7 Winter Farm Marketing Tips

7 Winter Farm Marketing Tips


In this episode, you’ll learn…

  • Why you should use winter downtime to further your farm marketing education.
  • Why now is the time to plan on building your email list, and the four steps of list-building.
  • How to plan a blog or content marketing calendar for the coming year.
  • Why and how to set-up your email marketing for the next year (and learn how to leet sequences and auto-responders do your farm marketing for you).
  • Why it’s critical that you take a fresh look at the copywriting on your farm website.
  • How to schedule farm events now for the entire year.
  • Why now’s the best time to get customer testimonials and how to promote them.
  • Of course, you can get a head start on all this by joining the Small Farm Nation Academy whenever you’re ready.
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Hey there, thanks for joining me again this week.

So it’s marketing week here on the Small Farm Nation podcast. And it’s also December so we’re winding down the farm season and, for most of us, beginning our winter recess. While that means we have fewer chores to do, we still have farm chores, right? Frozen water troughs, hay that’s frozen farm wintergotta be dished out, pigs still need to be fed and so on.

But the chore load is definitely reduced this time of year, and that’s a good thing. Because we need to rejuvenate, celebrate the season and recharge our batteries. No doubt about it. So what can we do on these frigid winter days to drive our farm businesses forward? I suspect many of you are looking at seed and hatchery catalogs, or even working on planting calendars.

jp2mjrdp But we also need to take advantage of this time to focus on one of the most strategically important areas of our business—of any business. And that is marketing.

Now marketing, of course, is not a seasonal or one-time thing. It’s a continual process…a thousand little things. Sure, marketing campaigns can be one-time or seasonal things. But marketing itself is ongoing.

Now, I’d like to think that you’re focused on marketing every week of the year. But I know better. I know that once spring gets here you’re overrun with baby chicks, baby pigs, baby sheep—baby everything.  And the grass starts growing, you’re running fence lines, cutting hay, processing animals, making pickups and deliveries. There just ain’t enough hours in the day.

For most of you, marketing is what suffers. It’s what gets put aside until later—and later often doesn’t come.

But now that winter’s here you have an opportunity to focus on marketing and plan your marketing for the coming year. Having said that, let me give you seven action items you can do right now to help you grow your customer base this coming year.

Winter task number one is to take an online marketing course. Now, full disclosure, this is obviously a biased suggestion because I operate the Small Farm Nation Academy. But, c’mon, you should absolutely join the Academy right now.

The Academy has hundreds of videos and audio lessons on everything you need to know to market your farm business. How to build your brand, how to grow your email list, how to set-up and manage your website, how to write more engaging copy for your site and emails, how to master search engine optimization and so much more.

And there are tons of other resources that will help you. Downloadable templates, images, worksheets, and let’s not forget a community forum of other farmers trying to grow their businesses as well.

And you get one-on-one coaching from me, free, anytime you’d like it.

So tip number one is to invest in your education and become a marketing ninja. You’ve read all the books on farming, probably taken tours and courses. Now it’s time to do the same thing with farm marketing.

And the place to do that is Small Farm Nation Academy
farm marketing course

Winter task number two is to is to optimize your list building efforts.

You’ve heard it many times, but an email list is your most important communication asset. It’s the best way for you to control getting a message directly to your customers. But most farm websites do an awful job of list building. But it’s not rocket science. List building comes down to four simple steps.

The first step of list building is to have a place to capture emails. Of course, that means being on your website. Do you have one? An opt-in form?

If you don’t, that’s a problem. So create one, right away.

But even if you do, does it stand out? Does it have great contrast with the rest of the page? Is it located above the fold and also at the top of the sidebar, if you have one, and at the bottom of blog posts? That’s important, because the three rules of list building are to ask for the email, ask again and then to ask again. Keep asking. So make sure that opt-in box is visible on your website.

But not just on your website. Make sure there’s a “sign-up” button on your Facebook page so people are driven to the opt-in form that way.

The second step of list building is to drive traffic to that place. You have two choices when it comes to driving traffic. Earn it through search engine optimization and organic traffic. Or buy it with advertising, such as with Facebook ads.

But, if you buy ads, you don’t just want to drive traffic to your site. Instead, you want to drive people to a landing page where you have an offer and nothing else. No other content to distract them. Just your offer.

That takes us to the next step.

The third step of list building is to give people a great reason to sign-up. This could be a coupon for something free or a discount on their first order. Or it could be a lead magnet. If you don’t have a lead magnet, I gave over 30 ideas for lead magnets in the list building course in the Small Farm Nation Academy, and I’m available there one-to-one to help you if you want.

But you have to give the visitor a compelling reason to sign up. Don’t make it easy for people to leave your site without subscribing to your email list!

The fourth and final step of list building is to give people a way and a reason to share.

Of course, successful list building is much more detailed than that and requires tools and know how. I cover all this in an advanced 11-video course on list building in the Small Farm Nation Academy.

But what you can do now, this winter, is to review how you’re doing with those four steps.

winter chicken tractorsWinter task number three is to plan your blog post calendar for the year. You do have a blog, right? If not, plan a content calendar for the year. If you’re not sure what to blog about or why you should be creating content, check out my full-length course on content marketing in the Small Farm Nation Academy. It’ll get you going.

When you do plan out your content calendar be sure to start with the end in mind with your content strategy. In other words don’t just wake up and say, “I gotta write a blog post today” or “I gotta send out an email update.”

Have a clear and measurable objective around each piece of content. If your objective is to grow your email list, start with that and create content to accomplish that goal.

If your goal is to rank for a search phrase organically, start with that and work to achieve that goal.

Just start with a goal and work backward to achieve it.

Winter task number four is to plan an email marketing calendar for the year. And the first thing you should plan is your auto-responders and sequences.

Here’s what I mean. Go to smallfarmnation.com/launchpad. Then, just sign up for the free video series. When you do you’ll immediately receive an email with a link to the first video. Then you’ll receive subsequent emails on later days to the additional videos in the Farm Marketing Launchpad.

After you finish watching you’ll be subscribed to a sequence that will invite you to join me in the Small Farm Nation Academy. There are about 15 emails in all. And all of them were written earlier this year, and now they’re on auto-pilot.

And that’s what you need to do now, while you have time. Do you have an auto-sequence for when people subscribe? If not, get on it! And if you do, are you trying to lead them to a specific action? If not, why not? Because that’s the goal, right? Not to get subscribers, but to get customers!

So now is the time to work out your email calendar for the year. Beyond these auto sequences, go ahead and plan out your frequency and topics for the coming year. Use a tool like Trello or Google Sheets—I use both for this purpose—to plan your email calendar.

