Developing a Business Plan

A Farm Business Plan is a critical element to starting or improving your business!  Writing one will help you to set goals, plan strategically, and acquire loans.  Furthermore, a good business plan will help you to judge the progress of your business and identify areas for improvement.

The following is a step-by-step guide to creating an effective business plan for beginning farmers. Navigate through the sections provided below for more information on how to go about writing your own business plan.

Steps to Business Planning:

  1. Introduction
  2. Executive Summary
  3. Business Description
  4. Operations
  5. Marketing Plan
  6. Management
  7. Financials
  8. Business Plan Wrap-Up

Sample Business Plan and Financials

View the Sample Business Plan

Download the Sample Financials Spreadsheet

Download the Earnings Spreadsheet Notes

Download the PowerPoint Presentation

 

Additional Resources

There are many resources available on the web, so don't stop here!  Take a look at several guides - some include useful worksheets and templates that may be very helpful.  

Here is an overview of many Farm Business Planning resources: www.beginningfarmers.org/farm-business-planning

We've included some of our favorites right here:

Writing your plan:

http://www.sba.gov/businessplan - Web-based planning software, allows you to update sections as you go and download plan as a PDF at any stage.

https://www.agplan.umn.edu/ - Similar to the above, but designed with farmers in mind - take a look at both programs and decide which is best suited to your needs!

www.score.org/resources/business-plans-financial-statements-template-gallery - "SCORE is a non-profit association dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground..."  In addition to the business planning resources at this link, you may want to explore their mentor and business counseling services.

www.attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/summaries/summary.php?pub=277 - This is a 20 page guide to evaluating a farming enterprise, including helpful worksheets (Note: After clicking this link, choose the "Download PDF" button for a free digital copy).

http://foodshedguide.org/planning/one-page-business-plan - Don't have time to read a 20 page guide?  Take a look here at the "One Page Business Plan" created by the Farm Credit Council.  This is not a substitute for a complete business plan, but can be very helpful to start the process!


Other Business Questions?

If you need assistance, contact a professional!  Here is a list of services providers operating in Rhode Island: http://farmtransfernewengland.net/providers/RI.htm

 

 

These resources were compiled by Joseph Bonelli, University of Connecticut & Jon Jaffe, Farm Credit East.