Friday, April 23, 2010

Work “on” your business, not just “in” it

As spring farm work commences, it is easy to get busy and entirely wrapped up in doing the necessary chores. With planting, calving, etc. all in process, there is never enough time in the day to get even the most important tasks finished. And while these necessary tasks are critical, don’t forget to step back on occasion and look at the bigger picture. This is the distinction of working “on” your business, and not just working ‘in’ it. Management of your farm requires that you spend time working to improve the overall business, and not just working on completing everyday chores.

One way that many farms and other businesses remember to work on their ventures is by developing a written business plan. The process of thinking through goals and values, business mission statements, production, marketing and financial plans, labor and management needs and assignments, etc. and then putting these down in writing, implementing the plan and later returning to evaluate the outcomes and make adjustments is extremely valuable in making sure you spend time working “on” and not just “in” your business.

Many resources exist to help you with business plan development. An excellent one is the workbook “Building a Sustainable Business: A Guide to Developing a Business Plan for Farms and Rural Businesses”, developed by University of Minnesota faculty.

The guide leads you through the steps of business plan development and includes worksheets to assist in the tasks. You can find additional resources at:

Take some time to work on your farm, it’s just as important as working in it!  (Kevin Moore)

P.S. from debi kelly - The Building a Sustainable Business workbook is the one we use in the Grow Your Farm course!

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