Winter task number five is to re-copywrite farm website.

Let me be blunt—most of the copy on farm websites is pretty poor. Yours probably is too. And it’s not that way because people can’t write, that’s not it at all. It’s because they aren’t concentrating on writing with purpose.

For instance, most “About Us” pages just spew off a stream-of-consciousness recap of how the farm came to be. Now, contrast that with someone focusing on optimizing that page for search results. Or strategically building in a call-to-action. If they did that they’d write copy that would lead the visitor to take action.

And it’s like that on all pages.

The copy on your website is probably the most important part. I’m all for beautiful images and great designs—I think that’s important too. But people take action based on the words they read. It’s the words more than the images that connect with people.

So take a close, honest look at your copy. I’ve got a thorough course on copywriting in the Small Farm Nation Academy where I break down these sins, step by step, and show you how to correct them on your own.

That’s a really important marketing task you can focus on, right now.

Winter task number six is to schedule farm events for the coming year. This includes farm tours, market dates, and any special events. Farm dinners, classes—that kind of thing.

Be sure to align your events with your brand positioning, and make sure they’re relevant for your audience. If you’re selling premium artisan cheese to foodies then a corn maze probably isn’t the event you want to focus on. Think more along the lines of cheese appreciation dinners paired with local wines, brews, and spirits.

Farm events can be a great offering. Not only can they be real money makers, but, when done well, they create deep, lasting relationships with customers who now have a bond with the farm.

I know what I’m talking about here…I’ve done lots of these farm events. I think it’s a great opportunity for you too, and now’s the time to plan out yours for next year.

Finally, winter task number seven is to gather customer reviews and create a plan to promote them.

Look, getting reviews is easy. Here’s the trick. Ask. Just ask.

Ask on Facebook, Instagram or wherever you hang out. Ask via email, and ask in your farm store.

And make it easy. When someone says they don’t know what to say (and some will) point them to a page where they can see other testimonials. If you’re just starting out, have that page be a private page you create with a few examples.

Good testimonials only need to be a sentence or two. That’s all. If you want to see some examples head over to Small Farm Nation Academy and you’ll see over a dozen testimonials from members of the Academy. It’ll give you a sense of how to structure your own testimonials.

When you have your testimonials don’t just file them away. Promote them! Make them very visible on your website, for sure. But also promote via email and turn them into nice graphics you can share on social media.

Okay, there you have it. Seven important marketing tasks to focus on this winter. Here’s a recap.

  1. Join Small Farm Nation Academy so you can take farm marketing courses.
  2. Optimize your site for email list building.
  3. Create your blog calendar for the upcoming year.
  4. Plan your email marketing for the coming year, especially the auto-responders and sequences.
  5. Re-write the copy on your website, and do so strategically.
  6. Plan farm events for the coming year.
  7. Gather and promote customer reviews.

If you focus on these seven areas now you’ll be in great shape next year, even if you get sidetracked by those pesky farm chores.

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How to Tackle Farm Price Objections: Farm Podcast

How to Tackle Farm Price Objections: Farm Podcast

We all know that sustainably produced food is more expensive than supermarket food, so how do we explain that when challenged?

This week I want to discuss a challenge that many small farmers face.  It’s one that they seem to all dread and it puts them on the defensive.

It’s the whole issue of defending why their products cost so much. Or, at least seems to cost so much.

Now, this is a real issue for many of us, so it’s not one we should run from. We need to be prepared to face this head on, and the better you get at this, the more it will become a non-issue.

Why is that?

Because, as your skill improves at conveying value, that skill will permeate all aspects of your marketing.

Your blog posts, your social media updates, what you say on your website and in your email marketing.

You’ll become proficient at conveying value and focusing on benefits, rather than being defensive.

Before we dive in, I want you to understand something.

The Dollar Store shopper isn’t your farm’s customer. Or at least not for most of you. You’re not running blue light specials.

I want you to understand that price objection is a good sign because it’s usually a buying signal.

The prospective customer wants to buy but needs to rationalize this objection.

And it’s your job to help them do just that.

And in this episode, I explain how to do that.

  1. Validate with empathy.
  2. Normalize the objection.
  3. Paint a farm picture.
  4. Sell value.

So here’s how it works with my director’s commentary, so to speak:

The customer says, why is the chicken so expensive?

“You’re right. If you’re comparing the price of our chicken to a chicken in a supermarket it seems ours costs more.” (I validated with empathy. But notice I used the word “seems.” It seems ours costs more. That’s to implant a subliminal message that perhaps the cost isn’t more. Now I want to normalize the objection, so I continue.)

“And you know, I had two customers on a recent farm tour who were concerned about the price at first, just as you are now.” (now to paint a farm picture)

So I walked them to the brood house and let them see the baby chicks. While we were there, they watched me fill their feeders, by hand, and check their water.

We then walked out to the pasture and saw the chickens scratching for bugs in their chicken tractors.

I explained how my wife and I built those tractors ourselves, and showed how we pulled them forward every day. I let one of the customers try and pull the tractor forward but she wasn’t quite ready for the workout.

But it gave her a real sense of two things.

The physical effort we put into raising these birds by hand, and the utter enjoyment these birds feel by soaking up sun, scratching earth and chasing insects. (this is me painting a vivid picture. Now I need to sell value).

Like you, I couldn’t understand why good food cost more when I first started out. But it all makes sense for me now.  I mean, a handcrafted knife is more valued and more costly to produce than a mass-produced one, right? Therefore, it costs more. Likewise, our chickens are hand fed, hand watered and hand processed on farm by our family.

It’s a handcrafted, ethical product from start to finish. So of course it costs more than a supermarket chicken, but it’s not remotely the same product.  And I strongly feel that a chicken deserves a chance to be a chicken.

Don’t you?

And this is where you stay silent.

Which, let’s face it…can be really hard.

But do it. Stay silent and let the customer respond when you say, “don’t you?”

So, here’s the whole conversation again, without any commentary on my part.

The customer says, why is the chicken so expensive?

“You’re right. If you’re comparing the price of our chicken to a chicken in a supermarket it seems ours cost more.”

“And you know, I had two customers on a recent farm tour who were concerned about the price at first, just as you are now.”

So I walked them to the brood house and let them see the baby chicks. While we were there, they watched me fill their feeders, by hand, and check their water.

We then walked out to the pasture and saw the chickens scratching for bugs in their chicken tractors.

I explained how my wife and I built those tractors ourselves, and showed how we pulled them forward every day. I let one of the customers try and pull the tractor forward but she wasn’t quite ready for the workout.

