One important lesson in serving smallholder farmer customers is that products that are offered with some form of financing can make or break sales numbers. Why? Commercial financial products are generally not accessible by smallholder farmers. Though some banks are making inroads into better understanding smallholder farmer customers and designing financial products to meet their needs, such solutions are few and far between.

As entrepreneurs, it is important to continually think outside the box for serving base-of-the-pyramid markets and using nontraditional financing within a business model is one example. Other small changes that can be made to products, including for traditional financial products, range from changing labeling practices to integrating "reminder" features into services.

A recent report from Innovations in Poverty Action outlines the above examples and many more, all based on the organization's extension research around the world. Take a look, and see if the information can help with your product design. Remember - think outside the box!