Farming can be a difficult vocation. It is, however, one of the oldest and most important businesses and one that is sure to continue to be as important for years to come. It is also, however, an extremely difficult business to run with a lot of unpredictable influences.
It’s necessary, therefore, if you are going into this sector, that you get advice from those that have done it successfully.
Read on to hear tips from farmers and find out what you need to learn before you get started.
Find a mentor
Buying a farm can be a daunting undertaking. This job is more of a lifestyle than any other career. There will be a lot you need to learn as you are starting out and having a mentor that you can go to for advice is a great way to get the support you need.
Have a business plan
Treat this venture as you would any other business. Start off with a detailed business plan. Make sure that you keep referring back to this and making adjustments as you get your business going.
A business plan will give you direction and keep you on course! This plan will also, of course, play a major role in securing finance for your new business.
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Once you have a business plan, you will also be able to see where it is that your skills are lacking. You should research, go on courses or ask experts in order to fill your knowledge gaps. And it will give banks the opportunity to see that giving you a loan is a sound investment.
Keep your books in order
Although, when running a farm, you will usually be working where you live and you will be out in the fields most of the time, you have to keep your financials in order. If you want to keep your farm profitable, you need to focus on keeping records and having your books in up to date.
This will include keeping your personal and farm financials separate so that you can see the track record of the business and make clear and helpful decisions. The more detailed and meticulous your accounting and spending records, the better you can run your farm as a profitable business.
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Tracking your costs in as detailed a manner as possible will help you to keep your farm turning a profit, let you know where you can spend money and see what parts of your farm aren’t working.
Farming is reliant on the weather. There are a lot of technologies that you can use to help you farm more efficiently and with less labour but, at the end of the day, the weather will still dictate much of your business.
The best way to avoid being caught by surprise is to keep detailed data on your farm and the weather. You need to understand the trends so that you can prepare for things like droughts. The more information that you have, the better prepared you can be.
If you are just starting out, perfect your skills on a smaller scale before slowly increasing your operations. This will also give you time to identify new markets that you can supply, allow you to increase your available equipment and, thanks to your record-keeping, be equipped for downtimes.
Meet other farmers
Getting to know other farmers and creating a support network is an important step in running a successful farm. You need to spend time with these farmers and build trust with them. In the beginning, you will be learning from them but later you will be sharing advice with each other.
Once you’re sure of the type of farm your looking to run you can then begin implementing these strategies and build your own successful farm.
By Bruce Hakutizwi, Director of North America for BusinessesForSale.com, the world’s largest online marketplace for buying and selling small and medium size businesses.