The purpose of a business is to make money, or to generate profits. This would seem to be a simple and straightforward concept. Nevertheless, there are several different ways to look at the profitability of a business activity. The particular type of analysis to be done will vary with the time frame selected, the scope or scale of the activity being selected, and the availability of data to do the analysis.

This manual will first present an analysis of the profitability of tilapia farming under the assumption that this is a new activity for the individual. The individual is not currently in the tilapia business. The first step for this individual would be to look at whether or not tilapia farming is profitable in a general sense in a typical or representative year. For this analysis, the individual would use an enterprise budget analysis to see whether tilapia farming was profitable or not. Profits would be determined by finding whether or not revenues generated from the sale of tilapia were greater than the sum of all costs involved in tilapia production. Average or typical values would be used for all costs and prices in the analysis.