After nearly 30 years with IBM, I have found that whatever you want to do successfully
you should develop a plan to help ensure success. This is just as true for starting
a business of raising goats as it is for starting a retail business. A plan helps
you develop a vision of what you want your business to be, define how you will build
it and determine if it is working as planned. Without a plan, you make tactical decisions
that may or may not effectively lead you to where you really want to be. It is also
difficult to really understand if you are successful if no objectives were set earlier
to measure against. The plan will include the following phases:
Expected money to invest
Critical Success Factors
Required Actions and Tasks
Measure Results and Refine Plan
Vision of the Goat Business You Want to Develop
You need to seriously think about the type of goat business you want to develop.
This is an essential part of the plan because every action you take should be compared
to if it helped, hindered, or did nothing to help reach the vision. If an action
does not help reach the vision, you should consider why you are doing it. The goat
business can be divided up into four basic categories:
Boer Show Goats
Boer Goats for Breeders moving into Boers
Percentage Boer Goats for Breeder herd improvement
Your vision statement should clearly identify which of these you want to participate
in. It should also identify how you expect to participate in these areas. Are you
going to produce high quality and high prices or medium quality and lower prices;
are you going for volume, quality, etc? What is the timeframe of when you expect
to reach the vision?
Our vision statement for Double J Boer Goat Farm was: "Raise quality fullblood boer
goats to be sold as breeding stock to new and existing breeders. Have a high buyer
satisfaction with doing business with us. Have our vision be a reality at the end
of two years." 1998 was the end of our two year period and we believe we have succeeded
in reaching our vision statement.
Expected Investments in Goat Business
You need to consider the amount of money you expect to invest in the business and
the timeframe. Without this you can have problems with spending more than you expected
or not enough to make the vision come true. Review my article "Total Cost of Raising
Goats" to help identify all of the potential costs. As you decide the amount of money
you are willing to invest, you should consider if the amount will be sufficient to
make the vision come true. If it will not, you should change either the vision or
the amount of investment. As you proceed through the other phases you should continue
to evaluate if the expected investment is sufficient for the plan being developed
and make adjustments as required in either the investment or the plan.
Objectives for Goat Business
Objectives are major things that must occur for your vision to become a reality and
they must be measurable. These will be how you know if you are headed in the right
direction. Our objectives were:
Have 20 fullblood adult boers for breeding by 1999
Have no loses of goats to predators
Have name recognition with potential buyers by 1999
Have high buyer satisfaction with our animals, prices and communication with us
Have some animals that can successfully participate in Boer Shows by 1999
All of these objectives are directly related to the vision we stated and are measurable.
You can also test your objectives against the vision. If we successfully complete
all of our objectives, will we reach our vision? We believe so. If the answer would
have been no, we would have to revisit the objectives to see what was missing and
adjust it. For example, if we did not have #4, buyer satisfaction, we could have
all the animals, not lose them to predators, have buyers know about our farm, but
not purchase them because we were not competitive in pricing.
Issues with reaching our Vision
There will always be issues ahead of you that may not let you reach your vision.
This phase has you anticipate what the major issues could be and plan to overcome
them. Examples of issues may be:
No shelter for animal protection during bad weather
Little or no experience with raising goats
Finding a place to sell animals
No transportation for hauling animals
Later in the Actions phase, you must define actions that will remove these issues
so they are not a factor in your reaching the vision.
Critical Success Factors
This is an important phase. As you think about creating a successful goat business,
you need to identify 3-4 key factors that must be successful for you to be successful
in developing your goat business. There are many things that you will need to do
in developing your goat business but a few are critical. Our critical success factors
Buy some high quality boers to start our business
Sell the majority of our animals from our farm rather than through consignment sales
Reinvest money from goat sells back into growing our herd and not worry about overall
profitability for the first two years
Purchase a trailer with capability of carrying 10-15 animals
Actions and Tasks required
Now you must identify all of the actions/tasks required to make all of this happen.
The actions must be prioritized and dates defined when they will occur.Review the
"Total cost of raising goats" for all of the categories that must be covered by your
Your action plan should cover the following type of questions:
Do you have sufficient fencing to keep your goats in and predators out?
Will you need any cross-fencing to separate some animals?
Will you need some type of guard animal?
Do you have sufficient shelter for your animals during bad weather?
Do you have the ability to pen up sick animals?
How will you transport animals?
How will you pen animals to doctor?
Will you have to supplement grazing with grain/hay?
Where will you purchase your animals?
Where will you sell your animals?
How will you advertise your animals for sale?
How will you track breeding sire if you will be registering animals?
How close will you monitor and participate in birthing?
How will you gain knowledge about medical requirements?
Is the a Vet in your area that is knowledgeable about goats?
What type of maintenance program will you have for goats?
What type of medical supplies will you need and where will you get them?
How will you learn how to administer medicine?
What type of goat manuals and magazines will you get?
What type of record keeping will be required?
Will you join any goat associations?
How will you determine price to pay or set for animals?
After you have developed the list of actions, they should be reviewed against the
vision, objectives, issues, investments, and critical success factors. Below are
some review questions you should ask:
Is each action really required for reaching the vision?
Will these actions allow you to reach all of the defined objectives?
Will these actions remove all of the identified issues?
Will these actions allow you to reach the identified critical success factors?
Can you do these actions for the expected investment?
Continue to refine the plan until you feel comfortable about all of the phases being
The defined objectives need to be reviewed on a regular basis to see if you are on
track. This can be an annual event where you evaluate how you have done with the
objectives and refine your plan for the next 12 months. If you discover that you
have not reached your objectives, you should consider if the plan was not sufficient,
you did not execute the plan correctly, or the objectives were set too high. Then
adjust according to your findings.
I hope that is article will be of some benefit to you. If you have any questions
and need some help with it, feel free to email us. Best of luck with your goat business.