How To Make A Smoked Catfish Business Plan Great!

When making a smoked catfish business plan, not all business plans are born equal!

Even if they were equal, some business plans are definitely born more equal than others.

Starting a new business might sound overwhelming. But if planned well, execution is seldom a cause of concern.

And today, we are discussing exactly that – The essential elements required to make a smoked catfish business plan great.

Like any other successful business, there are a few Essential elements of a smoked catfish business plan that one must ensure to have any chance of success.

And we are not just talking of the usuals… the financials, marketing, and the like. No! Those are a given and are of course standard sections in the business plan.

So besides these what then would we need to reflect in a smoked catfish business plan?

Well, let us find out

Step 1: Business Proposal Feasibility Studies: A key Element Of A Smoked Catfish Business Plan

If you were thinking you could just sit down, get a flask of coffee or a coffee pot and whip up a smoked catfish business plan, I am afraid you are mistaken.

Perhaps a few other types of business plans written that way may work. But not this one! No definitely not!

One of the major determinants of how successful your business plan will eventually be will be the quality of data you incorporate in it and how reliable the data is.

Qualitative data is seldom found lying around.

It needs to be searched for and from the right sources too. It needs to be current and relevant to the market and other specific areas you are interested in.

That leads us then to the real questions to ask.

So in order to be sure you are on the right path, you must ask yourself the following questions:

• What exactly is your overall business objective?

• What do you want to achieve with this business that you are planning for?

• Which markets are you interested in? What niche are you planning to serve

• How will you test whether the identified niche is interesting enough to make a viable business?

• How do you want to determine the most Viable group that you can serve and delight with your
• product that they become your product evangelists as Seth Godin will say?

You should possess as an output well-researched and detailed feasibility studies outlining answers to the above questions and more.

This would be the proof you need to convince yourself about the viability of your goals, target market, competition, budget, and strategies for success, and that they are on the right track.

This is an essential first step.

And don’t be deceived, there are no shortcuts to this essential!

This will prove to be the basis of your entire work and to a very large extent whether or not you are heading the right way.
Everything from how you want the business to work, your expectations of the profit it should make, to how to fulfil those expectations, this document will have it all.

No wonder according to The Journal of Business & Economics Research (JBER), this alone can set you apart from your competitors


Step 2: Determine the Amount Of Investment You Need

Next, come the funds you’ll need to purchase equipment, ingredients, and other supplies. This is called Startup Capital.

So, if you were looking to get into the smoked catfish business as a “no cash down” business, I am afraid that isn’t the case.

You require cold hard cash to get started.

Then comes the day-to-day running cost of the business, which is called the operating cost. It is the cost you must keep at hand to ensure you have a business. And when the business starts making a profit, it is what you must take aside from the Profit and reinvest in the business to keep it running.

In the smoking catfish business, capital is directly proportional to your profits. This means the more you invest, the bigger the profits. This is because the major chunk of the capital will go towards purchasing fresh produce of catfish.

So, the more fresh produce you purchase, the more final product that is smoked catfish you will have for sale (of course that is after discounting for different types of operational losses and inefficiencies). This means more sales and eventually more profits.

More importantly, the investment will determine the types of equipment used, the number of employees, and the overall scale of your business.

And now that we are talking of catfish smoking equipment, you may do well to see our very detailed post on the different types of catfish smoking machines available to use.

Step 3: How Much Space Do You Need?

Once you have your investment sorted, you will need space to prepare, smoke, and package your catfish. If you don’t have access to a kitchen, you’ll need to rent a commercial kitchen.

All of these need to be well thought out and captured in your business plan.

While many people often think they can turn their backyards into smoke plants, food regulatory requirements in most developed countries make this impossible to pull off, as it is a no-no (see licensing requirements below).

Perhaps for people planning to carry out artisanal smoking operations in developing countries, that may suffice but as mentioned previously, your feasibility studies conducted as suggested in the first step above will determine how big or small a space you need for a business plan to produce smoked catfish commercially.

So here is the summary: If your plan is to make a cottage industry, then using your house, kitchen, and backyard should suffice. But if you are looking towards a more extensive setup, then renting out a commercial kitchen or space is your best bet.

But that’s not all the space you will need. One major chunk of space that is deemed as one of the essential elements of a smoked catfish business plan is – STORAGE.

Yet so often ignored.

You must plan for two types of storage -storage for the raw produce (which is almost always refrigerated storage)  and dry storage for the finished products.

Typically, this dry storage may not need to be refrigerated if the final product is shelf stable.

The dry storage must also be side to accommodate all the other consumables need for the processing -wood chips, cleaning materials, etc.