But it gave her a real sense of two things.

The physical effort we put into raising these birds by hand, and the utter enjoyment these birds feel by soaking up sun, scratching earth and chasing insects.

Like you, I couldn’t understand why good food cost more when I first started out. But it all makes sense for me now.  I mean, a handcrafted knife is more valued and more costly to produce than a mass-produced one, right? Therefore, it costs more. Likewise, our chickens are hand fed, hand watered and hand processed on farm by our family.

It’s a handcrafted, ethical product from start to finish. So of course it costs more than a supermarket chicken, but it’s not remotely the same product.  And I strongly feel that a chicken deserves a chance to be a chicken.

Don’t you?

Don’t forget to join us in the Small Farm Nation Academy.

Thanks for Listening!

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Thanks for listening. Until next time!

 

How to Create an Email List for your Farm

How to Create an Email List for your Farm


Hey there, thanks for joining me again this week. So it’s marketing week here on the Small Farm Nation podcast. And one of the challenges I hear most often expressed from small farmers (really any small business, actually), is how difficult it is to create an email list of potential customers. In fact, when I surveyed farmers they rated “building a customer list” as the number one challenge.

It’s frustrating to them, I know, for not only is farming and owning a small business challenging enough, now they’re thinking that they must become experts in marketing as well. They’re right. But I’d like to offer some encouragement and perhaps a few helpful tips to help them, and you, to automate the process of building your email list. In my experience, there are three components…layers, if you will, to ensure that your list automatically grows over time and becomes populated with people who are genuinely interested in what you’re doing, and what you have to offer.

1) What’s Your Story

Effective marketing, particularly in the niche of sustainable farming, farm to table restaurants and homestead based businesses, starts with a story.

  • Why are you doing what you’re doing?
  • Why is it important?
  • Who cares and why should they care?

The last question is important because it relates to the market you’re targeting, and your words need to resonate with what the customer values.

Where do you tell your story? You tell it on your “about” page, for sure, but your story needs to be conveyed in other ways throughout your website. Your use of images will tell the story as well as the words you choose on each page, in every email and in all social media posts.

WARNING: Don’t fall into the trap that I see so many do of copy-catting language. In the world of sustainable farming, it seems that everyone’s about page draws from a limited supply of words that run the risk of being overused. I’m thinking:

  1. sustainable
  2. organic and/or non-gmo (or beyond organic)
  3. grassfed or pastured
  4. humane
  5. back to the land
  6. and so on

These may be true statements behind why you began and how you operate, but, if you’re not careful you’ll look and sound like everyone else. You don’t want that because customers won’t perceive you as special as you really are. So choose your words carefully, but make sure they’re YOUR words, even if you pay someone to write them for you.

2) Create Rich Content

Even today, there are still far too many businesses that create websites to serve as online brochures. The problem with that is, once the visitor reads your about page and your offering, they “get it” and have no reason to come back.

It’s your job to give them a reason to come back frequently! Why? It’s one way they stay connected with you and that you stay top of mind when they think of who their favorite farmer (chef, etc.) is.

So how do you get them to come back? For over a decade now, the answer for many has been via blog posts. That’s still a viable strategy for many reasons, but the truth is that many people read those blog posts through RSS readers, which delivers a feed of your post to them without them actually visiting your site. And if you’re opt-in forms are in the sidebars, RSS readers won’t display them. True, you’re still in their thoughts, but it’s a pretty passive relationship. Not nearly as active as them typing in your URL to visit you.

Think about it from your perspective. What would cause you to go back to a website, other than one like Amazon where you make frequent purchases (we both know you do)?

A great method of driving traffic is through email marketing. Sending an email with links to rich content on your site that they can’t get another way.  Of course, this requires an email list, which is the subject of this post, but you’ll understand how to do that once you digest all of these tactics. For now, your goal is to create keyword-rich content that is true to your story and resonates with what your target audience cares about. What kinds of content?

  • how-to blog posts
  • inspirational images
  • how-to static pages (doesn’t have to be blog posts)
  • recipes
  • stories (case studies, customer stories, etc.)
  • press releases and announcements
  • etc.

The content needs to be “rich” from two perspectives;

  • rich in terms of value to your reader and
  • rich in terms of keywords that will enable web searches to find you. Those keywords should be the things your target customer thinks about and searches on.

For instance, if you’re targeting folks interested in “organic farmers near Lexington, KY” or “raw milk near Woburn, MA”, your blog posts or static pages are a great way to create copy that’s both rich in keywords and content for your target customers. That way, you can craft language on your “about” page that’s less boilerplate and more unique to your story, mission, and values. When you’re a relatively new enterprise, showing up in search results is an important way to “get found,” and one of the best ways to show up is to create a steady stream of content. But when visitors do show up, your job is to get them to convert from visitors to subscribers. Often, you accomplish that with lead magnets.

3) Use Lead Magnets the Right Way

A lead magnet is simply something you offer in exchange for your visitor to sign-up for your list. It needs to be valuable since they’re giving you something valuable in exchange. An example of a lead magnet is the image on the left, which goes to this page. I use it throughout this site where I offer an enticing guide in exchange for opting into my list. This simple lead magnet added 120 subscribers to my email list in the first 3 days. All I did was share it on Facebook, that’s it.

Now, here’s what’s critical about this lead magnet. It directly connects my target audience (owners of farm businesses) to what I want to offer them (membership in the Small Farm Nation Academy). Therefore, the lead magnet works because it’s completely in alignment with my membership site offering.

In your case, it will be whatever you have that’s unique to you and, most important, valuable to your audience. For instance, if you sell raw goat’s milk, perhaps it’ll be a guide on how to make soap or cheese from the milk. If you sell pastured poultry or pork you may create a special subscriber’s section of your website that includes videos for cutting up a whole chicken, making bacon and charcuterie and so on. The point is to think about content that your market values and will be willing to join your list in exchange for receiving the content.

But–here’s where many people go wrong. It needs to be something that, if the person doesn’t download, they will either experience pain of some sort, or they’ll realize a great reward.

In my lead magnet example, if the farmer doesn’t download, they could miss out on knowing the secret sauce…the expert tips that bridge the gap between how their farm is currently performing and how the best farms perform, from a marketing perspective.

At the same time, they get a great reward if they insight that can help propel their farm business. So you’ll have to ask yourself, “will my customer feel pain if they don’t download the bone broth lead magnet, or will they experience a great reward if they do?” I’m thinking not. So, lead magnets can be a great tool in building an email list, but, to get great results, they need to be the right kind of lead magnet. FYI, for you members of the Small Farm Nation Academy, just post your lead magnet question/struggles in the forum and get some expert advice.

