood business?

 Here’s what you need to ace the business:

  1. Make a foolproof business plan.
  2. Take a look at the competitors.
  3. Mark your legal presence and be sure on the paperwork.
  4. Choose what you want to sell.
  5. Determine How to source your supply.
  6. Create a system for packaging and storage.
  7. Focus on timely, cost-effective shipping.
  8. Target your audience.
  9. Go online.
  10. Good marketing leads to better sales
Any business worth pursuing must start with a business plan
Any business worth pursuing must start with a good business plan

Make A Foolproof Business Plan

Before starting any business, the first thing you need to build is a solid plan, with no loopholes! Yes, we mean it! If you are not sure about putting it on paper, how can you be sure about putting your money on it?

Begin by conducting a survey.

A survey of the local market in your area as well as a general study of what seafoods are most preferred in the vicinity.

Know whatever you can about your audience. Look for vendors and similar business owners, to know better.

Talk to significant consumers of seafood around the area and try to learn from their preferences.

Once you have all the knowledge, pen down your initial investment, your estimated expenditure as well as your estimated profits, determine how you are going to clean, store, package and sell your desired product.

This is going to be the framework of your business, once you have this done correctly, it’s time to move on to the next step.

Evaluating competition is key to starting a seafood business
To successfully start a seafood business you must determine who your competitions are

Take A Look At Other Competitors:

Look at the competition in or around the area you wish to serve.

Compare each of their prices, marketing strategies, menus, etc., to your own. Determine their strengths and their weak points, and learn from them.

Doing so will help you strategise your business plan better and determine how to stand up against the competition who are already established and doing well.

Mark Your Legal Presence And Be Sure Of The Paperwork:

When starting a food business, especially that which entails seafood, there are a lot of regulatory issues that may arise and need to be taken care of! So get yourself a lawyer and enrol yourself as a corporation and generate an Employer Identification Number from the state.

Learn about the taxes, legislations and clearances required to do the set business, in the particular state. Once that is clear, you will have to seek permission from your city’s zonal commission, to start your seafood business in that specific area.

Getting a food service license is also a must: for that, you and your employees may have to attend a few workshops run by the government, to learn the basics of food safety and handling.

Choose What You Want To Sell:

Next, you need to decide what to put on the product list! Since there are thousands of varieties of seafood, you need to finalise what sorts of it you are going to sell. Do you want to focus on just one type of seafood, E.g., catfish? Or do you want to go all out and have a variety on your product list?

This depends on the locality and audience you are targeting. What are their preferences? If you think the audience loves a little bit of everything, then a variety on your menu will allure more customers. But if you know that your customers prefer only one or two types of fish, then you should invest only in these.

Determine How To Source Your Supply

When penning down your seafood business plan, make sure to determine where you are going to obtain your catch from.

  • Will you breed your own?
  • Will you hire vendors?
  • Or will you buy them from fishers?

Either way, make sure you have more than 1 finalised vendor, so in case one fails to provide the other can fill in.

Make sure all your selected vendors have a valid food and safety license and are following the protocol of running a seafood business. When purchasing through another breeder, make sure to check the harvest thoroughly, and their living conditions before you strike a deal because even one lousy piece can put your whole business’s reputation at stake.

This is especially important if you have a lot of competition to deal with already.

In case you are purchasing from fishermen directly, look for signs that indicate the catch is fresh. Even if there is only one sign that suggests the fish may be stale, ditch it!

Red flags that indicate the catch may be stale:

  • Loose, wrinkled or cracked skin that appears dull and not shiny and tight.
  • The fish has a strong fishy odour.
  • The eyes are not clear but cloudy or not bulged out.
  • The gills of the fish appear dry and brittle instead of being shiny and slightly red or pink.
  • Any other bruises, discolourations or stains also indicate that the fresh is stale and not fit to be sold to your customers.

You may also be interested in How to start a Seafood Restaurant

Proper packaging is also needed for a successful seafood business

Create A System For Packaging And Storage

In the seafood business, there is nothing more important than packaging and storage.

Since seafood is one of the quickest perishing items on earth, extra care should be taken when it comes to storing and packing so that when it reaches its customer, it’s as fresh as new!

To keep your products fresh and far from rotting, a temperature-controlled environment is vital. Heavy-duty refrigeration is also essential for keeping your catch at the right temperature to avoid rotting and spoilage.

The packaging should be sealable and unbreakable, so that moisture, bacteria, or insects are unable to attack the produce.

There are plenty of new processes and packaging now available in the market, that help keep the fish fresh, and safe from any damage.

You may also be interested in How to Start a Seafood Restaurant  

Focus On Timely, Cost-effective Shipping

One thing that makes a business stand out is its timeliness, with delivery orders, especially when the product is seafood, something so vulnerable to bad weather and handling.

It is necessary to make sure that deliveries during hot summer days should be made quickly to avoid any spoilage on the way.

While during winters, express delivery can be switched with standard delivery, given that the seafood remains good in cold weather.

Create a formula that results in timed deliveries without costing an arm and a leg. Also keep the option for home delivery, open.

Related Posts: The Health Benefits of Catfish that you need to know and Is Catfish a Good Fish to Eat?

online shopping statistics

Target Your Audience

Once you have everything sorted regarding where to get the catch from, how to store it and ship it, start looking for your targeted audience.

Knowing who your audience is precisely, their taste, their desired requirements, it will be easier for you to market your product to them.

Knowing your audience will also make adding new products to your menu easy and more realistic.

The internet now provides one of the most used ways to connect your customers

Go Online

In today’s era, where all businesses have gone online, companies that have stayed aloof, are losing the potential opportunity for growth.

According to Statista, In 2019, an estimated 1.92 billion people purchased goods or services online. During the same year, e-retail sales surpassed 3.5 trillion U.S. dollars worldwide, and according to the latest calculations, e-commerce growth will accelerate even further in the future..

Online shopping is convenient, as it requires no going out and can be done conveniently and saves time.

So start to build your website or get the help of other social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, to mark your presence online! Or go even further and register yourself on Amazon and eBay for a better response.

marketing is at the heart of every business
Good marketing is at the heart of any business

Good Marketing Leads To Better Sales.

There is nothing better for a business than some good word of mouth.

But you can’t stick to word of mouth forever. Use simple tools like social media and pictures to allure more customers.

Just like a good word of mouth, pictures do wonders for the product you want to sell. Add in your details in the caption, and you’ll be surprised to see the number of queries you will get due to it.

Establish a website and use search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques to expand your reach further, because there is no better place to market your product, then on google! You’ll be surprised to know the number of people who search for seafood near their area via google.

Summary: How to Start A Seafood Business

Now that you know how to start a seafood business and also run it successfully, there is literally no reason to waste your time foot-dragging!

Start your research on the industry, the competitors and different sources for your suppliers.

Find out who your potential target buyers are and how to reach them and finally as in all successful business ventures put all of these in a business plan so that you know what you are up against.

You would not be the first to have leant how to start a seafood business but let the difference between you and the rest be that you have taken prompt action.

Its time to get started.

Related post: How to preserve, process and pack smoked catfish  

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Festus Otasowie
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