Making More from Sheep Australian Wool Innovation Limited Meat & Livestock Australia
MODULE 1: Plan for Success
Procedure 1.1
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There are four key steps in creating your business plan:

Bullet ptAnalyse your current situation. Identify how your business is currently operating and consider the key profit, social and environmental issues and drivers.

Bullet ptSet the goals. Building from your current situation, decide where you want the business to go and what objectives need to be set. Begin to identify any trade-offs and clarify priorities. Any objectives that are set need to be as explicit, measurable and time-specific as possible.

Bullet ptImplementation. What are the stepping stones towards the goal? What are the tasks? Who is responsible for each, and over what time-frame? Implementation must be feasible with the skills and resources that are either currently available or that can be realistically obtained.

Bullet ptMonitor progress. Identify any critical milestones. How will you know if things go wrong? Is progress as expected? What actions will be taken if things do not progress according to the plan?

This procedure focuses on setting the business objectives because success in an enterprise is the result of meeting these objectives. The business objectives must consider the personal, social, environmental, and financial components of the business and will be unique to your business.

At a Glance
pt Plan, and then annually review, business objectives to check they are still appropriate and achievable — for this, some level of documentation is needed

pt The objectives must consider the personal, social, environmental, and financial components of the business

Key decisions, critical actions and benchmarks

Formal business planning can be a challenging proposition for many sheep producers. To assist, a ‘starter’ tool is included –  a SWOT analysis (tool 1.1), the objective setting (tool 1.2) and ‘How to Prepare a Business Plan’ (tool 1.3).

Many sheep producers find that engaging professional or outside assistance is the best way to start developing formal business plans and provides a good return on the investment.

Documenting business objectives

The extent to which objectives and plans are documented is a personal and business choice. However, best practice is to write down these plans and objectives because there are some significant advantages:

  • Writing down plans and objectives gives the process more rigour, forces a deeper level of thinking and clarity and can impose a discipline that might otherwise be lacking.
  • While the business owner(s) may have the final say, inputs from family members, staff, suppliers and advisors can be sought more easily and incorporated if the plans are written and, therefore, easily shared. Documented objectives are evidence of agreement at a point in time.
  • Accountability, including tracking progress towards the objectives, is more straightforward when the objectives have been recorded.
  • Objectives need to address the short term (this year), medium term (next 3 years) and long term (next 10 years) and this is difficult to clarify without a written plan.
  • Determining and balancing priorities, including conflicting objectives, is easier when the objectives are documented.
  • A more formal process is helpful if objectives need to be set and decisions made in an area where you do not have extensive experience.

Planning doesn’t have to be all hard work. Tool 1.4 outlines a simple process to let everyone with a stake in the business get involved in the planning process. Tool 1.5 is a fun technique for everyone who is old enough to hold a camera (or to instruct someone to hold it for them) to have their say in shaping the farm’s future.

Signposts Signposts


How to write a business Plan  on the National Australia Bank website and download the template:

Business planning templates and tools: The Australian government website has several resources, templates and checklists for business planning.

Tool 1.3: How to prepare a business plan

AgGuide - How to write business plan and review farm performance: visit:

A Guide to Succession – sustaining families and farms: includes case studies and covers ‘front-end’ options when people are entering a business, either through invitation or marriage, and ‘back-end’ options when they are leaving. Download a copy at the following link: , or order a hard copy by calling 02 6166 4500.

Effects of drought and climate variability on Australian Farms: visit:


Business management program: Rabobank runs a Farm Managers Program designed to grow business skills, strengthen networks and take your business to the next level. For further information visit: 

The MLA EDGEnetwork® program is coordinated nationally and has a range of workshops to assist sheep producers.
Contact can be made via:

Include your family in your business planning