Of course, when you create content that connects to a lead magnet, don’t just post it on your website. Repost it on Facebook and other social media platforms, and be sure to use widgets and tools to encourage readers to share it on their pages. This will ultimately drive visitors to your site so that they can opt-in for the valuable content you’re offering.


This is a detailed topic and I could go on for quite a bit, for we haven’t even discussed the technology you use to create your opt-in forms, email marketing providers and so on. For this post, the point is to think about creating content that:

  • tells your story in a unique, compelling way
  • gets folks to visit your site repeatedly
  • has a clear strategy for converting them from visitors to subscribers

In terms of action items for you, think about these:

  • Set a specific goal for building your email list…say, adding 20 or 100 new subscribers a week, or whatever’s appropriate for you.
  • Review your “About” page as objectively as possible to see how will it resonates with new potential customers. Again, if you’re an Academy member, post in the forum if you’d like an expert review.
  • Look at your website to see what lead magnets you’re using. If you’re not using any, see what content you have that could be developed into a lead magnet.
  • Get into a habit of emailing your list on a predictable schedule (every Thursday, every two weeks, once a month, etc.). This not only sets a clear expectation with them but also forces you into a pattern of developing new content on that schedule.

Now, get busy growing your marketing list. It’s the lifeblood of your farm business!

THE FARM ONE-PAGE BUSINESS  PLAN TEMPLATE

THE FARM ONE-PAGE BUSINESS PLAN TEMPLATE


Hey there, thanks for joining me again this week.

So business planning is the focus this week. Now, what do people usually say is the first thing you need before going into business?  They say a business plan, right? Doesn’t matter if it’s your mom, your brother, a banker or someone you meet in the coffee shop. They all drink the same Kool-Aid and start chanting, you need a business plan, you need a business plan.

Like lemmings. Like all the people today who chant, you need to define your ideal customer, you need to define your ideal customer. Basically people hear something, think it’s authoritative and just repeat it.

On the surface, it makes sense that we’re told to create a business plan. Because real businesses have business plans, and we want to run a real business, right? But, have you ever seen a comprehensive business plan? Have you written a business plan? And, be honest…do you have a written business plan for your farm?

I’m not saying that planning isn’t necessary, even helpful. But “traditional” business planning is overemphasized, in my view. Just as a college education (usually) is.

And, listen, I’ve written and reviewed a ton of business plans. Many of them well over 100 pages long, full of internal and external analysis, capital allocation plans, key performance goals, market analysis, financial projections, contingency plans, human resources and marketing plans, SWOT analysis, Gantt charts and so on. And you also see a lot of emphasis on exit strategies, which not many new farmers are interested in. Which is too bad. Not because they should necessarily aspire to sell their farm businesses. But because they should build and run them as if they would. That way, they’d be much more successful.

But back to the point about business plans. Why did I create these plans, and were they useful?

Well, most of them I created because I had to. I worked in a Fortune 500 company and we had to create plans to persuade a board of directors, lenders and investors, to make capital allocations.

Later when I founded my own business, I had to create the plans to facilitate funding from venture capitalists, angel investors and banks.

But the key phrase here is “I had to”. So, I did. But what happened to the plans after I created them?

They got filed away, in the old days. Later as technology took over, they got stuck in a digital folder. But in both cases, they collected physical and digital dust.

In the corporate world, the business plans were useful for upper management to admonish me if I missed projections. They could say, “here’s what you said you’d do” and point to any gaps that existed. Fortunately, that was rarely the case for me, but that was how the plan was used.

When dealing with lenders, especially banks, with my own business, the business plan supposedly established that I was serious about my business—because I had obviously put a great deal of thought into my strategy.

Of course, my financial projections always looked exactly like everyone else’s. In other words, like a hockey stick. Hockey stick financial projections. A hockey stick financial projection is one that shows a slow or flat start, and then magically rockets up for future years just like the blade of a hockey stick.

We all do this. Entrepreneurs can’t help themselves. We’re too optimistic. We create spreadsheets, make projections of how we’re going to add customers every month, every quarter, and add new products or raise prices.

So we’ll continually sell more and earn more. Then, when we look at it and say, “that’s too good to be true,” we create additional models.

“I’ll create a conservative, a realistic and an aggressive projection,” we tell ourselves. So we do.

And then we get on to running our businesses.

And find that, almost always, our plans were flat out wrong.

These over-the-top business plan templates may be helpful if your business is raising capital. Or if you’re seeking serious lending, I’m sure your lender will require it. But, for 90% of us, at least, they are a waste of time.

So, today, I’m going to walk you through a simple planning guide that will help you answer everything that’s important, and chart your farm down a successful path. And, get this—you only need to answer eight questions! That’s it, 8 questions and you’ll have your business strategy laid out.

But before I walk you through those questions and the one-page business plan, let me go through a few reasons for why I don’t think you need to waste time on traditional business planning.

  • The first reason is that focusing on a business plan may interfere with you ever having a business. Why? Because spending too much time planning can lead to paralysis by analysis. I’ve seen LOTS of folks who wanted to start a business, farm or otherwise. So they set to writing a business plan, usually with one of countless business plan templates. Then the would-be entrepreneur writes a first pass, and edits, tweaks, tweaks, tweaks and basically falls into a loop of ready, aim, aim, aim, aim, aim, aim—and they never get started. And you want to avoid anything that impedes your ability to start with your business. So, do you think I’m saying you shouldn’t plan a strategy for your business? Of course not! What do you think I am, crazy? No, you should have a plan. But it should be a very simple, actionable guide more than a plan, and I’ll walk you through exactly what you need in a moment.
  • Another reason you don’t want to waste time on a long, drawn-out business plan is that businesses NEVER go as planned. You know that.  You win, you lose—you have big advances and big setbacks. So you pivot, make adjustments and figure things out as you go. Look—businesses are dynamic and ever-changing. But business plans are static in nature and lack flexibility. So what the hell good are they unless you’re gonna go in and change them every week? And if you are, what do you need the plan for anyway? Just make the necessary changes to your business and get on with it.
  • Finally, another reason to stay away from traditional business plans is that they can lock you in, psychologically. Because once you write something down—like, maybe you’re gonna raise heritage turkeys—then you think you have to stick with it. When, otherwise, you may recognize in short order it’s a bad idea and you can make an adjustment. Let’s think of this another way. It’s October, so let’s talk football.  So imagine the absolutely despised, hated New England Patriots are playing my Pittsburgh Steelers. Bill Belichick, the evil coach of the hated, cheating Patriots creates a game plan to beat my honest, hard-working Steelers. But when his team falls far behind in the first quarter do you think he says, “well, I’ll just keep doing what we planned because I wrote it all down?” Hell no! He’ll make adjustments on the fly WAY before going into the locker room at halftime, his quarterback, Tom Brady will deflate the ball, they’ll come back and the refs will award them the game. So just as an NFL coach needs to be flexible and make adjustments in real time based on what they’re seeing, so do you. Their game plan is just that…a back of the napkin guide.

