There is a plethora of so called "experts" offering landowners professional and well intentioned advice on how to diversify from farming.
A fair proportion of advisers, however, have a vested interest for you to spend your hard earned cash on an exciting new project. Architects, planning consultants and surveyors relish new build opportunities for the fee income it will generate for them. Likewise pod and lodge designers are desperate for new sites to show off their latest glamping products to holiday let guests. Eco energy equipment and telecoms manufacturers need land to install their kit.
Having attended numerous trade shows and glamping exhibitions during the past 12 months it is easy to get carried away with the enthusiastic sales pitch that often comes with these opportunities. Before you take the plunge and place an order you should set aside time to carry out your own thorough market research. The key starting point in formulating a diversification plan should be the business case underlying the proposition;
- is there sufficient demand for the product/service?
- who is the existing competition?
- how can you set yourself apart from competitors?
- what are the market trends in the sector?
- is the business sustainable in the longer term?
Seek advice from independent sources. Be cheeky and counsel second opinions from individuals with relevant business experience who have actually worked at the "coal face". It is common practice for sellers in any sector to put a gloss on the sales revenue figures. Often forgotten are operating costs hidden in the fine print of their blurb and it is critical that you can identify these to establish the real net profit margin and break-even point for the venture. Once you have had a chance to verify the returns that have been promised you will then be in a much better position to assess the payback on the investment. If the project looks as though it will meet your financial needs you can then decide which supplier to use to implement your plans.
If it sounds too good to be true, proceed with caution.