Other spaces required for food safety compliance would also come into the calculation of the amount of total space that would be needed and provisioned for in the business plan

The location of the space is also a major concern, as that will determine your fueling and shipping cost, both when purchasing fresh catfish or selling your stock of Smoked catfish.

Selecting The Types Of Equipment and Supplies:

Like space, equipment will also be determined by the scale of your business and its needs.

A smoker is necessary for cooking and preserving the catfish. The size, type, and quantity depend on how much catfish you are planning to smoke. See our earlier post on catfish smoking machines

Depending on your smoking method, you’ll also need supplies such as wood chips, charcoal, and fuel.

Other basic supplies include things like containers and salt for brine solution used for curing etc.

cooling equipment would be a must except you plan to be getting the raw materials supplied to your facility daily.

You must give this a thought by doing the cost analysis which will therefore also be reflected in your business plan.

If you did your feasibility studies very well, then your location and nearness to the source of raw materials should already provide answers to some of these space and equipment requirements.

wo-trolley industrial smokehouse
Am example of a two-trolley industrial smokehouse

Source and Specie of Your Fresh Catfish

Most importantly, you will have to figure out a reliable source of fresh catfish. This is crucial for producing high-quality products.

While you may want to consider sourcing from local fish markets, distributors, or suppliers, it is important to ensure that wherever you choose to get your supplies from, it is reliable, affordable, and provides you with the species you need for the types of finished products you want to produce.

When looking for suppliers, ensure they are honest with their work because that is the only way to see if they will be honest with your business dealings in the future.

Be vigilant and keen when visiting their farm or plants.

Stand back if you find any loopholes.

You can never produce premium-quality smoked catfish from poor-quality raw materials. So beware and select your suppliers carefully.

Determining Packaging and Labeling Requirements

Then comes another one of those essential elements of a Smoked catfish Business plan that many choose to ignore.

Research suggests communicative packaging and labeling can help people make more informed food choices.

So make sure to package and label your products properly. You will need supplies such as bags, containers, labels, and sealing equipment.

Get a freelance product designer and collaborate with them to create efficient packaging that resonates with your brand authenticity.

You may also like: How To Start A Seafood Business

Determining Marketing and Advertising

Next, you will need a strategy to reach your target market and create brand awareness because, as we always say, fish will only sell itself if you smoke it to perfection and package it in the most futuristic packaging.

Or if the futuristic packaging comes with a marketing scheme of its own.

Either way, marketing is key.

And in today’s age, as essential as it is, it can be done as easily. Thorough social media, flyers, and word of mouth.

swai vs basa
Choosing the specie and sources of catfish for your catfish smoking business is a vital step in your business planning

Regulatory Requirements: Permits and licenses

Many people choose to ignore this, but depending on your location, you may need to obtain food handling certifications, business licenses, and food service permits.

Permits give your brand a certification of authenticity, quality, and reliability. And with the growing consciousness in people about watching what you are eating, this can uplift your brand even more.

Studies claim that after the recent Covid-19 catastrophe, over 60% of the world’s population is determined to make healthy lifestyle changes.

Complying WIth Food Safety Regulations

Last but not least, Familiarizing yourself with food safety regulations and ensuring that you follow them is crucial for protecting your customers and maintaining a successful business.

Because as mentioned above, people are looking into safe food choices. And as a food business owner, the least one can do is provide safe and quality smoked catfish for their customers.

Make sure to verse yourself as well as your employees in food safety rules. Attend classes and seminars and make your best effort to provide your clients with safe and healthy smoked catfish.

See also: Where To Sell Smoked Catfish -And Get The Best Price


Other than all the aforementioned essential elements of a Smoked Catfish business plan, networking has also proven to be one huge asset. And platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook have made it all the easier for small businesses.

Register your own page on both these platforms and create a hub for like-minded individuals who are looking to buy, sell, expand, or even start their own smoked catfish business from scratch.

A recent study suggests more than 80% of B2B deals are finalized because of customer relations rather than the pricing or actual offering. It can help you both ways when selling smoked catfish as well as when you are purchasing fresh catfish.

Now that you are aware of all the possible essential elements of a smoked catfish business plan, there is nothing that can stop you from going big!!

Good luck as you work on making that smoked catfish business plan great!

We love to hear from you!

Starting a business, indeed any business for that matter can be a daunting business.

That is why choosing to start from where it is most logical and where you have the most likelihood to succeed is a great first step.  That is getting the education and information that can help you along the right path.

But we don’t just want to stop there!

Here at Kabaia Foods Inc, we love to give a helping hand wherever we can.

So have you already started your plan? What challenges are you facing?

Use the comments button below to share your experience and let’s see how we can support you in having a smoother journey.


Festus Otasowie
Festus Otasowie
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