Country life has become increasingly appealing for many city dwellers in recent years. After living their whole life in an urban area, a lot of people choose to leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind and move to the countryside to live off the land. If you’re also planning to make the switch and start your own small farm business, you’re probably curious how other people before you did it and what steps you should follow to make your dream come true.
Most farm owners come from families that have worked on a farm for generations, so farming is pretty much embedded in their DNA. They already have the knowledge and the whole framework ready, so they just have to continue what the previous generations have started. But if you haven’t grown up around farms and your farming experience is close to zero, you have a lot of work to catch up on to become a farmer in the true sense of the word. Things get even more complicated when you want to turn farming into a successful business.
However, your lack of experience and skills shouldn’t discourage you from putting your idea into practice. So, here are some tips that can set you on the right track and provide the guidance you need to get started with a farming business.
Expand your farming knowledge and experience
Since you’ve never worked on a farm before and you don’t really know what this type of activity implies, the most logical step to take would be to learn as much as you can about farming. Some people believe it’s enough to read a few books or watch video tutorials on the internet, but although these resources can be helpful, they can’t replace real-world experience.
The best way to get acquainted with farm work and develop the skills you need to run a farm business is to gain practical experience. So, you’ll have to get your hands dirty, either by becoming an apprentice on a farm or joining farming courses. Self-sturdy is just as important, but remember you have to complete your theoretical knowledge with practical experience.
Find your niche
The next step is to think about what type of farm you want to run. For this, you have to take into consideration essential aspects such as the geography, climate, and soil in your region. You have to know if the crops that you want to plant are suited for the local environment. If they’re not, you might be able to address certain issues through environmental manipulation, but it would be a lot simpler to choose a crop that is compatible with your environment and soil.
You should also do a bit of research to find out what products are growing in popularity and sell best in your area. This will help you find your niche and decide exactly what type of farm you want to start.
Do market research
Now that you know what crops you want to grow on your farm and you’re aware of their environmental requirements, you also have to think about the people who are going to buy your products, how you’re going to make these products available to your potential customers and how you’re going to face your competition. In other words, you have to familiarize yourself with your market, and for that, you have to conduct market research.
Although this might sound like a complicated endeavour, you can make it a lot smoother by learning about the best practices for market research. Identify the most effective methods and strategies that can help you gain a better understanding of your market and learn what your potential customers want and expect from you.
Write a business plan
You can’t start a farm from scratch without having a business plan in place. A business plan encompasses all the steps you have to take and the resources you require in order to put your business idea into practice, so it serves as a road map to success. It will help you set clear goals for your farm business and keep track of your progress. Apart from that, you’ll also need a business plan if you want to take out a loan to fund your idea. But loan or no loan, you still have to draw up a business plan to get started.
Speaking of funding, you have to figure out how much money you need to invest in your future farm. There are countless expenses to take into account when setting on this path, so you’ll need solid capital to back up your business plan.
If your personal funds are not enough to start your farm business, there’s always the possibility to take out a business loan, as we mentioned above. Another option is to look into government grants. The government provides a variety of grants for individuals looking to start or expand their business, so it’s worth checking if you qualify for government support.
Get the right help
Once you’ve sorted out all these technical and financial aspects, it’s time to think about who’s going to work on the farm. There’s no denying that farm work is very demanding, so you have to find skilled and motivated people who are willing to do the heavy lifting.
If you’ve never been in a management position before, you’ll need to brush up on your leadership skills and be up to date with health and safety regulations in your industry, or the best workplace policies because your employees will look to you for support and guidance in all sorts of circumstances. As a business owner, you might have employees injured on the premises or deal with sexual abuse claims, so you have to know exactly what to do in these situations.
Starting a farm business, when you’ve lived your whole life in the city, can be an extremely challenging process, but with passion and determination, you can make your dream come true.