A number of people are put off from starting a new business or farm diversification project as they haven’t as of yet had that eureka moment.

That new or innovative idea that is surely the next best thing since sliced bread?

However, 90% of the time a new business venture or farm diversification project isn’t a new phenomenon but an idea that will work for that individual or family and the assets and resources they have access to.

See also: Five key steps before diversifying your farm business

While 2019 is predicted to be the year where ‘earth tones’ are the ‘in colour’ to paint your house, and 5G compatible laptops will be released to the world, we take a look at potential growth areas for rural businesses in 2019.

  1. Alternative business models

Traditionally farm diversification has fundamentally focused on adding value to land assets or buildings. However, considering the digital era we are now embracing, gone are the days where we are restricted by tangible assets. There are now far greater opportunities available to be able to expand your businesses offerings by looking at alternative business models.

The key here is to utilise the internet and the power of social media.

See also: A guide to Facebook

For example, if horses are your passion, you may naturally gravitate towards setting up a livery yard or starting riding lessons. These businesses are perfectly sound – they can earn good money and make use of your skills and assets, but they aren’t scalable.

However, could you turn your skills and passion into something more accessible such as online courses or e-books? Once you’ve produced the content there is no limit to how many of these you can sell.

Another type of business model could involve the collaboration with other farmers, landowners or experts whom together you may be able to provide a better offering than if you went it alone. In agriculture, share farming and joint ventures are becoming more popular so why not consider a similar structure when starting a diversification project?

  1. Experiences

We now live in an age where people are on the lookout for ways they can out-do or better their peers, and for many, this comes in the form of new experiences.

It’s currently very much the ‘in-thing’ for young adults to want to actively seek out ‘experiences’ where they can capture that perfect selfie or credible Instagram picture, and this very much opens up a new market to tap into.

From the sedate to the adventurous, experience days or weekends can come in all shapes and sizes:

  • Orienteering
  • Bush craft
  • Alpaca/llama/sheep/goat walking
  • Corporate days
  • Wine tasting and food pairing
  • Living off the land
  • Wreath making and flower arranging
  • Yoga retreats

To top it off, you don’t necessarily have to run these yourself. If you have the facilities but don’t necessarily have the skills to run these types of events there are people out there who will come and run these for you, so don’t feel you have to go it alone.

  1. Health and wellbeing

There is no getting away from the fact that as a nation we are getting bigger, however there is a proportion of the country that are very health conscious and this is something that is not predicted to change anytime soon.

In 2018, the value of the UK health and wellness market was valued at over €26 billion with the upward momentum predicted to continue as people spend money on healthy eating, staying fit, looking after their mental and physical health, weight management and taking part in sporting events.

See also: On-farm specialist Pilates studio open for business

For farmers, landowners and those living within rural areas who are fortunate enough to often have open space they can welcome people onto, the sport and fitness market also provides opportunity.

From outdoor boot camps, fitness on the farm to off-road running and cycling routes and organised events such as The Wolf Run the opportunities are endless and there to explore.

  1. Glamping

We couldn’t write an article looking at growth areas without touching on glamping, could we?

It’s predicted that the glamping industry will be worth £3.2 billion by 2020, however the market is getting very crowded and the message at the moment is to either go high-end or rustic.

High-end where you offer quality linen, running water, hot tubs and luxury interior, and rustic where you go back to basics and encourage people to connect back with nature.

Glamping is an accessible option for farmers looking to diversify, but you have to understand the market you are wanting to target – young couples, weekenders, groups, families – and have a point of difference which means you stand out from the rest.

See also: Glamping and farm diversification with The Business Barn (podcast)

On a final note, if you’re not quite ready to start a new project but think it may be something you want to venture into soon, do some research and have a look around for what the emerging trends may be. Just because it’s not the ‘in-thing’ now, doesn’t mean it won’t be in five to ten years’ time.

We’ve heard on the grapevine that rum may be the next spirit to come into fashion….

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