Does starting an agri-tourism business seem too complicated? Maybe it’s not your cup of tea to have the public on your property?
Well, it may not be as hard as you think.
I recently attended an agri-tourism workshop and listened to Helen Kennedy from Arlo’s Honey Farm offer tips and methods about how she grew her agri-tourism business over the years. Helen is an unstoppable force, and provides simple, practical advice on what worked for her, and what can work for you.
One of the tips can apply to any industry, and that is adding layers to your business. Kennedy says you can start small by adding on additional products and services as you grow. In her case, honey was a natural first product, after that came honey candles, and then a cookbook that she said was very labour intensive because the recipes all replaced sugar with honey. After that, she developed a skin care line using honey. This unique layer of her business can later be sold as a stand-alone business, a consideration if you’d like to remain on your farm instead of selling the complete business.
Helen did all this, while continuing to offer events, bus and school tours on her property.
Inviting the public onto your property involves lots of planning. You want to be ‘ready’ and show up with a smile when a busload of people arrive in your driveway. If you’re not the smiley type then you can ‘hire a smile’. During her Annual Bee Day event, she has a few smiling students painted like honey bees passing out pamphlets, something too time consuming to do herself.
Helen is a valuable mentor to other farm operators and offered her time, knowledge of trials and tribulations to the participants at the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission Program for Agri-Tourism Operators.
So think about how you might want to expand your products or services whether you are a farm operator or not. And good luck!
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Enjoy the magazine!