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Make the First Cut

There are a variety of ways to start to refine the list of farm enterprises you might try. A place to start is to prioritize the list of enterprises that you think might be good to try. One way to make this prioritized list is to use a decision making grid. Click here to receive a blank and sample form(pdf).

To begin using the supplied grid, write down one enterprise idea for your business in each of the column headings. Think about and select the criteria you want to use to evaluate each idea. One suggestion is to use what you have learned from other tutorials at this website that may include (but is not limited to) skills inventory, goals, land resources, building resources and marketing. Try to select criteria that represent a wide variety of interests and resources. For example, make sure the criteria are not only based on land and building resources. Make sure to include criteria from time resources, personal skills, personal goals and marketing goals.

Select a range of numbers (for example 1 to 5) to quantify how close that idea meets the criteria. Typically, the low number (1) would be used for ideas that don’t come close to meeting the criteria and the high number (5) would be used for ideas that meet the criteria very well.

Total the scores for each enterprise and look at the results. The scores only suggest an order in which you might try an enterprise. Further investigation of your choices needs to be done to make sure that enterprise will be a good fit for your business. For example, one enterprise that ranked relatively lower may become a better choice after further research.

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