When you consider your farming operation and where you hope to lead it, what does success look like, both short-term and in the distant future? How do you begin to define and then achieve your vision? A SWOT analysis helps you examine your farming operation strategically, so you can see clearly where you are today, define where you hope to go, and determine what steps you must take to get there.
Where is your farm today?
The SWOT analysis invites you to list your business’ strengths and weaknesses and then to identify the opportunities before it and the threats it faces.
- Strengths: What competitive advantages and internal resources help your farm stand out from other farming operations around you?
- Weaknesses: What gaps and issues could keep you from reaching your farm’s potential?
- Opportunities: What external forces could positively impact your farm and help you reach your objectives?
- Threats: What factors outside your control could negatively impact your business?
How can you improve your farm’s position?
Once you’ve established the current state of your farm by answering the questions above, turn your attention to these:
- What can I do to maximize my farm’s strengths?
- How can I minimize its weaknesses?
- How can I best take advantage of opportunities?
- What can I do to mitigate threats?
What’s your vision?
Next, look into the future and describe where you want your farm to be. What is your long-term vision? Consider questions like these:
- How many acres will you be farming?
- How many employees will you have?
- What crops will you grow?
- How will you diversify into other related activities to bolster revenue and reduce risk?
- What kind of equipment and facilities will you need?
- What insect and disease threats will you face?
- How will public perception and regulations affect how you farm?
- What family members will be involved?
- When will you transition out of the farm business?
How will you achieve it?
With your vision in mind, think through each area of your farming business, including operations, technology, human resources, the office, and financials. What changes will you make in the next year or two to help move you toward your long-term vision? Your answer will help you to choose and prioritize your strategic objectives for the next year. Write your objectives along with a goal statement for each, detailing what is to be done, who is responsible for each task, and a timeline for completion.
How do you define success? The answer will be different for each farm owner. What matters is that you define success for your operation and implement a plan to achieve it. A SWOT analysis will help you reach success—however you define it.
The best list of objectives ever written is worthless if not implemented. At FamilyFarms Group, we assign our members coaches to help them plan the path to their visions, implement detailed action steps, and hold them accountable for carrying them out. Learn more about how we help members reach their goals.