So, if you don’t need a traditional business plan, what do you need? In football, you need a game plan, of course. For your farm, I think you want to start with a one-page business plan. If you’re part of the Small Farm Nation Academy, you’ve no doubt seen my lesson on this and have probably created your own.

If you’re not part of the Academy you can still watch my lesson on it and get your own FREE one-page business plan template. Just hop over to smallfarmnationacademy.com and sign-up for the FREE training series. I’ll walk you through how to create your own plan and give you a template for you to customize.

For now, let me just describe the process. And I’ll dispense with all the gobbledey gook and business jargon. Let’s just concentrate on the EIGHT key questions that I think you need to answer.

These 8 questions make up the grid of the one-page business plan. Picture a 3X3 grid. The 8 questions fill those boxes, surrounding you in the center box in the grid and your ultimate competitive advantage.

So here are the 8 questions you want to ask yourself.

  • Why are you farming? This is your mission. You want to ask yourself, what am I passionate about? What are my goals? What do I hope to accomplish with my business? WHY is this important? Your personal answers to these questions will galvanize into your mission. When you answer them clearly and honestly, you’ll know exactly why you want to start your business.
  • Who will care and why? These are your customer segments, the folks who will buy from you and support you. Here’s what you want to answer. Are you targeting a local, regional or national market? If you’re targeting a niche, what niche are you targeting? And rather than thinking of an ideal customer, what do your target customer segments have in common? What do they each want from you? Is your customer the end user…the consumer? Or is it a wholesaler, distributor or retailer? Do your target customers need education…in other words, do they already know they have a need for what you’ll offer, or do you need to make them aware and educate them?
  • How will you go to market? As a farm business, you’ll have many options. Will you sell via farmers markets, a farm stand, online with e-commerce, via distributors, to restaurants, via a CSA or buying club, or what? Importantly, is your distribution channel aligned with your chosen competitive advantage? We’ll get to that in a moment.
  • What will you sell? These are your revenue streams; your products. So, you want to answer, what products will I sell? How will I price them? How does my pricing strategy compare to competitors and alternatives? Will I have one fixed price per product or product unit (per pound, for instance)? Or will I offer discounted prices for larger orders?
  • What is your cost structure? Here you want to ask yourself, what are the critical costs in my model? What are the most important metrics? How will I measure those metrics daily/weekly/monthly? What key resources could increase in cost that I have no control over? Feed costs, for instance. How can I respond if costs increase? What are my fixed costs that I can’t reduce or eliminate? What variable costs can I manage?
  • What alternatives are there to you? This is where you assess the competitive landscape. Ask yourself, how do I define my marketplace? Who else offers what I will offer in my marketplace? Those are your direct competitors. It could be a grocery store, even though your farm business looks nothing like a grocery store. Also ask yourself, who are the indirect competitors—the alternative choices my customers have? Who are the potential new competitors that could emerge?
  • What determines your success? These are your critical success factors. Here you’ll want to answer, how can I effectively attract customers? Will customers pay the prices I need? Can I navigate regulatory hurdles? Do I have the necessary legal structure, accounting and insurance in place to protect myself? Can I produce a product consistent with the quality I’m promoting? Do I have access to contingency and funding resources should I fail to achieve projections?
  • How is your farm business unique? This is your defensible competitive advantage. This is really important and I want you to address this before ever starting a business. Choose your desired advantage, then execute to make it a reality. Here you’ll ask, what is my defensible competitive advantage? By defensible I mean just that. What advantage can you create over competitive forces that you can DEFEND. For example, if you start a local pastured poultry business and offer fresh, pasture raised chickens, can you defend that as an advantage? I’d say, NO, you can’t. Because what’s to stop someone else from popping up and doing the same the moment they see how successful you are. You also want to ask yourself, “am I executing a value strategy (high price, differentiated offering) or a cost strategy (low price, low costs). That’s a hugely critical question because you must choose between the two. Finally, ask yourself this. Why will customers choose me over competing alternatives (other farms, supermarkets, growing their own food, etc)? Why? When you answer these questions, you’ll know your competitive advantage and why you’ll be successful, even before you start. And if you can’t answer them, you’re not likely to succeed.

So, those are the 8 questions. And you can answer each of them and all the sub-questions I just listed on a one-page business plan like the one I’ve created for you.

This plan is important…kind of like the blueprint to your house. It doesn’t mean you can’t refine it later, but I can’t think of anything more important to the success of your farm business than thinking through these key questions and arriving at how you will achieve your competitive advantage.

Again, if you’d like to watch a video of me taking you through this exercise, and get your own free one-page farm business plan template, just hop over to smallfarmnationacademy.com and sign-up for the FREE training series.

I hope you sign up and get it. This one-page business plan will simplify your business strategy and force you to focus on what’s really critical to your success.

Grab it now at smallfarmnationacademy.com, and position yourself to get growing.

Thanks for Listening!

To help the show:

Thanks for listening. Until next time!

8 Logo design mistakes

8 Logo design mistakes


Hey there, thanks for joining me again this week.

So, what do most people think of when they think of branding? They think of logos. In fact, many people think that their logo is their brand. Of course your brand is much more than just your logo. Still, the logo design is something that people fret over.  And too often, people end up doing a really shabby job themselves, or paying someone else hundreds of dollars to create a logo they don’t really like.

And none of it is necessary. I mean, think about it—why are you creating a logo in the first place? Because everyone else does, right?  Or because you just think you’re supposed to. Just like with business planning, you create a complex business plan because everyone else does.

Don’t get me wrong, now I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t have a logo. It can be a very effective branding tool. I’m just saying that many people overthink this one and place WAY more importance on it than it warrants.

Because, remember, It’s your NAME that is your most important brand asset! It’s your NAME you want to brand, not necessarily an icon or graphical element.

However, when done well, graphical elements can help create the brand impression you want, whether fun and whimsical or a serious legacy. But, we don’t want to create unnecessary elements that complicate and confuse your brand.

We want folks to remember YOU AND YOUR NAME…not what you’re wearing.

But that’s exactly where people often go wrong. The name is the important thing. Yet, logos are often designed that don’t showcase the name and firmly imprint it in the customer’s mind.

