- Starting and Managing a Business (SBA.gov)
- Start the Right New Business for You
- Choosing Your Enterprise
- Business Plans & Financing
- Forest Landowner's Guide to Evaluating and Choosing a Natural Resource-based Enterprise
- Keys to Successfully Choosing Enterprises That Suit Your Small Farm
- Planning and Developing a Nature Tourism Enterprise
- Evaluating a Rural Enterprise
- Diversified and Value-Added Agriculture
- Nature Tourism Program: Business Planning
- Alternative Enterprise and Agritourism Resource Evaluation Guide
- Entrepreneur's Toolkit (MDA)
- Agritourism Opportunities for North Carolina
- Business Skills
- Business Development Aids
- Market/Business Assessment
- Mississippi Small Business Guide
- Small Business Administration
- Mississippi Small Business Development Centers Workshops
- Mississippi Small Business Development Centers
- MUW Center for Creative Entrepreneurship
- MSU Small Business Development Center
Choosing a Business
Finding the right type of business to start on your land depends on many factors. Some of these considerations are:
- the resources available on your property
- the compatibility of the business with your current land use
- the additional cost of liability insurance
- the sustainability of your natural resources
- you and your family's goals and capabilities
- the accessibility of your land
- the client base
- the existing market conditions
Natural Resource Inventory
Inventorying the resources available on your property include acreage, ponds and lakes, wildlife habitat, wildlife, and more. You must have ample resources to run and manage your business and ensure their sustainability for business longevity. Read the page, "Inventory your land" for more information.
Compatibility With Current Land Use
Your selected business must not be in conflict with your current land use such as farming, forestry, or livestock. Considerations include
- Can you use your land for other purposes in addition to your current uses such as farming, forestry, or livestock grazing?
- Will opening your land to paying customers cause conflicts or compromises with your current land use?
- If so, will that reduce your income from the current land use?
- Do you have enough employees and family members to handle the additional work of a natural resource enterprise?
- Will your new enterprise fill the gap during normal downtimes or will it conflict with existing workloads?
Anyone who allows public use of their lands for recreational use, whether or not a fee is charged for access and/or use of the property, should consider acquiring sufficient liability insurance coverage. Liability insurance companies generally limit the total liability of the insurance company to a specific sum per occurrence, which may be much less than the liability incurred by the insured, but it does reduce the risk of loss. The additional cost of this insurance must be a factor when deciding to start a new enterprise.
When choosing a type of business to start, you need to consider whether or not the resource you are basing the business on is sustainable. A high quality of the experience for the customer must be maintained for years to come in order to have a successful business. If your business negatively impacts the resources on your land, your business may suffer.
Personal and Family Assessment
When choosing a business, you and your family's personalities, experience, interests, and abilities all come in to play.
- Will you and/or members of your family or employees enjoy dealing with people who will be using your land and having access to your natural resources?
- Do your and your family’s long-term objectives
for ownership require adding an alternative
enterprise to your existing operation for increased or more dependable annual income?
- Do you and/or members of your family or existing employees have some practical experience or knowledge about the type of enterprise you are considering?
- Are you and your family or employees willing to keep records and manage the business aspects of the new enterprise?
- Are you and your family willing to take the
risks associated with investing in the management
and operation of a new enterprise?
- Will the enterprise be seasonal or operated year-round?
- Can the existing natural resources be enhanced to meet the needs and demands of the client base for the enterprise, and can they be sustained for future needs?
- Will the enterprise offer consumptive use of
the resources, such as hunting and fishing, or
so-called nonconsumptive uses, such as horse riding, bird watching, or both?
- Will the enterprise offer primarily land-based activities, water-based, or both?
- Will the enterprise be compatible with the other existing operation(s)?
- Can the enterprise be operated with existing resources, or will investments, loans, and additional labor be necessary?
Mississippi State University Publications
Business Considerations for Private Landowners (PDF)
Mississippi State University Extension Service
Mississippi State University Extension Service. The first step to planning a natural resource enterprise is writing up a business plan to determine if the business is realistic. Next, determine what physical, financial and labor recourses are available. Marketing, organizational and financial plans are necessary to determine if the business will succeed.
A Checklist of Considerations for Landowners (PDF)
Mississippi State University Extension Service
This is a list of things to consider before starting a natural resource enterprise. It includes the determining what resources are available, such as land and buildings and wildlife populations, determining if the land’s natural resources can be used for more than one purpose and if a sufficient labor force is available, liability insurance, how long the enterprise will last, the willingness of the family to participate in the enterprise, finding customers, the location of the business and how easy it is to access, and creating a business plan. A worksheet is provided to help evaluate the success of a potential natural resource enterprise.
This publication was prepared in response to requests from local advisors, farmers, and ranchers for a simple guide to the first step in identifying alternative income-producing agricultural enterprises and agritourism opportunities. The requests stipulated that the guide be useful in developing business and marketing plans to help entrepreneurs reduce risk through diversification of farm and ranch enterprises.
Nature-Based Tourism Enterprises: Guidelines for Success (PDF)
This publication takes you through the steps of considering and setting up a nature-based tourism business. These include hiking, backpacking, camping, canoeing, fishing, hunting ,wildlife watching, and much more. Topics covered include planning and development, administration, operations, and marketing. Additional resources are listed at the end.
Nature Tourism: A Guidebook for Evaluating Enterprise Opportunities (PDF)
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension
This 88-page booklet covers getting started in a nature tourism, agritourism, or outdoor recreation business, selecting a business or developing a product, creating a financial plan, and developing a marketing plan. It also provides some worksheets and an appendix which includes a business plan.
Checklist for Starting a Value-Added Agriculture Enterprise (PDF)
NC State University
This checklist covers the areas to consider when researching the possibility of undertaking a value-added agricultural enterprise.
Starting or Diversifying an Agricultural Business (PDF)
Pennsylvania State University
When considering starting a new business, you should consider what you enjoy doing, researching all of the aspects of the business, how to obtain the funding, the time requirements involved, and researching available markets. This publications takes you through the steps you should take when starting or diversifying your business.
Decision Making and Business Planning Resources (PDF)
Natural Resources Conservation Service
A lengthy listing of available resources for decision making and business planning.
Alternative Enterprises and Agritourism Resources (PDF)
Natural Resources Conservation Service
A lengthy listing of available resources discussing alternative enterprises and agritourism businesses and how to start, manage, and operate them. Includes articles entitled "Alternative Enterprises: For Higher Profits, Healthier Lands," "Agritourism Alternative Enterprises, Conservation, Sustainability, and Partnerships for Farms, Ranches and Rural Communities," "Choosing Your Enterprise: A Checklist," "Tips for Staying On Track and Getting Started," and a Small Farm Resource Guide..
Evaluating an enterprise boils down to asking a series of good questions. Among these questions are: Do I
have the resources to do this? Do I really want to do this? Do I have the experience and information to do this? How much profit can I make? How will I market the products? This publication seeks to provide enough information to help you judge whether a new enterprise is right for your operation. Additionally, we provide a resource section of additional information on relevant topics.
This publication discusses what alternative enterprises and agritourism are, tourism trends and projections, income-producing ideas, available resource materials, and tourism ideas for Oklahoma.