ADVISORY COMMENT – Dare to diversify? Top tips from Executive Director, James Del Mar, in the current climate before embarking on rural diversification

rural solutions, rural diversification, farm diversification, estates, land and business, countrysideIf you didn’t see our piece from Executive Director, James Del Mar on rural diversification advice in the Landsman this month, here it is.

We are seeing increasing numbers of farmers and landowners identifying new opportunities and creating new revenue streams to complement their core businesses.

This is welcome news, as some recent research suggests many are also considering the implications of Brexit and doing nothing about it or thinking that there are too many unknowns to be able to do anything.

As rural diversification experts working with estates and landowners all over the country, we are committed to helping rural businesses succeed and thrive. Our advisers see very obvious opportunities and benefits in not just preparing for Brexit but also taking advantage of factors that will contribute significantly to landowners sources of income.

Market conditions demonstrate a number of positive factors; consumers continue to demand frequent leisure breaks in the countryside and are spending more of their disposable income on ‘experiences’ rather than on traditional retail. Additionally, pressure on time and income has supported the trend in ‘staycations’ rather than going abroad, where exchange rates are unhelpful.

Although a terrific opportunity, the consumer is increasingly discerning. It is fundamental to minimise the risk associated with a new business venture by doing your research and preparing prudently from the outset. Such research extends beyond the consumer and into marketing, design, planning, architecture and the whole business model. Our advisers can offer support from concept to completion to ensure you are making the right plans for the future.

Tips before you start

  • Know your strengths and unique attributes.
  • Know the competition.
  • Identify the gaps in the current market.
  • Do it differently and better.
  • Understand your customers, do market research, do mystery shopping.
  • Discover if there planning restrictions on your land?
  • For preferred options, create a detailed profit and loss and cash flow forecast

If your idea holds against these elements, you can agree the design concept and correct strategy for delivery.

Finally,

  • Operate, evolve, reinvest and anticipate inevitable changes in consumer behaviour!
  • And, final piece of key advice: – be led by market demand, not by personal preferences. Do something that you have a passion for or establish an operational team that does.