Session 5: Marketing and Business Planning
Our 5 Holistic Management Certified Educator Trainees reached the peak of their expression at this final session of the 2013-14 class. Each took a large section of the curriculum to teach. Implementing their training in preparing, estimating their time requirement, creating personal examples and supportive presentations, each did a fantastic job at getting the class excited and engaged in their topics.
As usual, we began the session with an opening circle wherein each said a short statement of how this class has impacted their lives, then we touched hands in silence as we walked around the circle. The impact statements were so profound that the class decided to write them down for HMI to send tothe USDA, our grantor, in support of this program.
Holistic Management Certified Educator, Peggy Sechrist introduced the topic of this session and turned over the floor to trainee Kathy Harris for her presentation about how to connect our Marketing and Financial plan to our Holistic Goal. She used the example of her farm enterprise selling eggs wholesale and how clarity about the Holistic Goal and looking at the financial weak link (marketing) prompted the move to direct selling in a niche market. Kathy used her laptop as a flip chart, recording the class input to show on the big screen. This was especially effective in getting the class the list of products we produce and how we sell them, since she just included the new document in her presentation and posted it as PDF. Kathy’s exercise for the group was working with parts of the marketing plan template. Her presentation was well done and well received.
Tracy was up next with the importance of market research, which also generated quite a bit of discussion. Lauren Bradbury presented on marketing channels. She had great photos and had obviously researched the topic well. The discussion was lively.
After lunch we headed outside for a tour of the ranch with focus on how management works to improve the water cycle.
Lauri Celella taught the segment on how to assess consumer trends and target markets. Again the ideas were flying. Everyone expressed amazement at how much brainpower was in the room.
We had a special graduation dinner that evening and each of the graduating students received a certificate to the applause of her fellow students. As the mood got into the “awwww, we don’t want it to end” realm, the coordinator reminded them the mentoring continues until August and the management clubs are forever. So we broke into management clubs by area – one each for north Texas, south Texas and central Texas. The rest of the evening was spent visiting with their club members to plan the structure and the schedule of farm visits.
The next day was business planning. Katherine Napper presented an excellent program, complete with personal examples, on the whys and hows of a business plan, with a focus on how to pull parts of the already completed financial, land and marketing plans into the new business plan. Time was devoted to working on this plan and any other incomplete plans from the program.
Closing circle was especially poignant as the silent touching of hands turned into a hug-fest, wrapping it up until the inevitable reunion events to come.