Many feel that starting a farm is one of the most expensive business undertakings you could make. That’s because land itself is expensive and so is the machinery needed to do the job. However, there are many examples of farmers going into business without almost any funds available early on.
There are things you can do right away to minimize costs and to use as much of the resources you have at your disposal. That’s what it takes to start the farm on the right foot without funding.
The most common way of getting the funds needed to run a farm is to go into debt. That’s something that should be your last resort if it’s in any way possible to be so. The best way to do it is to have the buyers for your produce beforehand and thus to be paid in advance.
Another way to go is to use your assets and personal funds as leverage. That’s a dangerous path to choose because you might need to be liable with your personal funds as well. It also means the company will need to be structured with this purpose in mind.
The harsh truth is that as much as half of all the companies that are founded within a year fail within that year. That’s the case for farms as well. That’s why a smart small farm owner needs to have a plan B set in case they fail within the first year.
It makes things more difficult for the business owner since maintaining both plans will take away money and funding from the other, but that’s a safe and responsible thing to do.
The first step towards making a successful farm business is to know who the target of your work is. Once you know, who the customers will be, it will be much easier to develop the systems needed to put the produce in front of them. For small farms, this mostly means deciding on who will sell your produce or will you sell them directly to the consumers.
It’s rather expensive to try and go big all on your own. Instead, if you put the resources you have towards a specific market, you’ll use them more productively and get a chance to play a dominant role on that market.
The most expensive resource for a small farm is the employees working on it. This is also the most valuable resource you could have since; a company is only as good as the people working for it. However, a small farm usually starts with no resources to hire at all.
It’s possible to work with your own means and to rally on the advice from your community and those found online about some of the issues that will require expertize on your part. If you need to hire just one person, start with an accounting and finances advisor.
One of the biggest mistakes small farmers make is that they don’t advertise. This is especially true if you have little to no money since you think that it’s a big expense you can live without. However, it’s that expense that can put your company forward.
It’s possible to do so with minimal investing by rallying on social media and word of mouth. Both are either free or inexpensive, but the key is to use them with a clear plan in mind and by knowing what you want to accomplish with it.
One of the ways of getting into the business of farming without having a lot of money is to get into the long-term partnerships with businesses and families in your area. That way you produce will be purchased in bulk and in advance and give you more funds to work with.
Have in mind that there are also downsides to forming a long term partnership as well. That will mean you’re depending on the businesses that are beyond your control and that’s sometimes a scary position to be in. It’s important to do the research on these commitments early on.
Starting a farm doesn’t need to be as expensive as you think it is. There are ways to cut back your costs without jeopardizing the quality of your work and without disappointing your customers. However, you’ll need to approach it with a plan and with others on your side to help you out.
A small farm should know its market right away, it should advertise and it should do as much of the work on its own. The first outside advice to look for should be about finances and not farming itself. It’s also useful to have long term partnerships with local businesses.