So let me start by going through 8 sins I see that people commit when choosing a logo design. Here we go.

Mistake #1 is they don’t make the farm name prominent. Remember, it’s the name we want people to silently mouth when they see the logo, to remember. Yet, with so many farm logos you can’t even see the name, especially on a mobile device.

If you do a Google search on “farm logo design” and look at the images, they’re usually templates for you to stick your farm name in. That’s what people often do, even those designers you hire, and it’s a mistake. Because in almost all those templates the farm name is small and overshadowed by other elements. So remember this more than anything else in this episode: YOU MUST MAKE YOUR NAME PROMINENT AND MAKE IT STAND OUT. Why we don’t do this brings me to sin#2.

Mistake #2 is that, pretty much everyone, adds unnecessary graphical elements. I cannot tell you how many times I see this, especially when someone posts their logo design on Facebook and asks for feedback. They create an overly-complex design using standard clipart and stock imagery! They fall in love with the notion of putting little icons or illustrations of sheep, cows, carrots, hills, barns, sunsets, chickens or whatever. Often, they put a bunch of those, stacking chickens on pigs on cows.

All this does is creates a big image of icons with a little farm name underneath it that’s too small to read. When you look at the logo as a whole, what does your mind see and say? It sees a farm scene. That’s not what we want! We want it to see your name.

Look, you don’t need animals or farm icons in your design. After all, your name probably says farm, right? Or creamery, ranch, acres, homestead or something that gives a sense of what you do. That’s the beauty of farming. We don’t have obscure names like Google and Hulu. The name Hulu, by the way, comes from two Mandarin Chinese words. It literally translates to “gourd”, and in ancient times, the Hulu was hollowed out and used to hold precious things.

Whatever.

The point is I had to look that up. I don’t have to look up what “farm” means and neither does anyone else. Heck, even pre-schoolers know what a farm is. So inherent in your name is a description of what you do. You don’t need a big chicken in the design for people to get it.

largest brand namesNow, before you tell me, “well I have to have some graphical element in my design!”, consider this. Let’s take a look at the logos of the top 7 brands in the world.

Those brands are Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Coca-Cola, Amazon and Disney.

What do you see? What stands out?

Apple stands out from the others, because it’s the only one that has a graphical element. Every other logo is nothing more than text!

Google has a market cap of about $800 BILLION, and it’s logo could have (and may have) been created by a young child. Just the letters G-O-O-G-L-E, each in a different primary color. A perfect kindergarten homework assignment.

Facebook is just the letters that comprise it, all in lower case with a boxy font in blue.

We all know the Coca-Cola logo, simply a script font in red letters. And Disney isn’t much different—just a fun font that resembles Walt Disney’s signature. Amazon too is just the word Amazon.com. Sure, today you see that little arrow that connects the A to the Z underneath, but they didn’t have that at first. And mostly what you see with their logo is just their name. amazon.com.

And that’s what you want!

The same thing applies to a bunch of other well-known brands.

Hershey’s is all text. Calvin Klein is all text. Yahoo and Kleenex are all text.

largest brand namesAnd these have become HUMONGOUS, well-known brands even with simple, text logos.

Yet, for some reason, you think you need a cute logo with all kinds of graphical nonsense to become a “real” business. But all you’re doing is confusing people.

Make your name stand out, and make sure people recall your name.

Mistake #3 is not considering how you’ll use the logo. Another thing I notice about those big-name logos I just mentioned is how horizontal they are. By comparison, I notice many farms create square logos. They do this to incorporate the graphics in the logo. Now, here’s the problem with that. Most of us use our logos most prominently on our websites, in the headers. And horizontal logos look much better in the header and nav bars on websites that square or round logos do.

So it’s really important to consider where you’ll most often use your logo as a branding element. If it’s in your nav bar a horizontal design featuring your name is a good choice. 

Now, to be fair, other than Calvin Klein, each of those big-name brands I mentioned is either a single word—such as Google, Apple, Disney or Facebook—or a made to look like a single word in the case of FedEx or Coca-Cola.

By comparison, most farm names tend to be at least two if not three or four words, usually ending in farm, acres, pastures, creamery or ranch. But now you see why this issue of logo design is directly related to creating a name for your farm, which I covered in an earlier episode.

If you think through how you’ll use your logo and conclude it needs to be horizontal, perhaps that will lead you to create a more simple farm name. Like Google Acres (don’t do that).

Moving on…

Mistake #4 is that farms, and many small businesses, often make poor typeface choices. In other words, they pick a bad font that makes the name and/or tagline difficult to read. I don’t need to spend a ton of time on this issue. Just remember that, when in doubt, clarity is the right choice. Choose a typeface that’s easy to read so that people see your name and recall it.

Mistake #5 is poor contrast and questionable color choices. This most often is a sin committed by the do it yourselfer, but you see it also in Fiverr and other cheap logo designs.

Just as you don’t need lots of graphical elements in your logo design (as the worlds largest companies prove) you don’t need lots of colors. Unless you’re Google, I guess.

So, just as you need a clear typeface, you want great contrast in your logo. So don’t make your name in blue and put it on a red background.

Remember, in logo design, it’s ALL ABOUT MAKING YOUR NAME STAND OUT!

Mistake #6 is thinking you can design your logo yourself. This happens all the time and is an insult to high-quality professional designers. I mean, who do we think we are? Have we been graphically trained? Do we have the necessary design tools on our computers—do we have years of experience?

Of course not, in most cases. Yet it seems easy enough so we grab some clip art or icons, slap something together and call it a day.

It’s the same with photography as we all snap smartphone photos of our farm or us as farmers and think we’re photographers.

We are. But we’re not “great” photographers. And we’re not great designers.

So, if you want or need a great design then get a great designer. At a minimum look to 99 Designs or similar quality designers. But—

Mistake #7 is thinking you CAN’T design your logo yourself. I mean, if your logo is going to be only text, as in the case of the world’s largest companies, don’t you think you can pull that off? You can spell your farm name, can’t you?

So just hop on Canva and create a text logo. Choose a font that is consistent with the brand “feeling” you want to convey. And the same with a color. If you’re not sure how to create a color scheme for your brand, head over to coolors.co. There’s a free color scheme generator there that will guide you on how to easily select colors that look great together for your farm brand.

Then just brand your farm name in the form of a logo. Tim’s Turkeys, for example. And be done with it. Finally—

Mistake #8 is thinking the logo design matters more than it does. New entrepreneurs often give this issue WAY more thought than it deserves. Honestly, I think it’s often a stalling tactic—they can’t start their business until they get the logo right. Just like they can’t start until they get the business plan right and so on.

