Rural diversification expert and founder of The Business Barn, Hannah Moule, advises farmers who are looking to diversify to carry out in-depth research before embarking on any new projects.
“There is a lot of scope to make money through diversification, but tread carefully,” recommends Ms Moule.
Having officially launched her free-to-access rural business advice platform - The Business Barn - only last week, Hanna Moule wants to encourage aspiring rural entrepreneurs to ‘do their homework’ before deciding to embark on a costly diversification project.
“With subsidies set to fall, ever-more farmers will be on the hunt for new income streams, but the potential risks, as well as the benefits, must be intimately understood before committing to them.”
With 64% of farms in England having diversified away from traditional farming and agriculture according to DEFRA’s latest Farm Business Survey, it is clear this practice is proving popular amongst British farmers.
“This area clearly has huge potential, but your starting point should be to examine your core enterprises to see if you can increase revenue or reduce cost. Only once you’ve done that, should you consider diversifying,” advises Hannah.
“The smart approach is to start small with a venture that doesn’t take a lot of capital or so much of your time that you take your eye off the ball as regards your farming endeavours.”
“Don’t try to reinvent the wheel, either – there’s no better way to lower risk than by looking at others who already do something similar to your proposal.”
“Farmers have always been fantastic at learning from their peers – years ago this meant going on farm walks and attending discussion groups, but now much of this research can be done online. Make the internet your new best friend.”
“There’s lots of fantastic information already on the internet about farming, but rural start-up and small businesses have a very particular set of needs.”
“In property circles, people use the expression ‘location, location, location’. With diversification, the mantra should be ‘research, research, research’. It really is a case of focusing on the three Rs.”
“According to the government, there are 537,000 rural businesses in England, employing 3.5 million people. However, there is currently no central platform for such entrepreneurs so we conceived The Business Barn to satisfy this thirst for information.”
If you want to know more about The Business Barn, you can visit their website here.
Source: The Business Barn