From six lambs to a full farm! How I built my flock and my savings as a first-generation farmer.

At 25, most working farmers will have inherited the family business along with the land, livestock and huge responsibility that comes with running a farm. Not Matt Launder. Without any prior experience or family connection, Matt has managed to start his own farm from scratch after being given six lambs when he was just 13.

I’ve built my business up from scratch - it was just land when I took it on

Matt started by breeding sheep and selling cuts of lamb to his school teachers, allowing him to invest in more animals to increase his flock. Now the proud owner of his own land, Matt can clearly recall when a bank refused him a loan for being too young! Eventually, he managed to get a bank loan of £70,000 which, together with savings and a large overdraft, allowed him to buy stock and equipment.

Matt would advise his younger self about the importance of budgeting and saving earlier in life. He understands now that the lifeblood of his business is its cash flow, and he's reaping the rewards that he sowed!

Want to start a business from scratch, like Matt?

Farming is notoriously difficult and building up a successful farm can require a big up-front investment in stock. Similarly, many start-up businesses need a substantial financial commitment to get them off the ground.

Here’s how Matt made the leap from having a dream to being a responsible farm owner:

  • Getting proper financial advice to be able to make cash forecasts.
  • Planning for unpredictability. Matt doesn’t know how much his lambs will eventually sell for when he buys and breeds them. He doesn’t know if he will break even, make a profit or a loss, so savings are essential!
  • Never borrowing more than he could afford to pay back. Cash is king: Maintaining cash flow is essential for a business. - Exploring other avenues of income and passive revenue streams, like game-rearing.
  • Embracing his mistakes and learning from them!
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