Deciding to start your own small farm is an exciting first step toward financial security. However, making sure that your venture into the farming world is a profitable one takes a bit of planning and hard work. From Willowcreek, here are some tips for starting and monetizing a small farm that should help get you started with confidence
Have a Business Plan Ready
Having a business plan will simplify many things down the road. It is important that you identify your target market, determine how you are going to reach them, and make sure everything from seed selection to harvest marketing plans is ready before you begin. Taking the time to make sure everything is thought through will save you headaches later on when things get hectic during planting season.
Identify Your Market
You will also want to consider your target market so that you can tailor your selection of crops accordingly. Consider who your nearby customers are, what they would be interested in buying, what ingredients local restaurants desire, and so on. Knowing exactly who you decide to cater to will provide greater focus in all other business decisions moving forward.
Develop Customer Service Strategies
Developing strong customer service strategies is key to growing success with a small farm enterprise. Services should include options like delivery to someone’s doorstep or having items waiting curbside each week. Always staying proactive regarding communication by emailing updates regarding order availability changes helps develop long-term trust in everyone involved in transactions.
Register Your Business
Although it may seem like an unnecessary formality when just starting, you must register your enterprise as an LLC (limited liability company). Doing so provides legal protection from personal liability if any problems arise with creditors or investors down the road. Additionally, it gives more credibility outside of simply being called ‘the farmer’ which can provide additional opportunities for investment or expansion possibilities.
Factor in an Emergency Fund to Your Budget
Creating a budget for both startup costs and necessary operating expenses is key for success with a small farm business. Make sure to include all inputs and always allocate funds for unexpected costs such as crop damage due to inclement weather or insect infestations throughout the season. Having an emergency fund set aside can give you peace of mind when misadventures occur, allowing you to respond quickly with ready resources.
Participate in Local Events
Participating in local events can create great opportunities for getting public exposure and building relationships with potential customers. Local events are also a great place to get feedback from customers and know their preferences and needs may be. Even if you don’t have a formal market stand, simply having samples of your products can help establish your small farm as a reliable source of fresh produce in the area.
Market Your Farm
Starting a small farm business and monetizing it is hard work. You need to get the word out there. A business card is a great way to introduce yourself, your business, and what services you offer. There are plenty of online resources that can help you create a business card design that makes a statement about you and your business. Utilizing templates and tools to get business cards printed will place your business front and center in the agricultural industry, allowing potential customers to take note of what you offer.
Starting a small farm requires careful preparation and, if done correctly, can pay off huge dividends. Capitalizing on the right strategies with strategic execution is crucial to expanding your financials while sustaining operations. Plus, creating relationships with customers and vendors ensures sustainable profits for years to come. With these steps as a guide, you have all the tools necessary to turn into considerable success.
by Sam Marcum