Diversifying farming businesses

Planning for farm diversification

Careful planning is essential to diversifying a traditional farm successfully. Write down your ideas and build your plan gradually. It will take time to develop your plan and it may need to be revised a number of times before you are satisfied with it. You will also find it useful to keep a list of all of the things you will need to do to get your business started. Download a copy of the My New Business checklist (PDF, 142K).

The key steps involved in farm diversification are:

  • Identifying an idea that will work for you. You will need to research your local market and ensure that your idea is viable. Invest Northern Ireland's Business Information Centre can provide market information on your potential idea. Contact the Business Information Centre for details of the services they offer Tel 028 9069 8135.
  • Shaping a suitable business plan. Planning is essential to your success and will be critical to obtaining financial support. See prepare a business plan.
  • Working out how much is required to finance the idea and how to ensure it is secured. See choose the right finance when starting up.
  • Working out what is involved in producing and delivering the new product or service from your rural enterprise.
  • Working out how you will market and sell your product/service. See create your marketing strategy.
  • Ensuring you meet any legal requirements.
  • Get training to build up your understanding of what is involved in running your own rural business.

There are a number of practical things you can do. It is worth spending time talking through your idea with friends and family and also with your local business adviser, your accountant and your local Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) rural adviser.

Getting all of the feedback you can will help shape your idea and test how feasible your initial thoughts are.