Rural Asset Management Plans
What is a Rural Asset Management Plan?
A Rural Asset Management Plan helps rural business owners to plan for the future holistically, strategically and in sympathy with the local and national environment. The CLA designed the concept in response to requests at the CLA’s 2018 Rural Business Conference for a tool to help businesses recognise their full potential, whether through diversification, expansion or another method. Based loosely on a ‘Whole Estate Plan’, but suitable for all CLA members, a Rural Asset Management Plan reviews and analyses all the economic, environmental and social assets of a business together to make plans for the future.
The CLA has produced three documents – ‘A CLA Guide to Writing a Rural Asset Management Plan’, ‘A CLA Guide to Asset Auditing’, and an ‘Explore your Options’ document - to help you to write a Rural Asset Management Plan.
Why should I make a Rural Asset Management Plan?
The process of writing a Rural Asset Management Plan carries several benefits and is a time-saving exercise. It is beneficial because:
1. While completely voluntary, the Plan can be a useful supporting document when making applications for, for example planning permission or environmental schemes, etc.
2. A Rural Asset Management plan will be a useful tool when making other important documents, such as a business plan, a natural capital audit, or succession planning.
3. By listing and analysing environmental, social and financial aspects of the business simultaneously, business owners will be encouraged to take a step back and assess their business in a strategic and integrated manner
4. It will prompt business owners to consider how the business may diversify or expand to realise its potential. The CLA’s forthcoming Explore your Options document might lead business owners to consider actions that they would not otherwise be aware of
5. A Rural Asset Management Plan will sum up the essential information about your business and the benefits it is providing, so will be useful in facilitating co-operation with other local businesses and the local community.
How do I write a Rural Asset Management Plan?
A Rural Asset Management Plan has four sections; a vision, an asset audit, an analysis of strengths and weaknesses, and details of plans for the future. Each section of the Plan informs the next, so it needs to be worked through in order. The asset audit, for example, will inform your analysis, while your analysis and your vision will lead your thinking about your plans for the future.
Please be aware of your audience if you should choose to publish your plan. You may wish to remove sections from the plan that are personal, confidential or would compromise your business if widely known.
What tools have the CLA published?
The CLA has produced an overall guide, which goes through each section of the Plan and explains in detail what to include. We have also provided prompting questions, examples, and things to consider.
To support this guidance, the CLA has also published ‘A CLA Guide to Asset Auditing’, which includes a template for an asset audit of a rural business. If you download and save this to your computer, you can fill it in with the details of your business.
The CLA will shortly publish on this webpage an ‘Explore your Options’ document, which will give several examples of possible action plans and detail a range of options for rural businesses.