At the beginning of March, HMI completed our Whole Farm/ Ranch Business Planning Series in Willits, California, with 32 participants involved in the financial, marketing, and business planning courses. Lead instructor for this program was Certified Educator Richard King. As has been the case in previous courses, participants enjoyed the small group work and learning from each other.
Marketing planning included focusing on developing an elevator speech for each farming operation and honing in on the best marketing channels for each operation. Using this information participants had the opportunity to map out their marketing plan for the year and get feedback. This plan looks at both strategy and implementation.
After the marketing plan work, the group turned to business planning and looking at different business plans as well as the key sections of a business plan and how this document must be developed to clearly articulate an operations strategy and tactics for success. Again working in small groups helped participants learn from each other’s operations and determine what they needed to work on when they got home.
Our thanks to the California Farm Grange School for hosting this series and providing a great meeting place as well as all their gracious support and outreach for the series. Thanks also to the Christano Family Fund for their support of this program and for providing scholarships.
Here’s what the participants had to say about key take homes from the courses:
Really enjoyed working through real life examples with the other farmers.
The program got better each session.
|How to work these spreadsheets into my financial plan.
|Creating an effective system of monitoring my weak link.
|Everything is so helpful.
|The framework and how-to of building blocks.
|How to breakdown the complexity of financial planning into digestible parts.
|Clarity on the spreadsheet – leading backwards to revising goal statement and rephrasing test questions.
|Financial planning can be fun!
|The framework/spreadsheet! Love!!
|That you need to revisit the plan every month!
|Framework of financial planning.
|Brainstorming, planning, creative financial sheets, practical/actual.More confident in elevator pitch
|I intend to refine & practice my “elevator speech” to describe the product/service being offered.Good ideas for using webpage to showcase.
|In intend to create promotional materials and change the way I explain what I am doing.
|I intend to take more time to plan and assess doing more market surveys.
|Elevator pitch and simplicity.
|Pricing – margin vs. markup. Great handout!
|You are always marketing! Margin vs. markup.
|I liked the customer questionnaire.
Evaluations showed the following results:
|Increased knowledge in determining viable profitable enterprises
|More confident in getting the profit you need from your farm
|More confident in determining net worth
|Improved ability in projecting income
|Do you intend to complete or modify a financial plan as a result of these sessions
|Do you intend to complete or modify a marketing plan as a result of today’s session?
|How to use your financial plan to profitably price your products/services
|Ability to use your financial plan to determine viable products
|More confident in promoting your farm products
|More confident in implementing important strategic systems and projects on your farm
|More confident in developing a business/strategic plan
|Do you intend to complete or modify a business plan as a result of today’s session?
|Overall satisfaction for course (averaged over last 4 classes)