Your brand is important. Your brand name is important. But, if Google can build an $800 BILLION business with a pre-school text logo, why do you think you need something better? If you’re confident with what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, you don’t need to hide behind a logo design.

And if you’re not comfortable, then go back and create your one-page farm business plan.

Now there is one situation where your logo and branding design definitely does matter. And that is on packaging, particularly point-of-sale packaging. So if the packaging is a key part of your sales strategy then, by all means, invest in a strong brand design. And use a professional.

But, that’s not the case for 99% of farms I see. And if it becomes part of your strategy later then deal with it then. For now, just get started with a logo that hammers home your name.

So, here’s what I think you should consider when designing your logo.

  1. Don’t be afraid to do a text only logo. If Google and Coke can build great businesses with nothing more than that…why can’t you? Clearly, it’s NOT the logo that determines success.
  2. Try for a horizontal design…or at least consider how it will look on your website.  Remember, your name is your most important brand asset. We don’t want it to be so small it’s unreadable in the header.
  3. And, whatever name you choose, brand it prominently in the design. Let the eyes go straight to your name, and not to any iconic elements. We want your name to take up 80% of the design and not have most of the design be graphical elements, such as animals, plants or something else.
  4. Finally, consider how your name looks when the logo is small. This is critical because 60% or more of consumers will see your logo on a tiny smartphone screen. And you want your name to pop, so look at this closely.

Now, you’ve heard all this but you’re thinking, “I still want some cute farm icons in my design. I don’t want a boring text-only logo.”

So, how do you know when to add a graphical element to your design? Here are three indicators.

  1. Because your name or offering isn’t intuitive and an image can help tell the story.
  2. To better convey your values and mission.
  3. Or, you’re selling in retail stores where point of sale packaging is important.

If either of those is the case, then go for a graphical design, but, be careful and do it right! That usually means hiring a great designer.

That doesn’t mean you can’t get a great logo for five bucks on Fiverr. In fact, I showed a video lesson in the Small Farm Nation Academy of me doing just that. Getting an awesome farm logo on Fiverr for my fictions farm, Forever Young Farm. And I showed how to do it.

But you’ll have to manage the process the way I did in that video lesson. Otherwise, you’ll get a really bad logo.

Hey—whatta ya expect for five bucks?

Okay, so I’ve separated what’s NOT important with your logo design from what IS important. So if you’re designing a new logo you now know what to focus on.

And if you have an existing logo that commits some of these sins—and I know many of you do—have a new logo designed. And make sure it’s your NAME they remember, and not a piece of cheap farm clipart.

Thanks for Listening!

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Thanks for listening. Until next time!

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Learn to become a farm entrepreneur

Learn to become a farm entrepreneur


Thanks for Listening!

Hey there, thanks for joining me again this week.

So we’re going to talk about entrepreneurship. Of course, if you start a farm business, or any business, you’re an entrepreneur, right? Because an entrepreneur is a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses and assumes financial risks in order to do so.

One of the most influential books on entrepreneurship is called the E-Myth : Why Most Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About it. It was written by Michael Gerber and first published in the mid-‘80s. The basic premise of the book was that most businesses are started by people with tangible business skills, when in fact most are started by “technicians” who know nothing about running a business. Therefore, most fail.

Now, be honest…when you started your farm, did you think you were starting a business? Or did you think you were just farming?

Gerber’s research with thousands of entrepreneurs led him to discover that entrepreneurs have three distinct personalities, which he calls the Entrepreneur, the Manager and the Technician.

  • Essentially, an Entrepreneur changes the business. 
  • A manager runs the business. 
  • A technician masters a specific craft.

It’s a very powerful metaphor that, I think, is mostly true. And it’s at the heart of why most farmers struggle greatly with their farming businesses.

Now, as a small business owner, I bet you sometimes feel you have to be at least three people at the same time, right? Just as Gerber said in the e-Myth. This is the case with many professions—here, let’s take the example of a mythical doctor.

Our doctor—we’ll just call him Doc—our friend, Doc, here, wants to start his own practice.

He has extensive education and has devoted years to perfecting his craft.

Ah, but medical schools teach the practice of medicine, not the business of medicine.

So no matter how good a doctor he is, that expertise won’t help him with marketing, managing cash flow, operations, employee relations or any other task critical in creating a successful business.

For the most part, Doc is a highly skilled, highly paid technician.

But what about you? Do you think you’re primarily one personality or the other?

Let’s find out.

Let’s take a look at the three personality types and how they think. Again, the personality types that are trapped inside you are Entrepreneur, Manager, and Technician.

Let’s start with the Entrepreneur. This is your inner visionary. The personality that sees the future first, then endeavors to pave a path from the present to that imagined future.

Our Entrepreneur asks questions like:

  • What sort of farm should I start?
  • What’s my vision for this farm business? What’s our mission?
  • How must this farm business work?
  • What will my competitive advantages be?
  • How will I go to market?
  • I see my long-term vision, so I’ll change what we’re doing now to match that vision.

So the Entrepreneur inside us thinks big picture and long-term. But alongside the Entrepreneur vying for equal attention and influence is our Manager.

The Manager inside us is the personality that creates order out of the Entrepreneur’s chaos and is constantly stressed by the Entrepreneur and Technician.

In a farm business, our Manager personality thinks about things like:

  • When can I get an appointment at the meat processor?
  • Who do I call to get an egg candling license?
  • How do I manage my farm tour?
  • I need to arrange a team to process chickens.
  • How do I manage CSA orders?
  • How do I recruit and manage farm apprentices?
  • What’s my breeding schedule look like for the dairy operation?

So when you find yourself asking those kinds of questions or thinking like that, your Entrepreneur is not in charge. Your Manager is.

But there’s yet one more personality hiding inside you, Sybil. And that personality is your Technician.

If you’re a farmer, I fear you know this person all too well. The Technician is the one who lives in the present and doesn’t want to hear about lofty goals. He’s much too busy for that because he’s the “doer”.

How do you know when your Technician is running the show? It’s when you’re thinking:

  • What farm chores do I need to do right now?
  • How can I fix this irrigation leak?
  • I need to weed this afternoon and then repair the fence lines.
  • I need to catch up all the chickens for processing.
  • The hay needs to be cut and put away.
  • I see what we’re doing now on the farm, and I want it to stay that way just the way it is.
  • Why do we have to have these farm tours? I don’t have time for this!

the e-myth

I bet you can relate to these three personalities within, the Entrepreneur, the Manager, and the Technician. And, the thing is, we need each of these roles to achieve our entrepreneurial dream.

