Every cloud really does have a silver lining.
At least, that’s how Brian Wattier sees it. When he lost his job in advertising and sales last year, he saw the opportunity to do what he’d always dreamed of—own a ranch in Colorado.
He took his family on a trip, and when they came to Pagosa Springs, they knew they’d found their new home. They sold their house in California, packed up, and moved.
Since they’d never owned a business or farm before, they knew they’d need assistance. Brian reached out to the SBDC and was connected with Richard Lindblad.
“We hit it off great,” Brian said, “He’s a super nice guy, and I can’t say enough about him. With his help, I established three-year cash flow goals and created a robust business plan.”
As they worked together, Brian looked at several different business ventures, knowing the business plan would change based on the type of land he purchased. “Richard helped me diversify and be agile while still working on the business strategy to present to the bank,” he said.
When property came available, Richard helped Brian home in on his cash flow document and presentation. He provided Brian with connections to First Southwest Bank, where he was able to acquire funding to purchase the property and get agricultural equipment.
Brian and his family now have 42 acres of pastures, beautiful views, and irrigation, and they are preparing to launch 8-4 Ranch, LLC.
Brian plans to raise pastured pork, chickens, dairy cows, and honeybees. He also plans to create a no-till market garden and build a butcher shop, so he can sell raw milk, cheese, honey, fruits, vegetables, and charcuterie meats. The property has a small cabin that he plans to rent out, so others can get hands-on experience with regenerative farming practices.
Brian is grateful for all the help that Richard and the SBDC provided along the way. “Richard has been more than a consultant—he’s been a mentor and even a friend. He went above and beyond, tying the pieces together to make it all happen.” For anyone who’s dreamed of starting a business or farm, Brian offers this insight: “If you want to go for a dream, sometimes it takes risking everything you have. But, you have to have a strategic plan to get there. This is a family dream and we risked everything, but we have a plan to make it successful.”