Stage 4: Analysis and choice
During the fourth stage of the journey to farming success, the farmer/ management team will do a complete analysis of the SSWFOT.
They select those aspects that will steer the farming business on the road to farming success (the identified vision).
The identification of a competitive advantage is crucial during this stage as it will become the focal point of the farmer/management team which will guide them to their vision: SUCCESS.
The two previous stages gave management a good opportunity to scout, investigate and analyse the external environment on the lookout for possible opportunities and threats to the farming business, and scrutinise the internal environment for all the strengths and weaknesses in the farming business; thus, all the information needed to make a success of the rest of the journey.
The main purpose of this stage of the journey to farming success is to identify the most important opportunities for, and strengths of the farming business that will contribute the most to achieving the vision of the farming business. The most important threats to, and weaknesses of the farming business, which will impede the correct positioning of the farming business and the achievement of the vision, are also identified at this stage. Management must plan how to extend and maintain the most important strengths of the farming business and how to convert the most significant weaknesses into strengths, if possible. Creativity and innovation will be necessary at this stage to optimise the returns of the farming business.
A further important purpose of this stage of the journey is to determine where management will obtain competitive advantages. At this stage it is also important to change the paradigm of thinking (see also Stage 8), for example what does a farmer say when he/she gets up in the morning? Does he say, “I am a maize grower”, or does he say, “I am a food producer”. The way of thinking or attitude towards the farming business can support management in the process of identifying new ways to create or improve competitive advantage.