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Value in Variety: Diversify your Operations

2021-08-10

Think outside the barn

Alexis Seta
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FOR A LOT OF BUSINESSES,

diversifying can be an overwhelming concept. There was a time where producing one product or providing one service—and doing it well—was all one needed to be successful. This is still a great startup strategy, but as a business grows, the demand for diversification becomes inevitable. So to continue maintaining and growing your market share, finding ways to deepen your connection to your consumer while continuing to maintain and grow your market share will be key to your business’s longevity.

Farms are a great example of diversification. Selling food is difficult for small farmers due to the larger corporations that have taken over, the prices people are willing to pay and location. This is why farmers are diversifying to reach more audiences. In recent years, family farms have had to come up with different ways to attract customers, increase income and build brand loyalty. This could mean welcoming consumers onto their farm, adding new experiences, crops, livestock and education.

Farming as a destination for family entertainment

Farms are a great place to explore, learn and support local businesses, but it can also be hard to do this due to cost and proximity to local farms. It is typically easier and cheaper to get food from a grocery store, even if someone is trading convenience and affordability for quality.

When was the last time you visited a farm? What did you do on your visit? Besides picking up fresh produce and meats, there's a chance you went there to pick apples or berries, to see goats at the petting zoo or to wander through the corn maze with your family. If you regularly shop at a farm, you may have signed up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) or farm share program. The point is, when you go to a farm, buying food is rarely the only goal for your visit.

Branch Out

In general, consumers spend seven times as much on entertainment than food. Some ways farmers take advantage of this is to turn their farm into a destination, provide entertainment, promote tourism, use green energy, have alternative livestock to share with consumers, invite schools to learn about farming, etc. Farmers have to make sure their diversification project brings in enough revenue to cover the labor that the project may require.

Some of Drive’s farm clients like Spring Ledge Farm and Sherman Farm have capitalized on this opportunity to be a destination. Spring Ledge Farm has their farmstand, pick your own flowers, flower arrangement design, and more. Once people arrive at the farm to pick flowers, they are likely to also walk through the farmstand and find freshly harvested food to bring home. Sherman Farm has added multiple family-friendly features to their farm including their farm market, an ice cream stand, goats, a corn maze, pick your own flowers, etc. These farms hold events, send enewsletters and upload recipes to their website. Doing this allows them to attract a wider target audience and further build their community.

It is important to pick something that is interesting to you and your target audience and to take the process one step at a time. This can certainly be a fun project for your team to brainstorm and develop new products, services, or events for your business. Who knows, after years of diversification, maybe you’ll get to visit space—just ask Jeff Bezos and crew.