Peter Wiggins-Davies - The Evaluation and Implementation of Effective Growth on a Rural Estate.
I have three passions in my life: family, friends and Revesby Estate. Ever since I can remember, I have often been lucky enough to enjoy all of three at once!
Even though I have been involved in the estate from a very early age, I only joined my father in its management after I completed my degree from Harper Adams University in 2005. Since then we have restructured and diversified the business. We now have six key departments, five of which have dedicated managers.
The last industry course I completed was the Worshipful Company of Farmers Advanced business management course. I found the course to be particularly rewarding and it put me on this Nuffield path. I am a Liveryman with the Worshipful Company of Farmers, which I have found to be both useful and greatly enjoyable.
I am proud of our industry and have a passion for the continuance of the estate, which is both my work and my life. I am fortunate to have the support of my wife and daughter, without which my role would not be possible.
I would like to thank again my very generous sponsors for giving me such a special opportunity.
Rural estates are complex businesses to manage. Often they are made up of three key elements: the economic, the community and protection of historic assets. Having grown up on my family estate, I have a passion for all three areas. However, without the economic element, the other two cannot exist.
A phrase that gets used often within our industry is “not to grow is to stand still, which means go backwards”. The underlying objective of many rural estates, and family-owned farming businesses, is to pass on their assets in a stronger position to the next generation. Inevitably, for this objective to happen the business must grow.
Trend data clearly shows significant growth within this sector over the last 50 years. The possibilities for growth vary greatly. Growth can come from current sectors, such as increasing land size, or from diversification into new sectors, such as energy production.
Through changes in economics, culture and government support, these diversified routes are playing an increasingly more significant economic role, bringing many new opportunities to the sector. However, these opportunities are not without risk, especially as they often require a large capital outlay and the development of new skills.
This report aims to understand how successful businesses are evaluating and implementing growth. At this starting point of the project, I aim to base my research around five key questions:
1) How do you evaluate whether or not you are able to grow?
2) How do you evaluate if the time is right to grow?
3) Through what channels are you discovering opportunities for potential growth?
4) What mechanisms are you using when evaluating your potential growth projects?
5) Once you have adopted a growth project, what tools and techniques have you found to be the most effective in turning strategy into reality?