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Diversification is a key rural issue, in uncertain times, creating a diverse, resilient business is the best thing you can do to ensure long term success, no matter the challenges you face. In this weeks blog, one of our finalists, Appetite Me, takes us through some ideas to diversify your business – hopefully you find some food for thought!

Whether you own a farm and have some empty barns you are looking to convert or a country estate or existing farm shop or food outlet looking to expand, there are many different options and ways you can diversify and create extra revenue. The main factors that play a part into what you can develop is budget, planning permission, feasibility but most importantly your imagination. We thought we would share with you some of the ways you could look at diversifying your business.

 

1. Food Retail Outlet

 

Offering a food based retail outlet filled with local and regional produce can really draw people in and create an exciting and lucrative offering for your target market.

2. Cafe/Restaurant

Encourage visitors to stay longer by creating a cafe/restaurant that offers a delicious, fresh and seasonal prepared on site menu, by offering breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea helps create a constant stream of visitors. And if set up alongside a farm shop you can reduce waste and incorporate the quality produce you use in the farm shop in the menu which will also encourage up-selling of products you stock.

 

3. Pick Your Own

Move with the seasons and create a Pick Your Own patch for visitors to come to. This doesn’t have to be just summer fruit like strawberries but could also continue in the autumn at pumpkin season. Wh not go one step further and grow a variety of different fruit and vegetables that visitors could pay to fill a box of mixed vegetables and/or fruit. With the increase awareness and demand for buying locally grown produce visitors will love the opportunity to pick their own produce for the week.

 

4. Play Barn

Is your target audience families? Or do you have some empty barns that you are not sure what to do with? Creating a play barn is a great was to create revenue and encourage visitors to come and entertain their children, this could be coupled with an food cafe offering so visitors stay longer. Play barns also work as a great extra attraction if your farm is already open to the public as a petting zoo or be a farmer for the day experience and open days.

 

5. Nature Trails

Do you have a lot of land and country walks, why not create nature trails within your grounds to encourage the public to visit. Get children involved by offering activities that children can do such as spot the insects/wildlife, or a treasure hunt, to name some ideas.

6. Maze

Like a play barn mazes can make a create a great attraction to encourage families to visit your destination, which encourages them to stay longer which in turn leads them to spending money on the other offerings you have available to the public.

 

7. Camping/Glamping Site

If you are set in a location with lots to do nearby or in the beautiful countryside why not set up a camp site for visitors, this is a great way to generate revenue with little outlay cost. It also encourages visitors to use the other attractions and offerings your have available, and enables you to gain invaluable knowledge of what your visitors want and need so when you expand you can do so with confidence and direction.

As you can see there are lots of ways you could diverse your land or business that compliment what you already offer and suit your existing target audience, as well as encourage new visitors. The examples suggested above also compliment each other so as you continue to expand you can see there are plenty of options that can create extra exciting attractions for your visitors and in-turn increase footfall and profit.

Appetite Me are finalists in our East region for the Best Rural Professional Services Award. They are specialists in the set up of farm shops and restaurants – they cover anything to complete a rural set up from in-depth feasibility studies, grant applications, design farm shops and restaurants – for both front and back of house. They source the staff, food and drink ranging, merchandising, all the buying, branding, and websites. Once the operation is launched they usually manage the business on behalf of the client ensuring standards and profit are maintained. They also have a buying team dedicated to artisan food and drink.

If you are thinking of diversifying your business why not get in touch with Appetite Me and see what options would best work for your personal business, location and target market. You can find out more about them at their website: www.appetite.me.uk

To see our other finalists in the East, click here. Or, if you’d still like to buy tickets to attend a ceremony, follow this link.

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