If you care about the financial impact of your farm business on your personal and family economy, or will ever need to borrow money, you need a business plan. A business plan will help you cover all aspects of your farm enterprise, from assessing your current assets, to developing a vision, mission and goals, to the specific strategic plan that will get you to these goals. The strategic plan will include marketing, operations, human resources and financial strategies.
You can find a lot of resources online. Here are just a few we recommend:
- Building a Sustainable Business, a guide to developing a business plan for farms and rural businesses, SARE publication developed by the MISA (2010) is available online for free. This publication is used as a reference by many programs, including PFI’s Saving Incentive Program. Everybody who has used this book to build a business plan seems to be satisfied with its logical flow and systems perspective.
- AgPlan’s online Business Plan (free). The Center for Farm Financial Management (Ag-Value Added Business Plan) is used by several training programs, including Annie’s Project.
- Fearless Farm Finances is a one-of-a-kind resource packed with instructions, tips and tools for setting up and managing a farm’s financial system.
- Small Business Association (SBA) is full of resources, including a lot of information and guides to writing a business plan.
- NCAT-ATTRA Beginning Farmer Business Planning, Marketing, and Sheep, Goat & Poultry Resources is a collection of tutorials and tipsheets. It is a 4-part series, by the end of which you should have the skeleton of a business plan.
Contact our Enterprise Development team for information on business planning, as well as contact information for assistance in marketing, feasibility studies and business planning.
SCORE Iowa is a non profit association dedicated to helping start up business (including farm enterprises) through education and mebtorship. Their work is supported by the US Small Business Administration and a large network of volunteers (usually retired business professionals). They provide mentors, free counseling and business tools, as well as workshops (locally and online).
If you cannot find what you are looking for, please contact us.