BUT—Only as long as they get EQUAL time. So you gotta ask yourself—do they?

And, of course, the answer is no. Not by a long shot.

In Gerber’s research, he found that the Entrepreneur inside you gets only about 10% of your time. This personality gets more when you’re dreaming and thinking about starting your business, but you quickly ditch him once you start up.

Then, for a brief moment, the Manager takes over. But the Manager only gets about 20% of a typical business owner’s time.

An overwhelming 70% of the business owner’s time is devoted to the Technician personality.

e-myth technician

And that’s a recipe for disaster, for while the Technician knows how to do the work in front of her, she doesn’t hold the vision for or the mission of the business, and she doesn’t have the generalist skills to know how the parts fit together.

Like a Technician in any business, she needs a Manager to assign priorities, tasks, and objectives. Without that, the Technician hits the wall.

In our world, that means she can plant seeds, milk a cow or make some soap, but she can’t figure out how to grow a profitable farm business without becoming a slave to the farm.

Because she doesn’t have that skillset and perspective. So, she just buries her head in the soil and embraces distractions, saying to herself, “I’ve got to collect and clean these eggs, so I don’t have time to figure out our marketing strategy.”

And these are the kinds of things that lead to burnout on the farm, or in any small business.

Now, a big part of the problem is that our Technician buries her head because she thinks she’s not an Entrepreneur. After all, she has no experience as an Entrepreneur.

So, what can she do? What can you do?

You must embrace the fact that, while you are a person, your farm is a business. And it’s a separate entity from you. Because you are not your business.

This is critical to understand because the purpose of your life is NOT to serve your farm business. The purpose of your farm business is to serve your life!

But…to be fair, here’s where some entrepreneurial guru thinking, such as that in the E-Myth, breaks down when it comes to farming.

Most of us were drawn to farming not because we thought of earning money. We were drawn to the lifestyle or simply because we enjoy farm work.

Sure, maybe some of us wanted to get away from our other job, but that’s why we were drawn to the lifestyle.

That’s all well and good, but, remember how I sometimes ask if you have a business or a hobby?

Now you must answer the critical question of which one do you WANT…a business or a hobby.

If you want a hobby and that’s it, you can stop here and just go back outside and play with in the soil with your animals.

But, if you want a business…if you want or need to earn income from your farming efforts, if you want your farm to succeed, you must ACHIEVE BALANCE between your multiple personalities.

And to have a business and avoid burnout, you must take the Technician OUT OF the driver’s seat.

Here’s how to do that. after me.

  • Repeat after me… I’M RUNNING A PROFITABLE BUSINESS! THIS IS NOT A MONEY-SUCKING HOBBY! (seriously, say it).
  • Schedule two hours every day to work ON YOUR FARM BUSINESS, and not IN IT. You’re going to do that with a tool I have called the TAME THE TECHNICIAN CALENDAR.
      • Divide the two hours you’ll work ON your business into 30-minute blocks; 4 blocks each morning
      • In each block, have a specific critical task to accomplish or decision to make
      • Prioritize business strategy and marketing
  • During those two hours, have social media and your cell phone off. Only turn on your phone if you must make a call. No distractions.
  • This will still give you at least six-eight hours a day for farm work.
  • Devote an hour each weekend to planning your blocks for the following week

Okay, sounds great in theory. But how do you actually do that?

Simple—YOU PUT IT ON THE CALENDAR!

Listen, don’t you put planting dates on the calendar? Calving schedules? Processing dates and times?

That’s your Manager and Technician dominating, and we need them. That’s not the problem.

The problem is your Entrepreneur is asleep, giving us not even 10%.

WAKE UP YOUR FARMPRENERUR by blocking out two hours a day for him to work.

And listen, some of these “Entrepreneurial” tasks we’ll do, such as updating the website, are not at all strategic. They’re tactical.

That’s okay, because as small farmers and small business owners you may very well have to do it all. That’s okay, as long as we recognize what’s happening here.

The Entrepreneur and Manager is in charge, not the Technician.

When you design a lead magnet, the Technician does the work. But you, as Manager, called this meeting, and ensure we stick to a schedule to create, use and promote the lead magnet.

Look, I know this may be difficult to visualize. But I have a great tool here to help you. It’s called Tame the Technician. It’s a PDF that both shows you an example of how to assign a calendar to each of your three personalities, and has a blank, fillable section for you to create your own calendar. Get it FREE at smallfarmnation.com/technician. That’s at smallfarmnation.com/technician.

So, how might you use this tool to allocate time to your manager and entrepreneur?

Okay, let me pull out my Tame the Technician Calendar. Let’s say it’s Wednesday, and I’m going to devote two hours today working ON my business.

I’ve divided these two hours into four 30-minute blocks. I’m going to do two blocks for a total of one hour in the morning, and two more blocks this afternoon.

In the first block this morning I’m going to study menus of top-tier restaurants I’d like to target. And I’ll research the backgrounds of chefs at those restaurants, particularly recent news.

In my second 30-minute block this morning, I’ll write a restaurant call script. Or refine one based on how chefs responded to my last call. Then, I’ll take 10 minutes and rehearse the call aloud with a phone in my hand.

In the two 30-minute blocks this afternoon, I have it on my calendar to call chefs at my next 5 target restaurants. My goal is to arrange a specific time to visit and introduce my products.

That’s it. All that is on my calendar, it’s strategically important to the success of my farm, so it’s gonna get done.

And then I’ll go out and weed, seed, feed and all those things my Technician is clamoring to do.

So look—It’s really important you grab and use this tool because here’s a promise I’ll make to you.

If you do not schedule this important strategic stuff, it will not get done. The technician in you WILL win, he’ll ALWAYS win.

The Technician within you WILL dominate and you’ll spend your time fighting garden pests and pulling carrots for non-existent customers.

So, as an Entrepreneur, you need to hold yourself accountable. There’s not a boss to do that for you anymore. You gotta do it.

Because having a business is a real, serious thing. Just ask the IRS.

It’s why we have LLCs, tax filings, permits and a bunch of other compliance requirements that, while I wish didn’t exist, do.

So since your farm business is a real, serious thing, it needs you to seriously lead and manage the business rather than simply slaving away inside it.

So hold yourself accountable and track how you spend your time,because what gets measured, gets done.

Now, go to smallfarmnation.com/technician, grab the tool and put your Entrepreneur back where he or she belongs.

In charge of your farm business!

To help the show:

Thanks for listening. Until next time!

Small Farm Nation creates beautiful farm websites and offers online farm marketing courses that help farmers grow profitable farm businesses.