Agricultural operations face many of the same challenges that other types of business do—and they encounter some unique obstacles and opportunities, as well. In August of 2017, USDA and SCORE joined forces to help new farming and ranching operations navigate the challenges of launching and growing their businesses. We’re excited about sharing in the mission to help entrepreneurs in the agriculture industry thrive. By providing mentoring and sharing information like what’s to follow in this article, we hope to provide you with a firm foundation upon which to build your business.
Because knowing where to begin is often one of the biggest stumbling blocks for aspiring agricultural operation owners, let’s step through the three mission-critical to-dos you’ll need to tackle to move your business forward.
First things First: Learn About What’s Ahead of You
Critical to launching a successful farming business is to learn what will be involved. From accessing land and funding to fulfilling tax obligations to environmental and safety regulations and other requirements, you must gain an understanding of all the responsibilities that come with running an agricultural business. The USDA website offers some helpful insight and educational resources to help you understand what you need to consider. Also, try to connect with others who have started a similar type of business and are willing to share some of the perks and pitfalls they experienced in their entrepreneurial journey.
Get Your Ducks in a Row
By writing a business plan for your business, you will have a roadmap to follow as you tackle the many startup tasks ahead of you. Your business plan should address all the essential aspects of starting and running your company. It might include the following sections and others:
●Executive summary (1-2-page summary of your entire business plan)
●Business description (including goals, objectives and key success factors)
●Products (description of what your business will sell and how it’s different from those of your competitors)
●Sales and marketing analysis (overview of the market you’ll be competing in, sales and marketing strategies you’ll use to promote your products, how you’ll differentiate yourself in the market, etc.)