Next Generation Newsletter
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We travel round the local groups to hear what they have been up to this year – many of these meetings were the first face-to-face ones for New Entrants since early 2020.
By Kirsten Craig, Aberdeenshire New Entrants group facilitator
The Aberdeenshire group had their first of two meetings on the 23rd of November, where the focus of the meeting was diversification and how this can impact your business. William Willis from Forest Farms – The Organic Dairy and Jane Foad from Boutique Farm Bothies both joined us to speak about their own diversified businesses and how they have achieved their goals.
Jane discussed her own farm business’ cereal and livestock enterprises and the decisions behind diversifying into holiday lets. Marketing was a strong focus for the business, promoting Unique Selling Points (USPs) as well secondary developments from the original holiday lets, such as lambing shed tours. Jane’s take home points from the evening were:
- Don’t be afraid to try something new.
- Look for a Unique Selling Point (USP).
- Don’t compare yourself to businesses with different markets (in their case holiday lets on the West Coast and those on the NC500 route).
- Look into Go Rural as it is a good tool to help starting up a diversification.
William discussed their family farm, the dairy industry and succession decisions made which pushed them towards the original vending machine milk diversification. He went on to discuss opportunities from this and the growth of their business into other dairy products including ice cream and milkshakes. William’s key take home points were:
- Run one business well, don’t run two badly.
- Know your costs – is it possible to make money, what are the margins and risks?
- Business site is key.
- The product is more important than the experience/brand – repeat custom is a must.
A short Q&A followed with good discussion surrounding planning permission, production costs, diversification, capital, and decision making. Anyone considering diversification can find case study videos featuring new entrants who have added value to their produce, useful factsheets, podcasts, and webinar recordings here.
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