Clarify the values, goals, challenges, and strategies of your new agritourism enterprise by working through a business plan. Business plans are not just used to secure financial support. They are for you, the entrepreneur, to “flesh out” the enterprise you visualize – avoiding costly mistakes before they occur. When making your plan, be objective and as thorough as possible in your gathering of data. Consider using FINPACK, or AgPlan.
Components of a Business Plan for Agritourism
Farm Family Goals: Discuss values and goals with your farm family and write them down. Everyone affected by these goals should participate in setting them. A clear understanding of the family goals allow each individual to help achieve them. From family goals and values stem your enterprise goals, policies, and procedures.
Mission Statement: This is a written declaration of your venture’s core purpose. The mission statement you develop becomes a touchstone, keeping you on track, and serving as a guide as you work toward long term goals & objectives.
Business Overview: Describe the operation type & size, facilities, and location.
Industry Profile: Analyze the agritourism industry in your region and study the competition (similar operations) that may be present in your area.
Market Potential & Marketing Plan: Describe the niche your enterprise fills. Discuss the products & services will you provide; research how to price them properly. Describe your promotion package.
Operation and Management Plan: Include a description of production systems and personnel management & benefits structure. State the skills and responsibilities of the personnel involved in the operation.
Financial Statements: Detail projected production costs and sales. Include cash flow statements, break-even analysis, and how you plan to finance the operation.
Executive Summary: A one page summary of your venture that includes the business description; mission statement; the market & it’s potential; an overview of your management team; and your financial analysis.
Resources for Creating a Business Plan
Operations making major changes may use the premier farm financial planning and analysis software FINPACK. If your farm does not require the degree of detail offered by FINPACK, make use of free on-line Ag oriented business plan creation tools such as AgPlan. Many Cooperative Extensions, such as Virginia Extension and Cornell’s Beginning Farmers Project, have informative web sites covering business plan definitions, examples, & actions to take. Rutgers NJAES Cooperative Extension co-sponsors Annie’s Project – teaching business planning as part of risk management education in a hands-on environment. This course is held at multiple venues and times in NJ.