In February, HMI completed our Whole Farm/ Ranch Business Planning Series, offering the financial, marketing, and business planning courses during that month. Lead instructor for this program was Certified Educator Rob Rutherford. As has been the case in previous courses, participants enjoyed the small group work and learning from each other. There was a nice mix of people, some of whom are working together on small farms, as well as many who had their own enterprises.
During the financial planning, some of the class had their own numbers to work with, while others who were anticipating starting some enterprises had to rely on working with others or playing with the provided examples in the workbook for their practice of the materials. As with most groups, the brainstorming was a big hit! While some folks struggled with using the HMI Financial Planning software, as one participant remarked, “The value of that software is worth the price of the series alone!”
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 others’ operations and determine what they needed to work on when they got home.
The group plans to connect with each through a Facebook page they will start now that the series is over.
Our thanks to the Jackson Soil and Water Conservation District for hosting this series and providing a great meeting place as well as all their gracious support and outreach for the series.
Here’s what the participants had to say about the courses:
I intend to update my website and develop better strategy.
I intend to Do more homework and look at repricing.
I will explore added-value & local marketing.
I liked looking at the pros & cons of various marketing methods.
Examining example of successful marketing helped me see how I might approach it.
I learned how to write a business plan for a bank.
I learned about setting up a good booth and knowing our market really well.
I have a better understanding of marketing.
How to use our local resources to develop a group of products.
Making time to plug in the #s is going to pay off in the long run.
I intend to develop better planning & monitoring practice.
I will be looking at investments & planning for profit.
I intend to have better record keeping.
I learned resources for assistance in making business plan.
I learned that I have a lot of work yet to do!
I learned the need for a good executive summary.
I have a better understanding on how to create a business plan.
This course was just amazing!
There are plenty of ways to put a plan together – any plan is better than no plan!
Importance of business plan to have when presenting to financial institutions.
Evaluations showed the following results:
|More confident in determining viable profitable enterprises||97%|
|More confident in getting the profit you need from your farm||80%|
|More confident in determining net worth||80%|
|Improved ability in getting the profit you need from your farm||87%|
|Prioritizing and cutting farm expenses to guide reinvestment in your farm||97%|
|How to use your financial plan to profitably price your products/services||86%|
|Understanding your competition||73%|
|How your marketing outreach reflects your whole farm goal||86%|
|More confident in developing a marketing plan that meets your farm needs and goals||91%|
|More confident in promoting your farm products||82%|
|More confident in implementing important strategic systems and projects on your farm||83%|
|More confident in developing a business/strategic plan||96%|
|Do you intend to complete or modify a marketing plan as a result of today’s session?||91%|
|Do you intend to complete or modify a business plan as a result of today’s session?||96%|
|Overall satisfaction for course||96%|