Strategic Planning Helps Farm Business

The way you structure and manage your business can create a strong foundation for growth and peace of mind.

Business planning (ex: record keeping, time management) often competes with day-to-day farm business operations. While it may not be your first priority, strategic business planning can really benefit your farm over the long run. A written business plan is critical when you talk to lenders about loans, or for discussions with business partners and family members. It gives a solid overview of what the farm is trying to accomplish, including production, operations, marketing, human resources and financial management.

The first step in a business plan is to look at your farm’s current situation and evaluate its status in each strategic area. Next, you need a vision for the future that identifies clear goals.

It’s important to look at a variety of options for each area, before you plan in detail. List all the possible options and research the pros and cons of each. Be sure to involve others who have expertise and/or a stake in the business when writing and reviewing your plan. Forming an advisory group of interested people and experts (ex: trusted suppliers, neighbours, customers, family, lenders) to get feedback on your business plan, is a good idea. You are not obliged to take their suggestions, but you may find some valuable ideas that make for a stronger, healthier,  more profitable farm business.

There resources available to help you identify your strengths and opportunities for advancement. They include the online Gaining Ground Agribusiness Assessment Workbook and the new Transition Planning Guide, which includes material on how to work through building a strategic plan for your farm. These resources are available in hard copy from your local Manitoba Agriculture Office.

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