In December of 2018, fourteen participants completed the Whole Farm and Ranch Business Planning course in Durango. This workshop series included holistic decision making, financial planning, business planning and marketing. The course was sponsored by the SW Colorado Small Business Center. Cindy Dvergsten, an HMI Certified Educator, was the instructor. Participants worked on their plans to start or grow a variety of agriculture and related enterprises including:
- Startup of ranch stay plus guided outdoor bike packing adventure business.
- Expansion of an existing on-farm restaurant.
- Improve management of small-scale pork enterprise.
- Startup of a small-scale produce enterprise.
- Startup of a hay and beef cattle enterprise.
- Expansion of and existing on-farm retail market place.
- Growth of a small-scale produce and livestock operation.
- Growth of a marketing and distribution cooperative.
- Startup of agritourism activities on a ranch.
- Improve management of a horse-based enterprise on small scale ranch.
Participants will receive follow up support through the SBDC. Some will be preparing formal business plans for financing through the Farm Service Agency and other lenders. One participant plans to enroll in a local business accelerator program. All participants expressed satisfaction with the course and indicated improvement in most areas of decision making, financial and business planning.
Participants responses to the question “What were the most useful things you learned?” included these comments:
“The course has been AWESOME! A completely life altering experience in some ways. It’s a way of thinking and doing things that makes perfect sense to me. It gives me a space to think as I do (outside the box) considering that I’m in a discipline that is very traditional and tied to old ways of thinking – even hostile of new ideas and perspectives.”
“Leave no stone unturned.”
“Construct a marketing plan from the perspective of the customer first.”
“Write down all of my thoughts and plans”
“Every step of the business planning process should reflect my core values.”
“Make to most of what I already have to generate wealth.”
“How to access my capacity.”
“Becoming confident that I can manage my financial needs and have the Holistic Management tools to make my business expansion possible.”
“The simplicity this approach gives to building and monitoring your business”
“Its OK and necessary to reassess you plan often.”
“Templates that allow me to plug and play, keep my focus and stay on track to success.”
“How to build a plan from core values, run every big decision through the tests, put profit first ahead of expenses, take control and direct not just react.”
“Going through the charts together, to see a variety of ways to plan and monitor.”
“Re access, test and make changes to modify plan.”
“A good template for creating a plan.”
“Clarity in my marketing strategy.”
“How to put planned profit into my plan.”
“Different ways to financially consider my enterprise”