Want to diversify your farm business? You’ll need a business plan! A thorough, well informed business plan will ensure you personally stay aligned with your business goals and will be invaluable when seeking funding or partnerships.
So how do you write a business plan? Read on to find out! Alternatively, simply contact us and we’ll do it for you!
Before you begin, it is important to tailor a business plan to its purpose. Remain mindful of who and what it is being written for:
- Banks and financial lenders
- Potential stakeholders
- Grant applications
1. Introduce the business
Like most things, a business plan needs an introduction. Provide basic details here, such as:
- What is it called?
- Where is it?
- Who owns and runs it?
- What does it do, provide or produce?
Include a mission and vision statement here!
2. Explain and describe the business
Follow on to paint the picture, use this section to give details and explain the business. Be creative! Use the following subheadings to help you:
Strengths and weaknesses
Demonstrate you have considered the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats surrounding your new venture by producing a SWOT analysis.
Provide some detail on how you intend to structure the business. This will be important to lenders and potential stakeholders.
Business and product description
Explain your business in detail here. Expand on the brief detail given in the introduction. Differentiate your business. Focus on:
- What exactly does it provide/ what is the product?
- Who are it’s target consumers?
- How will it feel and look?
- What suppliers will you use for materials or goods?
Outline whether the business has, or intends to acquire domain names and trademarks. Discuss confidentiality of business operations and information.
Management and personnel
Describe the personnel involved, or to be involved in the business. Provide details of:
- Who they are and their position in the business (staff required)
- Their experience
- Their skillsets
- How staff will be managed; payroll, supervision, appraisal etc.
Describe how the business will keep its records and what records it will keep.
- Stock and inventory
- Safety and liability reviews
- What legal obligations are required? How will these be obtained?
Explain how you have identified the following on both a local and a more wider trending basis:
- Your research methods. E.g. surveys, articles, product testing.
- Your target customer/ consumer
- The gap in the market
- The demand for your product or service
- Ongoing trends within the industry and the wider population
Be specific here. It must be obvious to the reader that there is demand for your service or product. You must be able to support claims with quantifiable market research that you can reference.
Demonstrate your consideration surrounding potential competition. Depending on what your business does, this could have a more local focus. Explain how you will outcompete rival businesses… What is your USP?
- Competitor businesses offering a similar product
- The demographics of competition. I.e. how far is the nearest competition
- highlight barriers to entry and the risk of other market entrants
Sales and marketing plan
You must outline a detailed overview of your proposed marketing strategy.
- How will your target consumer know about your product or service?
- What strategies are you going to use? E.g. social media, websites, signage, magazine adverts
4. Financials and budgeting
As expected, budgeting must feature as part of a business plan! A thorough budget should include:
- Initial capital requirements
- Cashflow forecasts
- Profit and loss forecasts
You should justify why you have used figures, providing commentary to guide the reader. Often, reverse costings must be used, therefore you must include any assumptions made.
An in depth discussion of your price or fee structure must be included, informed by your thorough market research
Although very important to any business, budgets are not the be all and end all of a business plan. Often the marketing and business product or service itself bares more importance. After all… how many business plans do you think are written which show a financial loss…!?
5. Formatting and presentation
If presenting your business plan to potential financial investors or stakeholders, its must look presentable. Here are some things to consider:
- Front cover
- Spelling and grammar
- Consistent formatting. E.g. font type, size, alignment.
- Front page
- Contents page
- Page numbers
Like everything, writing a good business plan takes time, dedication and various skillsets. However, it is important to put the effort in to a through business plan before investing in a farm diversification.
Unsure of how to write a business plan? Stuck on budgeting? Need a second opinion? Contact us today for a no obligation consultation, to see how we can help you achieve your aspirations for farm diversification.
Perhaps you’re still in the idea generation stage on your farm diversification journey, and don’t know what venture is right for you? Use our free diversification discovery assistant. Simply fill out the short questionnaire and receive a free review of what diversifications will suit you and your business.