Farm SWOT Analysis

If you want a unique insight into your farm business, sit everyone down for a SWOT analysis.  SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Lynn Kime is a senior Extension associate at Penn State University. He says the session should include family members, business partners, employees, and anyone else who can help give a well-rounded picture of the business. Get them all in a room and have someone record everyone’s comments. Each person will have their own thoughts, so one rule is that no comment should be disregarded.

"Once they have all the comments up then start putting them into the boxes between the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. And then once you have those, you start to see that the strengths more times than not combat the weaknesses, and the opportunities combat the threats," says Kime.

This exercise will produce valuable ideas, and shed some light on the possibilities as well as drawbacks.  

"There will be things that come up that they haven’t thought of, and once they have these then they can use those to develop their goals and objectives for the business," he says. "It really tends to open their eyes as to maybe what their goals should be, and how they might achieve those goals."

The SWOT analysis should be reviewed every year. But Kime says the biggest benefit of the exercise is the communication that results between family members and other members of the business team.