Business strategy setting webinar

This webinar will take you through some of the risks your business may face and how you might mitigate them. It also looks at setting a vision and strategy for your business which can be a good place to start. The downloads can be used to develop your vision and strategy.

Defining and reviewing personal and business goals is essential in planning for the future. Often farmers have an idea of how they want their business to develop but may lack necessary management and planning skills.

In order for desired changes to occur, it is vital that effective plans are prepared to put the new ideas into place and that some sort of timetable is set, with regular reviews to allow for unforeseen problems and necessary adjustments.

Our webinar that will take you through some of the risks our businesses face and how we might mitigate them along with looking at your business in terms of setting a vision and strategy can be a good place to start the process. Click below to view the interactive webinar.

It may be necessary when developing a business that external skills are needed to help with the changes that may need to be made.

If so, consideration should be made about employing a consultant or looking for free business advice in areas where these skills are lacking. 

What is SWOT analysis?

One well-used means of measuring a business's current status is a SWOT analysis.

This involves looking at the business in terms of its:

  • Strengths - how to capitalise on them
  • Weaknesses - how to minimise them
  • Opportunities - how to make the most of them
  • Threats - how to reduce the impact

A SWOT analysis can provide a clear basis for examining the performance and prospects of the business by assessing its resources and limitations. It can also be used as part of a regular review process or in preparation for raising finance or bringing-in consultants.

By assessing business and personal aims on a whole farm basis, it can highlight performance levels in several areas:

Physical performance — How well a business performs in terms of production or other measures. The relative importance of which will vary from farmer to farmer.

Financial performance — How stable, viable and profitable a business is; its income, gross margins and cash flow, and how it compares with similar businesses.

Products and marketing — Whether a farmer is happy to sell in bulk or to consider further processing and marketing to improve profitability and control of the product, or to move into different markets, improve pedigrees and quality of livestock, try new agricultural enterprises or to diversify completely.

Operational issues — Assessing issues such as herd size, the farm premises, the systems used; methods, machinery and technology.

People management — Measuring reliance on unpaid family labour, recruiting staff, the skills currently found on the farm as well as those required; any training and development needs, and the importance of keeping staff happy and motivated.

Personal, lifestyle and family issues — Perhaps the most important issue, assessing an individual farmer's work/life balance and that of the spouse or partner, and also defining family commitments. Also important are succession issues; the value of personal, community and business 'prestige', and the relative importance of environmental issues to an individual farmer.

How SWOT analysis can help

The results of the SWOT analysis may help to identify the options and changes that can be made to improve the viability of the farm, or prepare the business for future changes such as planning for a son or daughter to enter the business.

The SWOT analysis, in conjunction with partial budgeting, projected gross margin calculations and cash flow forecasting, may also be useful in evaluating the potential of any new or diversified enterprises or the purchase of new machinery and equipment, or to evaluate the impact of a significant change to the business, such as an increase in herd size, the acquisition of more land, the formation of a share farming agreement or a partnership; or employing contractors instead of owning and using machinery.